Neat Things in Boston; David Hammond, Visionary; Good Work Stewarts, and More – Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

By
Posted: July 31, 2015 at 8:54 am

Click Local

 

 

Eat local Boston.  ”The new public market opening this summer in Boston will never sell a banana or an avocado. In the winter and spring, when there are fewer vegetables in the fields, there will be fewer vegetables in the market’s stalls. And if local fishermen can’t catch it, it won’t be on offer.”

And more eat local Boston!

Drink local milk (our friends and Sponsor Vera already does).

Eat new local cheese.

Get local meat in Oak Park.

As our friends at AUA said on Twitter, nice work Stewards (expanded cottage food bill passed).

Other good news on the legal front.

Not local food, and an odd mix too (no bungalows?), but our kinda stuff.

David Hammond, visionary.

And more with visions–eat local rooftops.


Leave a Comment



HB2486 Cottage Food Expansion Bill – Signed into Law by Governor Rauner

By
Posted: July 31, 2015 at 8:48 am

On July 30th Governor Rauner signed into law HB2486 the Cottage Food Law Expansion Bill.

aaaaaaaM

 

According to Wes King, Executive Director of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, HB2486 which now becomes public act - 99-0191 makes the following changes:

  • Expand where cottage food products      can be sold to include on-farm, farm-stands and CSAs (no longer just      farmers markets) for cottage food products where the signature or featured      ingredient was produced on farm.
  • Increases the gross receipt threshold      of exempt food from $25,000 to $36,000
  • Authorizes the IL Farmers Market      Taskforce to develop an expanded list of allowed cottage food products
  • Removes the      previous explicit prohibition against rhubarb, tomato and pepper      jams and jellies provided that they must be tested and documented as      non-potentially hazardous jams and jellies with a      pH equilibrium of less than 4.6
  • Allows for a cottage food operation      to have employees, no longer limited to just family members
  • Eliminates the requirement that those      selling the cottage food products have a food sanitation manger      certificate (now just the person preparing and packaging the products      needs the certificate)
  • Exempts religious, charitable and      non-profit bake sale fundraisers from the overall Food Handling Regulation      Act

aaaaaaan

The legislation was originally sponsored by State Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) and State Senator David Koehler (D-Peoria).

aaaaaaao


Leave a Comment



Rain of Ruin Downstate

By
Posted: July 30, 2015 at 4:44 pm

The forecast today for Downstate Galesburg is calling for scattered thunderstorms. It seems like the entire summer was one large scattered thunderstorm broken by tornados which struck earlier this month just west of Galesburg in Cameron, Illinois. In fact, the running joke in Western Illinois was that it only rained twice this summer, each time though it lasted 30 days!

Tornado near Cameron, Illinois earlier this month Photo: Galesburg.com

Tornado near Cameron, Illinois earlier this month Photo: Galesburg.com

According to the Illinois State Climatologist, after a record-setting June, as well as a wet May beforehand and a wet July so far, we are seeing the agricultural impacts of the wet growing season. Right now, the state-wide July precipitation in Illinois is at 3.1 inches. That is about 50% above the long-term average for this time in the month.

Flooded cornfield near Champaign. Photo: Illinois State Climatologist

Flooded cornfield near Champaign. Photo: Illinois State Climatologist

Damage to corn due to flooding – Trenton Corners, Knox County, Ilinois (click for larger photo)

You would think that all of this rain would be a welcome thing in the hot months of summer to those who grow food. But, just as too much fertilizer will burn plants, too much water will harm plant life as well. Michael Roegge of the University of Illinois Extension said the problem is that saturated soils are devoid of oxygen and it makes it difficult for roots systems of plants to function. The heavy rains this summer have leached most of the nitrogen from the top 10 to 12 inches of soil starving the plants. The addition of more nitrogen to the soil will not alleviate the problem until the root system can function properly

During the recent Knox County Fair the number of entries for exhibit in the Ag Produce Building was down from last year. Some of the entrants who display in the fair stated that it was a hard year to get anything growing to both the heavy rains and the cooler than normal temperatures early in the summer. An older entrant that I spoke to had an obviously hard time walking. He said that he was attempting to weed his cucumber patch and his leg sank knee deep in the wet soil and got stuck. He hurt his back when he laid back on the ground in an attempt to free himself. He also said that he feared that he would sink further in the attempt to free himself and would be in serious trouble at that point!

Many Downstate farmers are seeing an increase in disease in plants this summer. Here in Western Illinois there are many corn fields that have large patches of stunted corn stalks, a sign that those spots were flooded for some time. Bell peppers in many area gardens seem to be quite stunted in growth, as well and many leaves have brown patches. The overall yield for all peppers in general has so far been poor. When July comes around, the pepper plants can usually be counted on to produce, but this year I myself have only gotten a few peppers as of the last week of July. Tomatoes, another crop which starts to come in abundance in July, have yet to ripen.

Septoria Leaf Spot on Tomato Leaf from excessive rain

Septoria Leaf Spot on Tomato Leaf from excessive rain

Farmer Tom Collopy of Dahinda, Illinois stated that he has many pepper plants but not too many that are producing or are not diseased. East Galesburg, Illinois farmer, Dusty Sanor of Spurgeon Veggies, stated that it has been a very hard year and also stated “we have serious disease problems on all our tomatoes and peppers and we’ve lost a huge percentage of our storage onions and garlic to rot.” Many growers in Western Illinois have said that cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables are also seriously affected.

