The Local Calendar 9/17/14 Chicken Coop Tours, Talking Farm Hullabaloo,The Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration and Lots More!

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Posted: September 17, 2014 at 9:54 am

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It may feel like winter is near with this bout of cold weather but you would never know it from the farmers tables at the markets or the schedule on the local calendar. This weekend is action-packed with farm and food events.

Calling all chicken enthusiasts for the 5th Annual Windy City Coop tours. The amazing folks at The Talking Farm celebrate all their accomplishments this year and their first harvest at the Hullabaloo at their Howard Street Farm and the Beaver Dam Pepper is celebrated at the Green City Market on Saturday. Sunday, The Spence Farm Foundation has their annual Harvest Feast at the farm in Fairbury or you can have a radical supper in a barn  in Libertyville.

Take advantage of all that there is on the tables of the markets. If you stop by the Green City Fulton Street market, say hello, I am helping out at the Nichols stand. You heard it hear first on the Beet, it will get warm again so don’t despair. It is just that time of year where we have these bouts of cold weather to remind us that winter is not that far away. But the tables at the markets say otherwise, buy all the corn, beans, tomatoes, berries if you see them, they won’t be on the tables that much longer!!

Here is a list of the city of Chicago farmers markets! Sign up to become an owner of Chicago’s newest Co-op here, the Chicago Market.  Now on to this very busy weekend and beyond:

                                                                   The Week’s Local Calendar and Beyond!!

September 17

FM – Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Green City Market - 7am – 1pm  For anyone who has the time, visiting the market on a Wednesday is a luxury!!!!!! Chef Justin Hall, FIG Catering demo today 10:30am !!

September 18

FMEli’s & Wright College’s Farmers Market 7-1pm

FM – Chicago - Daley Plaza Farmers Market (Through Oct. 30) 7am-3pm Katherine Ann ConfectionsNichols FarmsRiver Valley Kitchens and more.

FM – Chicago (Uptown) - Uptown Farmers Market at Weiss Memorial Hospital - 7am – 1pm (Through Oct) 4646 N. Marine Drive

September 20-21

**** ChicagoWindy City Coop Tour Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts - 10am -2pm each day 29 hosts in and around Chicago invite you to learn from their personal experiences with backyard chickens, ducks — and more! Visit Hosts’ yards and coops, ask questions, and take photos. More info 

September 20

Chicago - Fork and the Road Bike Tours Poultry Slam

Chicago(Lincoln Park) - Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration The Green City Market - Green City Market and Scrumptious Pantry will celebrate rare heirloom fruits and vegetables with deep roots in the Midwest. At the center of this celebration will be the Beaver Dam Pepper, named after Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.  Menu specials from the prepared food vendors, a scavenger hunt for the kids and a fundraiser for Green City Market’s Edible Garden in Lincoln Park will raise awareness for our regional heirlooms in delicious and fun ways!

Skokie - The Talking Farm Hullabaloo The Howard Street Farm 2-6pm They’ve hosted the Hullabaloo annually since 2011, the year they attained the land that would become the Howard Street Farm. The Hullabaloo is an open house for the community to see their progress in creating the Farm out of vacant land filled with invasive species. Though they’re continuing to build the Farm and its adjacent woodlands, this is the first year they’re celebrating their harvest so the Hullabaloo will be more festive than ever!! Join them as they celebrate the fruits of community innovation and cooperation — as well as the fruits of the Farm — at this family-friendly, leisurely event.

FM – Chicago (Lincoln Park) -  Green City Market 7am – 1pm Right across from the Hotel Lincoln  Chef Demonstrations Toni Roberts, ROOF on theWit 10:30 AM–11:30 AM Chef Demonstrations Canning Demonstration with Jane Paik

FMChicago (West Loop) Green City Market Fulton St. Market is located at 222 N. Halsted, on the southwest corner of Halsted and Fulton.  Parking is available along Halsted and in the lot on the southeast corner of Fulton and Halsted

FM – Chicago(Hyde Park/Woodlawn) - 61st Farmers Market ( Through 12/13, goes indoors as of Nov.) 9am – 2pm

Chicago - Growing Power Iron Street Farm Stand - 10am – 3pm 3333 South Iron St. Pick up your salad greens and they are selling at select Walgreens on the south and west sides!!

FM – Elgin - Market Elgin - 9am -1pm 800 North State St.

FM - Evanston - Downtown Evanston Market - (Through 11/8) 7:30am – 1pm Located Intersection of University Place and Oak Ave. (behind Hilton Garden Inn, east of East Railroad Ave.)

FM - Glenview - Glenview Farmers Market(Through 10/11) – Wagner Farm 1510 Wagner Road 8am – Noon Expanded with more vendors!

FM – La Fox – Heritage Prairie Saturday Farmer’s Market  9am – 1pm 2N308 Brundige Road

FM - Oak Park – Oak Park Farmers Market (through 11/1) - 7am – 1pm 460 Lake St.

FM – Sugar Grove - Sugar Grove Farmers Market - (through 9/27) 8:00 a.m. to noon Village of Sugar Grove Municipal Building Parking Lot, 10 Municipal Drive

September 21

Chicago - Red Meat Market Bison Butchering Class - Their 3 hour, hands-on class will guide you through the process from the moment the bison carcass is delivered to when it reaches the kitchen! Participates will have the opportunity to breakdown a half carcass. You’ll then start to break it into standard and some special cut! Learn knife skills, butchering techniques and how to breakdown a carcass into tasty steaks, tenderloins, roasts and ground!  You’ll feel the meat between your fingers, experience the smooth cut of the knife, smell the fresh aromas and be part of the renaissance of the local butcher.

Chicago - Dose Bomb -  at Morgan Manufacturing in the West Loop, get a big Dose of the freshest and the best at the Dose Bomb, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 401 N. Morgan. An ever-dynamic marketplace devoted to showcasing the finest designers, chefs, makers, bakers, entrepreneurs and artists, Dose is the place to discover those in Chicago doing it right. There’s no better way to spend a Sunday.

FM – Chicago (Pilsen) - The Pilsen Community Market  9-3pm 18th and Halsted

FM – Chicago (Logan Square) - Logan Square Outdoor  Market  (Through 10/26) 10am–3pm

Fairbury(Chicago-there will be transportation) - Harvest Feast Spence Farm Foundation -4-7pm  Join them at Harvest Feast to enjoy a beautiful evening of local ingredients turned into extraordinary edibles followed by a charity auction supporting Spence Farm Foundation’s programming like Chef Camp. (The bus will leave at 12:00 pm from Chicago | Evanston area and will arrive there at about 10:00 pm after the Harvest Feast)

Libertyville - Radical Supper in a Barn on a Farm - 31330 N. Milwaukee 5-8pm Radical Root and The Stew are teaming up to bring you a radical supper, in a barn, on a farm. You’ve heard of ‘farm to table’, but this time the table isn’t even leaving the farm. They’re hosting it right there, in a 100 year old barn. You’ll get the pristine produce from Radical Root, transformed into the deliciousness you love from Sauce and Bread Kitchen. Come along and let them treat you to a magical night!

September 22

FM – Lyons - Lyons Community Market - 2-7pm Veteran’s Park Ogden Ave & Lawndale Ave. (every Monday through Sept. 29)

September 23

FM – Chicago - MCA Farmers Market - 7am – 3pm Downtown at the MCA (Every Tuesday through Oct. 28)