Disease and stunted growth in a bell pepper

Disease and stunted growth in a bell pepper (click for larger photo)

Although food crops have suffered due to the heavy rains, this has not kept weeds from prospering. In fact, many fields have turned into swamps, limiting the farmer’s ability to get out into them to cultivate. This has caused weeds to shoot up, further limiting the yield on many crops. Mr. Collopy said that he could not find many of his peppers due to the weeds taking over. In my own fields, I have two primary growing areas and I have pretty much abandoned the one on the east side due to the fact that every attempt to get in to turn the soil was met with quicksand-like conditions. Ms. Sanor confirmed that out at Spurgeon Veggies they were also in a fierce battle with weeds.

The story is much the same through most of Downstate Illinois.  Though, according to Michael Roegge in a recent article he penned about this year’s deluge: “In fields where soil moisture (and plant disease) hasn’t interfered with growth the summer crops are hitting their stride. Sweet corn, green beans, cucumbers, squash, peppers, okra, eggplant and many others are in full production,” most small farmers have been hard hit by the wet weather this summer.

Livingston County Rains Photo: AgWeb.com

Livingston County Rains Photo: AgWeb.com

Wes King of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance fears that many people do not realize the extent of the problem and are not aware how bad farmers have been hit by the rain. He said that most farmers will say this has been worse than the 2012 drought.

A way people can help farmers that have been affected by the adverse weather is by supporting groups like Farm Aid. Their disaster assistance program for farmers is a great help for small farmers who have no place else to turn. This of course is a great reason to attend Farm Aid 30 in Chicago!

The rain this year has affected farmers here in Western Illinois as well as throughout much of the state. Hopefully the rain will subside and farmers can go on farming crops instead of mud! As Mr. Roegge further stated in his recent article: “there are certain crops that can be planted in the fall, and these include the cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, etc.), greens (Asian greens, lettuce, spinach, etc.), radish, beets, carrots, peas, cucumber, turnip and a few others.” “If it ever does quit raining, remember that fall gardens can be very productive.”

 


Leave a Comment



Sugar Beet’s In Season, What Else and Where to Find It – Sponsored by Vera

By
Posted: July 30, 2015 at 10:17 am

Eat Local Tomatoes from a Coop

 

 

 

Really, it seems fast. Very fast. Who’s using the beet? It was not that long ago, I met two women, Jenny Jocks Stelzer and Cheryl Munoz. Not only did we share a love and need for all the possibilities and puns present from having beet in our projects, we shared a love and interest in local food. While I was doing my part by blasting out blog post after blog post, they decided to establish an outlet to make local food more accessible and more available to the Oak Park and neighboring communities. Over picnicking at a ranch, I heard more of their dreams. It happened. It is happening. The Sugar Beet Coop opens Friday, July 31, at 10 AM in Oak Park. After that, the store will be open seven days a week from 7 AM to 9 PM.

 

 

Vera-LOGO-Fpattern (1) (1)

 

Our sponsors at Vera want you to know that the Sugar Beet is just one place you can find yourself some good local food.  We’ve given you some of our favorite markets below, and we have this list of eat local stores in the Chicago area.  For other things to do and see, Jeannie’s Local Calendar.  Where ever yo go, what ever you do, did ya remember to use our farmer’s market shopping tips.

 

 

What’s In Season Now

It’s tomato time. You cannot go wrong if you eat this daily. Here’s what else to focus on this week.

From the Ground

  • Zukes and cukes
  • Eggplant
  • Green bell peppers
  • Sweet corn
  • Hot peppers
  • Truly *new* potatoes (how do you know they’re new?)
  • Some green tomatoes
  • Melons, and remember they’re muskmelons not canteloup
  • Herbs, especially basil

From the Trees and Bushes

  • Cherries – sweet and tart – approaching the end of season!
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries including black raspberries
  • Currents
  • Gooseberries
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Plums
  • Apples – (summer apples!)

Year round

  • Meats, poultry, lake fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk, cheese and other dairy
  • Mushrooms
  • Grains and breads
  • Preserved and jarred products

Where to Find Local Food

Almost all markets are running now.  We’ve highlighted some of our favorites.  Fpr some adventures look at this post.  In addition to markets, there are several stores in the Chicago area that focus on selling local foods.

Chicago

We’re partial to markets with donuts, so if it’s Tuesday and we’re in the Loop, we hit Federal Plaza.  This market accepts the LINK card  - 7 AM – 3 PM – Adams and Dearborn

It it’s Thursday and we’re in the Loop, you cannot do wrong with Daley Plaza, which is filled with vendors including produce, breads and prepared foods.   7 AM – 2 PM - This market accepts the LINK card. - 50 W. Washington

It’s Green City Plus!  Avoid the crush of dogs and their people by shopping Green City Markets other location.  Saturday 8 AM – 1 PM (this is different hours than GCM Lincoln Park) - This market accepts the LINK card.799 W. Fulton Market

Oak Park

Have we mentioned donuts.  Family ties?  Well, what about one of the few area markets with locally tapped maple syrup?  Jim the Vinegar Guy?  Sadly, no Hazzard Free grains this year.  Saturdays from 8 AM to 1 PM - 460 Lake

Evanston

There are often times, when we think about these things, quantify these things, we say this is the best there is in the Chicago area.  There’s the heirlooms, the regular, meats, cheeses, breads, the unique and the mundane, about all you could want in one market.  Saturdays from 730 AM to 1 PM - University Street & Oak Avenue

Morton Grove

Very close Beet ties to this one, so get there on Saturday and shop, shop, shop.  Saturdays 8 AM to Noon - 6210 Dempster

Geneva

Do you think we’re not gonna include something way far away?  The Geneva Green Market has been focusing on organic and sustainable farmers for a while and is worth the visit if you are anywhere close (or not as it’s a great drive or a great train ride).  Thursdays 9 AM to 1 PM - 327 Hamilton Street

Northbrook

In memory of Mom.  She was a volunteer hereWednesdays from 7 AM to 1 Pm –  Cherry Lane and Meadow Road

 

What's In Season and Where to Find It - Sponsored by Vera 1023 W. Lake, Chicago

What’s In Season and Where to Find It – Sponsored by Vera 1023 W. Lake, Chicago


Leave a Comment



The Best Way to Eat Your Vegetables

By
Posted: July 29, 2015 at 9:31 am

When the Feeling Strikes

 

 

When we were last talking, I said that cooking seemed off the agenda. Meals meant slicing and chopping and including cheese for some protein. Then, a bag of green beans appeared. Well it did not appear. Rather, it had not disappeared. Or shall I say, it appeared in my conscious. It was supposed to have gone downstairs where all our neglected vegetables go waiting for inspiration. But it did not. It sat on the dinning room table since Saturday. Long enough for me to notice a few moldy green beans. Going through the bag, though, it turned out only a few were yuck. While the Condiment Queen and one daughter ate dinner, I topped and tailed the healthy green beans. At around 7 PM on Monday, when they were off to a movie, and I had finished my eating for the day, inspiration finally hit me to cook. Well, the need to nurse these greens beans to health. They were too ill for my first plan, a simple salad. Luckily, I knew the best way to cook vegetables.

The Turks call it zeytinyağlı, cooked or braised in olive oil. There’s an Italian term too, I cannot quite find, about suffocated vegetables. The idea is with a little, actually more than a little olive oil, a flavor base, typically cooked onions and garlic, but peppers, celery, carrots and maybe even, hearsay something meaty like minced prosciutto, plus usually some tomatoes, a lid and a lot of time, greatness can be coaxed from vegetables. The key or the point is, the vegetables are stewed in their own juices. No water, stock, or cream is added. The magic happens via slow, long heating and a cover to keep the essence from escaping.

Green beans are the classic way to make this dish, and all countries around the Mediterranean have a version . I’ll tell you a quick story about my green beans above, which I’m calling green beans Israeli style, before getting on to my other point. There is an Israeli restaurant, Mizrahi, in Highland Park. It is about the most Israeli restaurant I know around here (which are like and not alike of other Middle Eastern restaurants). They do a great green bean dish. Mine traditionally swam in tomatoes. Not oozing tomatoes but red and green. Mizrahi’s green beans only have a veneer of red. The tomatoes are there but as background, where my dish was like green beans AND tomatoes. So, I asked one day. How did they make ‘em like that. I told him my recipe: saute onions and garlic, add green beans, add a jar of tomatoes. He said that’s what he did. I said why does mine look different, more crimson. “Use less tomatoes,” and he got back to his business. Monday’s version included less tomatoes. Once I had the cooking feeling going, I needed to make at least one more dish. With peppers going about as bad as the green beans, I knew what. These melrose peppers (with a few jalapenos thrown in) got the same treatment of oil braise. I did the peppers too, with less tomatoes and finished with a balsamic syrup. Green beans are not the only vegetables that are best this way. Try any of the summer bounty, especially thin skin “frying” peppers like melrose or shishito. Zukes do great this way, and if you cannot have ham hocks in your repertoire like me, this may be the best way to address hearty greens like collards.

More ideas or instructions, here’s about thirty Turkish dishes done zeytinyağlı. You’ll soon learn that this is the best way to eat your vegetables.


Leave a Comment



NCR-SARE Announces 2016 Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals

By
Posted: July 28, 2015 at 6:09 pm

sare-northcentral

From a SARE press release:

The 2016 North Central Region – Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals is now available online at http://www.northcentralsare.org/Grants/Our-Grant-Programs/Farmer-Rancher-Grant-Program.

 

Farmers and ranchers in the North Central region are invited to submit grant proposals to explore sustainable agriculture solutions to problems on the farm or ranch.  Proposals should show how farmers and ranchers plan to use their own innovative ideas to explore sustainable agriculture options and how they will share project results. Sustainable agriculture is good for the environment, profitable, and socially responsible. Projects should emphasize research or education/demonstration.

sare2

There are three types of competitive grants: individual grants ($7,500 maximum), team of two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($15,000 maximum), and group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($22,500 maximum). NCR-SARE expects to fund about 40 projects in the twelve-state North Central Region with this call. A total of approximately $400,000 is available for this program.

NCR-SARE will be accepting online submissions for the Farmer Rancher Grant Program. More information about the online submission system can be found in the call for proposals.

Interested applicants can find the call for proposals online as well as useful information for completing a proposal at http://www.northcentralsare.org/Grants/Types-of-Grants/Farmer-Rancher-Grant-Program. You can find more information about sustainable agriculture at http://www.sare.org/ or take a free National Continuing Education Program online course about the basic concepts at http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Courses-and-Curricula.

sare3

Proposals are due on December 3, 2015 at 4 pm CST.

Potential applicants with questions can contact Joan Benjamin, Associate Regional Coordinator and Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator, at benjaminj@lincolnu.edu or 573-681-5545 or 800-529-1342. Applicants should also contact Joan Benjamin if they need a hard copy or an email version of the call for proposals. We make revisions to our calls for proposals each year, which means it is crucial to use the most recent call for proposals.

Each state in SARE’s North Central Region has one or more State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinators who can provide information and assistance to potential grant applicants. Interested applicants can find their State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator online at http://www.northcentralsare.org/State-Programs.