Chicago -Publican Quality Meats Guest Chef Burger Night - 6-9pm

SAVE THE DATE

September 24

****** Chicago (Ravenswood) - Dinner In The Beer Garden6:30pm River Valley Farmer’s Table 1820 W. Wilson Calling all Chicago area locavores! They invite you to join us at River Valley Farmer’s Table for a feast-ive celebration of harvest season inspired by Lucy Saunders’ new book, ‘Dinner in the Beer Garden‘. This relaxing, come-as-you-are dinner features local, seasonal ingredients from the organic garden of River Valley Ranch & Kitchens (Burlington, WI), presented in five, family-style courses prepared by chef Jordan Rose. The meal will include selected local craft brews that are expertly paired by Lucy (@lucybeercook) and Jim Javenkoski (@localfoodwisdom), the co-hosts of this informative event. Additionally, River Valley Ranch & Kitchens owner Eric Rose will be present to share his story about the farm, which is renown for its cultivation of mushrooms. Each guest who purchases a ticket will receive a copy of Lucy’s new book, ‘Dinner in the Beer Garden’, a $28.95 retail value! Doors open at 6:30 PM and the first course will be served at approximately 7 PM. Menu details are forthcoming… $50 per person

September 26-28

Chicago - Chicago Gourmet Weekend – Millenium Park – Ground Zero for these 3 days in the world for all things culinary. Checkout the link for tickets, information, schedule, events for this action-packed, food and beverage celebration!!

September 27

New!! Chicago(Englewood) – Growing Home Wood Street Fall Open House - 11am-3pm

September 28

ChicagoChicago Market’s Farm-To-Market Bash: A Co-Op Celebration, noon to 4 pm.

October 4

ChicagoFork and the Road Bike Tours Vedging Out

October 12

New!! Chicago(Logan Square)  - 2nd Annual Backyard Dinner -6-9pm Bang Bang Pie Shop  Join them in celebrating the fall harvest and successful completion of their 2014 program at their 2nd Annual Backyard Dinner at Bang Bang Pie Shop in Logan Square! The evening will feature…Dishes hand prepared by some of Chicago’s leading chefs: Nathan Sears of The Radler, Scott Manley of Table, Donkey, and Stick, Patrick Cloud of Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits, and Chris Davies of Homestead On The Roof. Live bluegrass-inspired folk music by Chicago band Odd Folk. A raffle featuring local businesses and restaurants. Local beer, wine, and liquor.

October 22

New!!!! Chicago(Edgewater)FACT’s 4th Annual Fund A Farmer Uncommon Ground Devon - At the party, you can enter their raffle, bid on unique online auction items, nosh on locally sourced bites, listen to live bluegrass by The Lantern Kickers, and meet Carole Morison, a Fund-a-Farmer grantee and farmer featured in the acclaimed documentary Food, Inc.  Tickets are $25 and include two drinks and light appetizers. They hope to see you there!

November 7-9

New!!!!! Milwaukee, WIGrowing Home’s National-International Urban & Small Farms Conference - Growing Power is proud to announce another inspiring conference with workshops that will focus on the 2014 theme “Building a Fair Food Economy to Grow Healthy People”. This conference will showcase the best practices and principles in sustainable agriculture and the innovations underway that will grow a healthier tomorrow. Conference workshops will be innovative and multidisciplinary facilitated by growers who are currently operating urban and small farms, as well as those who are working in areas that support this emerging area of agriculture and local economic development. These workshops are intended to enhance the skills and broaden the perspective of participants.

November 8

Chicago – RAMENFEST - 12pm BellyQ Owner and Executive Chef Bill Kim is gathering chefs from around the city  both ramen experts and novices  to prepare their culinary interpretations of the classic dish. Twenty chefs will try their hand at ramen for the event.   A portion of all proceeds from the event and silent auction will benefit Common Threads, a non-profit charity founded by Chicago Chef Art Smith that focuses on educating children about different cultures through food and art.

November 18-20

Chicago – The Chicago Food Film Festival - This event sells out, is always crazy, inventive and tons of fun!!

Need more info on urban ag, gardens, plants, farmers markets, local food, these organizations are good resources for you to bookmark and utilize:  Illinois Stewardship AllianceAdvocates for Urban AgricultureThe Plant ChicagoAngelics Organics Learning CenterWeFarmAmericaThe Peterson Garden Project and The Talking Farm.