 

NCR-SARE
UMN BioAgEng Bldg. Ste 120
1390 Eckles Avenue
Saint Paul MN 55108
Direct Phone: 612.626.3113
Office Fax: 612.626.3132

 

On the web: http://www.northcentralsare.org/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NCRSARE
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/ncrsare 
On YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/NCRSAREvideo


Leave a Comment



Eat Local Cheesecake – July 30, August 1 & 2

By
Posted: July 28, 2015 at 8:22 am

National Cheesecake Day Then Eli’s Cheesecake Festival

 

birthday cake cheesecake dippersIMG_1687

Long time readers of the Local Beet know we hold a special place for Eli’s Cheesecake and their Thursday farmer’s market. First, we have to say that we’ve always been fans of Eli’s, going back to the shop on Chicago and its demonstration of what a real Chicago steakhouse was all about. Then, we’re fans of the cheesecakes, and we can tell you that at events like the recent Green City Market BBQ, they more than hold their own against all the chef=y stuff. Finally, a few years back, my wife and I stumbled on to their lecture series at the market. Here came a Thursday where we could not only shop for local food but learn about local food. Over the years Eli’s has brought in some great guests to talk about our food system and how to make it better. So, when Eli’s President Marc Schulman asked if we could help promote a few events for them. We said, well, see below.

And you know there’s bound to be one of these. Thursday July 30 is National Cheesecake Day. This is also the day of Eli’s weekly summer farmer’s market. Eli’s is adding to the market, for National Cheesecake Day, an artisan Vendor Fair highlighting the suppliers who make Eli’s Cheesecake great. This includes Phoenix Bean, Nielsen-Massey, Bloomer Chocolate, Guittard Chocolate, honey from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences and Stahlbush Farms. On top of that you have an opportunity for free breakfast if you get there early, the variety of Nichol’s produce, and a lot more to sample. The market goes from 7 AM to 1 PM and is in the parking lot at Eli’s 6701 West Forest Preserve Drive, Chicago.

 

Wait, there’s more. It’s also Eli’s 35th birthday. They’re throwing a party and calling it Cheesecake Festival 2015.  Over the weekend, Eli’s will have the Jessie White Tumblers, music, family activities, a classic car show, and obviously many samples.  Featured will be the birthday cake cheesecake as shown above, a frozen confetti cheesecake on top of a layer of old fashioned birthday cake, enrobed in milk chocolate, rolled in more confetti and served on a stick  It’s a great company that loves its community.  Don’t believe us.  go see for yourself.

The Eli’s Cheesecake Festival takes place at Eli’s Cheesecake World (corner of Montrose and Forest Preserve Drive in Chicago) on Saturday, August 1st and Sunday August 2nd 10:00am-5:00PM.  Admission and parking free.  A portion of the proceeds benefits the New HorizonsCenter, a school for the developmentally disabled located adjacent to the bakery.

Visit www.CheesecakeFestival.com for complete schedule of events.


Leave a Comment



Menu Monday Writes Itself

By
Posted: July 27, 2015 at 8:17 am

About Those Beets

 

 

This (plus a few peaches not shown) is what our friends the Hardins set us up with at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market last Saturday. And it was not all we got. There was one heirloom tomato from Nichols and nectarines from Stovers because one daughters doesn’t like fuzz. This all came after a huge CSA box from Tomato Mountain*, with turnips, kale, zucchini, broccoli, dill, and their amazing cukes. Where on the menu is all this stuff going?

I’d love to show you pictures of elaborate gratins, innovative use of greens, barrel fermented pickles. Honestly, I got nothing. No recipes. No ideas. No elaborate plans or aspirations for this food. Menu Monday was once my favorite day of the week. I loved thinking about what to do with all we accumulated. Now it annoys me. Intimidates me with its abundance. Summer is beating me down. The heat dissuades me from the baked vegetable dish I once had in mind. A scattered household, inconsistent work schedules keep us from supping as a family. It is a season of social obligations occupying many meal times, and a season of necessary “networking” after the long period fallow occupied with my mother’s death and dying taking up other meal spaces. I have made neither beets nor their greens in recent days.   It all seems like a giant riff from Seinfeld. “We have food. We just don’t have food.”

I, at least, always have salad. When I am around, by myself, I turn to salad. I am proud of my salad abilities. I am forever satisfied with a salad. At least at this time of year. It does not make a difference what all is in the house. Give me a tomato, a cucumber, and a bit of cheese, and I can make do. My idea of change of pace right now, trying a new recipe, is to alter the cut of vegetables, like below. That’s all I go until the Menu Monday inspirations returns.

*Mom works for Tomato Mountain


Leave a Comment



What Do You Know in this Week’s Harvest of Eat Local Links

By
Posted: July 24, 2015 at 8:21 am

Eat Local Thinking

 

When  the agronomists of the world say we have to farm their way(ie roundup ready, etc.), or we’ll all starve, ask them if they know about things like this.

Do you know about this, what do you think and what will you do?

Do you know organic farming as well as you think you know organic farming?

Do you know the value of an urban garden?

Do you want insight into the other side?

Eat local goat cheese.

Honestly, not the best of showcases for our most local of local foods.

We were drenched too, but ate great.

Who doesn’t love cheese curds?


Leave a Comment



What’s In Season and You Can Find It at the Regulars or Not – Sponsored by Vera

By
Posted: July 23, 2015 at 9:15 am

Vera-LOGO-Fpattern (1) (1)

Did Ya?

 

Last week we dared you to take the local fruit challenge.  Did ya?  We also asked you to think about trying a new market, get out, cross state lines.  Did ya?  This week, we’ve included a couple more new ideas for you; for instance, did ya ever think about going to a market on a Friday or a Monday.  We’ve also included some of our stalwarts.  Did ya just want to get it over, get your real food and relax the rest of the day?  Remember, in addition to the markets listed below, there’s  our list of eat local stores in the Chicago area.  For other things to do and see, Jeannie wraps things up really nicely in her Local Calendar.  Where ever yo go, what ever you do, did ya remember to use our farmer’s market shopping tips.

 

 

august veg plate

What’s In Season Now

This time of year, you can easily make a plate like that for lunch.  Maybe have my daugher sell you some Nordic Creamery sheep milk feta.

From the Ground

  • Eggplant
  • Green bell peppers
  • Sweet corn
  • Hot peppers
  • Truly *new* potatoes (how do you know they’re new?)
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Summer squashes
  • Cabbage
  • Herbs, especially basil

From the Trees and Bushes

  • Cherries – sweet and tart – approaching the end of season!
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries including black raspberries
  • Currents
  • Gooseberries
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Apples – (summer apples!)

Year round

  • Meats, poultry, lake fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk, cheese and other dairy
  • Mushrooms
  • Grains and breads
  • Preserved and jarred products

Where to Find Local Food

Almost all markets are running now.  We’ve highlighted some of our favorites and some to we need to check out.  In addition to markets, there are several stores in the Chicago area that focus on selling local foods.

Chicago

There’s a good chance the Condiment Queen will have the justly famous Tomato Mountain sun golds this Sunday at Independence Park – 9 AM – 1 PM – Springfield and Irving Park

It may not be the biggest market in the Chicago area, but it is the only market with a free breakfast of Eli’s Cheesecake Cafe (and the only market where you can gorge on cheesecake samples).  We maintain a special place in our heart for this market, Thursdays – 7 AM – 1 PM - 6701 West Forest Preserve Drive

Good salumi at a farmer’s market is just one of the reasons we love the Logan Square Farmer’s Market.  Sundays 10 AM – 3 PM (yes!) – Logan Boulevard, just east of Milwaukee

What did you forget?  Well, there’s a Monday market by Loyola in the afternoon – 3 PM – 7 PM - This market accepts the LINK card. - 1200 W. Loyola Ave

Oak Park

Have we mentioned donuts.  Family ties?  Well, what about one of the few area markets with locally tapped maple syrup?  Jim the Vinegar Guy?  Sadly, no Hazzard Free grains this year.  Saturdays from 8 AM to 1 PM - 460 Lake

Evanston

There are often times, when we think about these things, quantify these things, we say this is the best there is in the Chicago area.  There’s the heirlooms, the regular, meats, cheeses, breads, the unique and the mundane, about all you could want in one market.  Saturdays from 730 AM to 1 PM - University Street & Oak Avenue

Morton Grove

Very close Beet ties to this one, so get there on Saturday and shop, shop, shop.  Saturdays 8 AM to Noon - 6210 Dempster

Geneva

Do you think we’re not gonna include something way far away?  The Geneva Green Market has been focusing on organic and sustainable farmers for a while and is worth the visit if you are anywhere close (or not as it’s a great drive or a great train ride).  Thursdays 9 AM to 1 PM - 327 Hamilton Street

Northbrook

In memory of Mom.  She was a volunteer hereWednesdays from 7 AM to 1 Pm –  Cherry Lane and Meadow Road

Schaumburg

Did you want to get a head start on the weekend by hitting a Friday market?  How about this one which runs from 930 AM to 1130 AM - 190 S. Roselle Road

 Glenview

Why not a farmer’s market by a farm?  Glenview lets you do that on Saturdays from 9 AM – 12 PM - This market accepts the LINK card. - 1510 Wagner Road

 

What's In Season and Where to Find It - Sponsored by Vera 1023 W. Lake, Chicago

What’s In Season and Where to Find It – Sponsored by Vera 1023 W. Lake, Chicago


Leave a Comment



On Menu Monday It’s Apple Season

By
Posted: July 20, 2015 at 4:13 pm

Eat Summer Apples

 

 

This week’s Menu Monday is more about fruit again than it is grand ideas for beets. See, the beets are still not dressed. The beets, they’re piling up with the kohlrabi, the cabbage, the hakuri turnips, and the garlic scapes; the bounty of summer that’s fine hanging out a few weeks in the spare fridge. We’ve been getting it and getting it good, and it seems like we also find ourselves away from the Bungalow more than we need to support out local food habit. So, when we do eat, it tends to be of things best eaten soon: the outstanding and interesting mix of greens Tomato Mountain puts in their CSA box and calls mesclun; equally outstanding cucumbers grown by Tomato Mountain, and a bunch of tomatoes that I have been getting not from Tomato Mountain. And beet greens. The beets may rest until later, but the greens demand instant attention. Like last week, I put up a bath of Tamar water and at least made beet greens. Beet greens cannot wait.

Do you know what else cannot wait. My apples. Apples, you mean like certain apples from 2014 that you still may find for sale? Under good storage conditions, apples can last a very, very long time. There are certain apples that, some claim, are better with cellaring, like, oh a Barola. Then, there are certain apples that don’t age. Certain apples that need to be eaten within a week of harvest. The beet greens of apples, summer varieties like Lodi and transparents, varieties you need to get to a farmer’s market to find. Because these apples go soft so fast, they are commonly used to make applesauce, and summer apples are often known collectively as “sauce” apples. Summer apples also make great sauce because they are wonderfully flavorful, tart yet with plenty of apple-ness to them. The wonderful flavor means don’t just waste put them to sauce. Eat them outta hand. You may think, I’ll be knee deep in local apples soon enough. You know that for a long period, there will be no other local fruit besides apples. Why eat apples now. Try these. You’ll see. Don’t wait.

To be honest, the joy of Menu Monday’s dissipated a bit from the pressure to deal with all our produce. Putting away the seasonal bounty would be an excellent idea, but we already have a lot put away. Moreover, our four-season Tomato Mountain CSA covers us pretty well in the winter, meaning we don’t need that much extra put away. We might have our own farm dinner soon. Until then, we’re gonna make sure we eat all the apples.