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Happy Tamar-Day

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Posted: September 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Is Today Your Tamar Day?

If it’s Thursday and you’re in swank Acapulco, your lunch is likely pozole, a dish of puffed corn kernels, chilies, and pork parts. In Brazil, all over, but especially in Rio, on Saturday, everyone spends hours over the feijoada. I bet the beans and meat dish there has some antecedent or connection to the bean and meat dishes eaten by Jews also on Saturdays. Having learned these things over foodie-time, I’ve become generally fascinated with the idea of foods or a dish associated with a day of the week. I was thinking about these kind of days because today is Monday, and in New Orleans, Monday is red beans and rice day. I was also thinking, perhaps today is your Tamar-day.

Now, the idea of red beans and rice on Monday, according to lore, arises because the day is anything but Tamar-day. It’s wash day. The idea was (is?) that you could put up a pot of beans, enriched with a few bits of meat, and ignore it the rest of the day. Thus, you would not be distracted from your laundry chores. These days with multi-cycle washers and kids ignorant of what a clothes pin does, it’s not like we need a day dedicated to laundry. We do, however, need time dedicated to cooking.

The ability to eat good food, whether it’s local food or just decent, whole, real foods purchased at the grocery, require cooking, and cooking requires time. A portion of the time necessary for cooking comes before you turn on the stove. Look at professional kitchens. They spend all day prepping for a few hours of nightly service. Professionals know two things. First, that if you create your mis-en-place, your station of ready made ingredients ahead of time, your final cooking flows easy. Second, they know the obvious, that it takes a lot of time and effort to get real food ready. Take swiss chard.

chard tomatoes

Here’s what I did with some, but not all, of the Swiss Chard in last week’s CSA box. I sauteed an onion and a sliced jalapeno, added the chard, then 2 large roma tomatoes sliced. Except before I did any of that I had to prep the chard. You cannot not walk into a chard dish. It’s a three part process to get chard ready to be ready. First, I separate the leaves from the stems–in fact, if I was using the stems, and I often do, it’s a four part process requiring the nipping of the stem end that came from the earth. Second, I need to wash the leaves very well. For something that grows far enough from the ground, chard leaves still pick up a lot of grit (and the stems, grittier). Last, I have to stack the leaves and slice into eatable pieces. At least the leaves do not need to be dried. That clinging water is necessary for proper cooking. Tamaring is all about doing those steps necessary to have good food.

peppernata2

Another aspect of Tamar-day, is to put together the kind of dishes that will serve you well all week, the Everlasting Meal that Tamar Adler entices in her book. She does not include a recipe for pepperanata in her book, but it’s the kind of thing that she would include a recipe if she thought about it. As I have noted, the best thing about pepperanata is that you get something like roasted peppers without all the hassle of roasting peppers. In addition, you get a versatile kitchen friend. A little bit schmeared on a bagel with goat cheese makes an exotic breakfast. Or go Spanish. Use your pepper mix as a based for eggs, either fried or scrambled meet the idea. Make a batch of pepperanata on your Tamar-day and you’ll be set for a while. Do your prep work. Make something that will carry you through the week. And take advantage of the momentum.

radish

Finally, Tamar-day is about Tamar-day. You’re probably like me. Once you’re cooking, you’re cooking. The same inertia that makes it hard to put food on the table when your are staring a full, wrapped up CSA box, means that when you’re chopping away, you’re going to keep on a-choppin’. So, on a Tamar-day, I’ll end up doing a dish or two that’s not complicated, that does not require extensive prep, and maybe will not serve my long term needs, but something I know I’ll like. I know I like salads, and I know I have an “ear” for salad. In other words I innately know how to set up a salad. I do not need any sheet music, I mean recipe pages. I get an idea, here a shredded radish salad from a book on Israeli food, and I go to work. I had these large Easter egg radishes to begin with that seemed right for the grater box. Some sliced kalamata olives and a light dressing, I feared too much salt or vinegar would turn it into a pickle. Here was another nice addition to our kitchen stocks.