Leave a Comment



But Now We Have a Bigger Tent – Additional Tickets Available for Angelic Organics Peak Harvest Farm – July 25

By
Posted: July 20, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Support Angelic Organics Learning Center

farm dinner 2

Our friends at the Angelic Organics Learning Center are hosting their annual farm dinner and fundraiser this Saturday, July 25 at their farm, 1547 Rockton Rd. Caledonia, Illinois.  The event proceeds support the non-profit Angelic Organics Learning Center and their educational programs that help build local food systems. There will be a five course dinner using seasonal produce fresh from the Angelic Organics organic, biodynamic farm and booze from Michigan’s New Holland Brewing. An All-Star crew of area chefs including Jason Hammel from Lula, Johnny Anderes from The Kitchen, Elliot Green from Reno, Jennifer Mason from Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits and Patrick Alberto from Octane (Rockford) will being doing as little as possible to this peak season fare.   Bus transportation from Chicago will be provided.  Come enjoy and support a great cause.

Now, since this sounded so good, tickets went fast, so fast that Angelics is putting up a bigger tent and has more room for you.  Do take advantage of this second chance.

8th Annual Peak Harvest Farm Dinner
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Angelic Organics Farm
1547 Rockton Rd. Caledonia, IL 61011
4:00 PM

Visit www.learngrowconnect.org/farmdinner or call 815/389.8455 for tickets.


Leave a Comment



The Great Tomato You Won’t Have and Other Eat Local Links

By
Posted: July 17, 2015 at 11:02 am

Our Weekly Harvest

 

 

Expecting a new, night market in Pilsen?

Locavore news from Homewood.

The most locavore of astonishing locavore meals ever.

This Civil Eats article on tomato harvesting is getting much play in the locavore scene.

Hey Tom Ricketts, why not here?

They say that supermarkets won’t sell a good tomato–call me skeptical though.  About 10 years ago, I remember a similar set of articles about this GREAT tomato from Florida that was being embargoed, a true great winter tomato.  Well, if finally hit the market.  Thing was, it was a dud.  Not GREAT.  So me and all the ballers who did pay the extra money got nothing.  That’s why supermarkets have a hard time getting more money for produce.  Experience.

The best Swiss cheese comes from Ohio.

All the right questions asked here? For instance, what about that thing called water?

 


Leave a Comment



What’s In Season Now, Other Markets – Sponsored by Vera Chicago

By
Posted: July 16, 2015 at 10:20 am

Where Else May You Find Peaches?

 

Vera-LOGO-Fpattern (1) (1)

We’ve turned the corner, fruit-wise from berries and cherries to the prizes of local bounty, the earliest peaches and apricots.  I dare ye of little faith to taste test these fruits against your Georgia peaches, your California giants.  And this week, maybe see where else you may find a bushel or two.  Both Jeannie and I, in our round-ups, tend to focus on certain key markets, your Green City’s, your Evanston’s.  There are many other farmer’s markets in the Chicago area.   There are also some great markets only a short day trip away.  Try something else, and when you get there, as always, use our  farmer’s market shopping tips to make the most of what you find.  For additional events and happenings such as the opening of the Sugar Beet Coop, Advocates for Urban Agriculture’s Summer Soiree, and various farm dinners, see Jeannie’s fully color-coded Local Calendar.
Lollafarm
Photo Jeannie Boutelle

What’s In Season Now

 

 

 

cukes

Like we were saying we dare you to compare the peaches in our markets to the peaches you get in big box parking lots or banal grocery chains.  It’s not just fruit.  You will not find better cucumbers than my wife is selling right now from Tomato Mountain.  Yes, we own up to various bias in promoting this things, but we still want you to get them.  You will know the difference.  We’ve highlighted some other things to look for this week in markets.

From the Ground

  • Sweet or salad onions
  • Summer squash
  • Sun gold tomatoes
  • Fresh herbs
  • Sweet corn
  • Potatoes (new potatoes)

From the Trees and Bushes

  • Flaming fury peaches
  • Apricots
  • Black raspberries
  • Tart cherries
  • Tayberries

Year round

  • Meats, poultry, lake fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk, cheese and other dairy
  • Mushrooms
  • Grains and breads
  • Preserved and jarred products

Where to Find Local Food

Almost all markets are running now.  We’ve highlighted some of our favorites and some to we need to check out.  In addition to markets, there are several stores in the Chicago area that focus on selling local foods.

Chicago

Columbus Park, on the west-est side of Chicago has quite an interesting public golf course.  Give it a whirl some time, and if you come on a Tuesday, you can also hit the farmer’s market from 2 PM to 7 PM.  This market accepts the LINK card.Harrison St. and Central Ave

Growing Home is not just a great source for local food, but a center for job training and personal development.  You can find their produce at Green City Market and Logan Square, but you can also visit their Wood Street Farm Stand on Wednesday’s from 11 AM to 4 PM.  This market accepts the LINK card. - 5814 S. Wood St.

Looking for the Condiment Queen and her tauted cucumbers and you cannot make it to Oak Park because you live in the Big City.  Well, Tomato Mountain and some of the other Oak Park Farmer’s Market faves like Geneva Lakes produce and Hardin Farms Michigan fruit are at the Andersonville Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays from 3 PM to 8 PM.  This market accepts the LINK card – 1500 Berwyn

Urbana

This is not quite the Dane County Farmer’s Market of Illinois, but the Urbana Farmer’s Market does fill up a square and feature a lot of vendors.  Coming from Chicago, you’ll find unexpected treasures like walnuts that can grow in the other end of the state. This market accepts the LINK card.  Saturdays from 7 AM to 12 Pm - Corner of Illinois & Vine Streets in Downtown Urbana

South Bend, Indiana

This great, year-round, operation epitomizes the regional farmer’s market.  Fruit and vegetables from nearby farms, rural butchers, and the right amount of kitsch.  Also a classic cafe where you can get your omelette smothered in sausage gravy.  Summertime, the market is opened Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (with the most vendors on Saturday).  Market opens at 7 AM, closing time varies. - 1105 Northside Boulevard, South Bend, IN

Milwaukee, Wisconsin/Bay View

Have you ever driven to Milwaukee from Chicago?  When you approach downtown from Interstate 94, you wind up on some crazy ramps.  Personally, we’re not so keen on them, so we almost always get off and approach via Kinnickinnic Ave.  and the Bay View area.  It’s a great mix of old and new, hip and entrenched, and not to far, on Saturday’s is the South Shore Farmer’s Market.  Wisconsin farmer’s markets bring (at least) two things you don’t see around here: cheesemakers you don’t know and Hmong farmers with vegetables you might now know.  Saturdays from 8 AM to 12 PM - South Shore Park, 2900 South Shore Drive – Milwaukee, WI

South Barrington

Before every village, sub-division and township had their own farmer’s market, people would take a ride out to the country from fresh fruits and vegetables.  South Barrington is mostly not country anymore, but pockets remain including the Goebbert Farm and Garden Center.  Daily through September 9 AM to 6 PM – 40 W. Higgins

Oak Park

Have we mentioned donuts.  Family ties?  Well, what about one of the few area markets with locally tapped maple syrup?  Jim the Vinegar Guy?  Sadly, no Hazzard Free grains this year.  Saturdays from 8 AM to 1 PM - 460 Lake

Morton Grove

Very close Beet ties to this one, so get there on Saturday and shop, shop, shop.  Saturdays 8 AM to Noon - 6210 Dempster

Geneva

Do you think we’re not gonna include something way far away?  The Geneva Green Market has been focusing on organic and sustainable farmers for a while and is worth the visit if you are anywhere close (or not as it’s a great drive or a great train ride).  Thursdays 9 AM to 1 PM - 327 Hamilton Street

Northbrook

In memory of Mom.  She was a volunteer hereWednesdays from 7 AM to 1 Pm –  Cherry Lane and Meadow Road

 

 

What's In Season and Where to Find It - Sponsored by Vera 1023 W. Lake, Chicago What’s In Season and Where to Find It – Sponsored by Vera 1023 W. Lake, Chicago


Leave a Comment



How to Tell If You Have a New Potato – RECYCLED

By
Posted: July 16, 2015 at 9:11 am

Eat Seasonal Food

One of the best reasons to be a farmer’s market shopper is to find things you cannot find in normal stores. For instance, you may hear the words “new potato” bandied about all the time, but is it really a new potato? You need to go to a farmer’s market to find out. And read what we wrote a few years back.

potatoes - new

In our latest installment of “What’s in Season“, we mention that now is the time of year to get new potatoes.  It’s also the time of year when we admonish you over what really is a “new” potato.  See, for years now, we’ve been overwhelmed with the use of “new potato” to be a potato that’s small, round, waxy, and red (often the Norland varietal).  That’s not a new potato.  That’s a small, round, waxy, red potato.  A new potato is one that’s freshly dug or newly harvested.  It can be red.  It can be a Norland, but it does not have to be.  See, any potato can be a “new” potato if it’s freshly dug and sold soon there after.  The opposite of a new potato is one “cured” for long term storage and use.

As I mentioned in What’s in Season, the way to tell a true new potato is not the color but, really, the lack of color.  Curing hardens the potato’s skin.  Newly harvested, the skin easily rubbed off, and just the process of getting the dirt off a new potato will cause bits of the skin to peel back.  It’s those gaps that let you know it’s a new potato.  See above.

I don’t know about you, but intuition suggests to me that these delicate potatoes would be sweet.  Turns out the opposite, as the sugars in the tubers have not fully formed.  Instead, you get a very true expression of potato flavor.  Thus, you don’t really want potato salad, where the dressing dominates. Instead, think simple dishes, like steaming with a drizzle of good oil.

Luckily, the season for real new potatoes is not fleeting as farmer’s dig up different varieties of potatoes all the time.  There will be new potatoes into the fall.  Not later.  You cannot wait too long to know what a new potato really is.  At least now you can say you know what it looks like.


One Comment



Proudly Proud to Announce Another Sponsor – Chicago Market – Join Their Proud Independent Owners Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
A Lot of Fruit and Beet Greens Cooked Monday, July 13th, 2015
It Can Grow in Chicago and It Can Use Your Support Friday, July 10th, 2015
The Insidious Japanese Beetle Thursday, July 9th, 2015
Not all the Local News Comes from Here in This Week’s Harvest of Eat Local Links Thursday, July 9th, 2015
The Prophecies of the Local Beet – Using Recycled Freezer Materials Thursday, July 9th, 2015
The Local Calendar 7/9/15 LOCAL FOODS Open For Business, GCM BBQ 7/16, AUA Summer Soiree 7/23, Sugar Beet Opens 7/31 Thursday, July 9th, 2015
Everything I Knew About Storing Herbs Was Wrong!! Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
Did Not Dress the Beets and Other Things Done in the Kitchen Last Week Monday, July 6th, 2015
What’s In Season and You Can Find it on the 4th of July – Sponsored by Vera Chicago Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
It’s Not all Good News in Our Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
What’s In Season Now – Greek Salad (Kinda Recycled) Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Don’t Dress the Beets and Other Notes for the Week Monday, June 29th, 2015
What’s In Season Now, Summer – Sponsored by Vera Chicago Thursday, June 25th, 2015
This Book Cooks by Kerry Dunnington Nostalgic, Farm Sourced, Practical Recipes Keeping the Earth In Mind Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
The Weekly (ish) Harvest of Eat Local Links Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
Shared Interests Monday, June 22nd, 2015
The Local Calendar 6/11/15 Its Berry Season, GCM Soho House, Pizza at SBK 6/14, Spence Farm 6/19, West Loop Craft Beer Fest Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Is Your Market in Season Now (But With Strawberries) – Sponsored by Vera Chicago Friday, June 5th, 2015
We Find Ourselves Elsewhere in This Week’s Harvest of Eat Local Links Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
The Local Family Pantry Makes Things Easy Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
Is Your Market in Season This Week and What You May Find – Sponsored by Vera Chicago Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Illinois General Assembly Votes to Expand Cottage Food Law Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
Holiday Weekend Edition of the Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Friday, May 22nd, 2015
Home Town Markets in Season – Sponsored by Vera Chicago Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
It’s a Matter of Timing Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
Curious About Veganism? The Good Karma Diet by Victoria Moran is for You! Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
The Local Calendar 5/14/15 Daley Plaza Market Opens Today, 61st Street Saturday, Craft Beer Week, Seedling Sales at Kilbourn Park Greenhouse, PGP Learning Center Edgewater and at the Howard Street Farm in Skokie Thursday, May 14th, 2015
Some of This Week’s Harvest of Eat Local Links Have Insider Appeal Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
What Do You Do With Radishes Friday, May 8th, 2015
More Markets in Season Now – Sponsored by Vera Chicago Thursday, May 7th, 2015
This Week’s Crop of Eat Local Links is Due for Harvest Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, All For You in One Turkish Breakfast for Lunch Thursday, April 30th, 2015
We Give You More What’s In Season and More Where to Find It – Sponsored by Vera Chicago Thursday, April 30th, 2015
Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts These Books Are For You Thursday, April 30th, 2015
Revised and Updated! – Local Beet Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your Farmer’s Market Trip Thursday, April 30th, 2015
Grow Rhubarb! Thursday, April 30th, 2015
Heritage Breed Pigs and Farmers Ruled at Cochon 555 Sunday Tuesday, April 28th, 2015
We Get Some Pretty Cool Sponsors – Welcome Aboard Elizabeth Restaurant Monday, April 27th, 2015
We Look to Our Friends for This Week’s Harvest of Eat Local Links Friday, April 24th, 2015
UPDATED! What’s In Season Is Newer, Where to Find It May Not Be in Chicago – Sponsored by Vera Chicago Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
With Earth Day A-Comin’, Why Not Commit to Eating Local Monday, April 20th, 2015
Less Than a Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Friday, April 17th, 2015
It’s Only in Season if Its Local Thursday, April 16th, 2015
Old and New – What’s In Season Now and Where to Find It – Sponsored by Vera Chicago Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
Welcome Back – A Long Standing Relationship with Our Sponsor Paul Virant and His Restaurants Monday, April 13th, 2015
The Not Quite Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, April 13th, 2015
The Local Calendar 4/10/15 AUA Spring Gathering, 100Watts!, Pastoral Producer Festival, Cochon 555, GCM Outdoor 5/2, Morel Mania Friday, April 10th, 2015
Feeling Fruity Friday, April 10th, 2015
Carosello Barese – The Italian Cucumber/Melon Story Thursday, April 9th, 2015
UPDATED! – We Won’t Be Having This Conversation Next Spring – Local Foods Coming Soon Thursday, April 9th, 2015
You Can Find What’s In Season Now Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
“A loss for the whole community” Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
This is Not Your Parent’s Spring Season Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
Irv and Shelly Have What’s In Season Now Monday, April 6th, 2015
Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Friday, April 3rd, 2015
For Local Food We Go to Wisconsin to Woodman’s Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
The Return of the Local Kid, Now With Newsletter Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
This is NOT Your Momma’s Bread of Affliction Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
Hooked on Fish – A CSF in Chicago Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
Mind Your Own Beeswax Or Maybe Not, Beeswax Alchemy by Petra Ahnert Monday, March 30th, 2015
Gone Sauer on the Good Food Expo Sunday, March 29th, 2015
Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Friday, March 27th, 2015
The Bock Beer Article for Rob Friday, March 27th, 2015
What’s in Season Now (Salad) and Where to Find It – Sponsored by Vera Chicago Restaurant Wednesday, March 25th, 2015
How to Brag About (Green) Salad Wednesday, March 25th, 2015
Farmers market and local food grant-writing workshops planned Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
Welcome to the Local Beet Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
Best of Good Food Festival 2015 Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Why Eat Local – RECYCLED Thursday, March 19th, 2015
Living the Local Life – An 18 Point Guide (2015 Version) Thursday, March 19th, 2015
Way to Go Local Cheese and Other Eat Local Links – The Weekly Harvest Thursday, March 19th, 2015
The Local Calendar 3/18/15 Good Food Festival, Spring Thaw, Local Food Lobby Day Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
When Will it Ever Get Warm, Thank God It’s Warm, Oh My God, It’s Warm Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
They Wanted Beer – Jim Slama Talks to Us About an 11th Good Food Festival Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
Long day or short day onions? Monday, March 16th, 2015
Vera Says Choose to Eat Local – What’s In Season and Where to Find It Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
Where Was My Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, March 9th, 2015
Our Beet Reporter in Spain Friday, March 6th, 2015
Vera Wants You to Know What’s in Season and Where to Find It Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
When You Have a CSA It Can Come About Now Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
Beet Classics – Talking ’bout CSAs Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
We’re Getting the Band Back Together – Band of Farmers That Is Monday, March 2nd, 2015
Today is National CSA Sign-up Day! Saturday, February 28th, 2015
There Was Still Time to Harvest the Eat Local Links Friday, February 27th, 2015