We all lead busy lives. We need to keep our saw sharp physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. There’s a lot of demands on our time. Putting good food on the table is often the first commitment we break. In a recent, highly charged, highly debated, article, Amanda Marcotte railed against the tyranny of the home cooked dinner. She cited researchers who stated they, “rarely observed a meal in which at least one family member didn’t complain about the food they were served.” She sums it up pretty well, “the main reason that people see cooking mostly as a burden is because it is a burden. It’s expensive and time-consuming.” I do not buy the expensive part, because any alternative, fast food, TV dinners, a restaurant, pizza delivery, is more money than a home cooked meal. Time consuming, God yes. So much more when you use good, local food that’s not pre-cut and triple washed. The answer is to find your Tamar-day.


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Save a Pepper, Eat a Pepper – 3rd Annual Beaver Dam Celebration September 20 at Green City Market

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Posted: September 13, 2014 at 8:33 am

Friend of Beet, Lee Greene, has a thing for heirloom fruits and vegetables. She knows that if there’s a story to it, a lineage, a uniqueness, the item will taste a little bit better. Originally from Germany, but indoctrinated into slow food dogma after time in Italy, Lee came to the USA with an idea of highlighting our most special products. More, she came to this part of the US, the Mid-West. She developed a taste and an affinity for our regional and local products, the heirlooms of our area. She started Scrumptious Pantry to develop recipes with our fruits and vegetables. She’s always had a special love for a unique heirloom pepper originally grown near Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Rich in flavor and of decent flavor, the pepper lost commercial favor because it did not fit the specs of other so called consumer-friendly peppers. Lee knew that the best way to save this species was to encourage us to eat it. She canned pickled Beaver Dam peppers to be sold at farmer’s markets. And for the third year, she’s organized a celebration of the pepper. While the Beaver Dam celebration focuses on this heirloom, it is really about all heirlooms, and about the need to preserve and protect what tastes special to our locale.

On Saturday, September 20, 2014, Green City Market and Scrumptious Pantry will celebrate the Beaver Dam pepper as well as other heirloom fruits and vegetables. There will be prepared dishes made from the Beaver Dam pepper, a scavenger hunt for the kids and other activities to raise awareness on why we need to eat what’s unique. We hope to see you there.


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Easy Ways to Eat Local Later

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Posted: September 11, 2014 at 10:21 am

Is the Time of the Locavore Past?

drying

Since myself, my wife and my two daughters began our venture to be a Local Family about ten years ago, we’ve faced the same question.  How can you manage in the winter.  In a Middle-Western climate, one cannot eat local year-round.  Or does it take heroic efforts of preservation.  Weeks of hard canning to face the harsh times a-comin’.  My answer on how we do it remains simple, we put away and we find sources selling.  The proportion of putting away to buying year-round has altered over the years.  We know now that we can find plenty of local food all year, and our Tomato Mountain CSA* puts us on strong footing all the time.  Our local food will include storage crops and hoophouse greens; relishes and pickles, which to be honest, come from my Mother’s hard work, not ours.  See, I do the easy things to eat local later.

Let’s step back a second.  How many of you care how much you eat local.  Has the urge to locavore passed?  In harvesting my weekly crop of eat local links, I see various locavore challenges across the USA.  In looking at some of these, it made me notice that Green City Market in Chicago is not doing a challenge this year.  Did they do one last year?  Are people giving up on the idea of “locavore”, that is getting as much if not all of their food from a short distance on their home.  The lack of local local challenge makes me think that’s the case.

I think the culinary justifications for local food remain for the community.  I believe people are shopping markets, growing their own, and demanding that chefs do the same because they know it tastes better.  If you care about eat well, you’re going to want your melon from a farmer you can meet, not a farmer who puts it on a truck for you.  Still, what about all those other reasons for eating local.  Good for the environment.  Less waste.  Supporting local economies.  A sense of place on your plate.  Are we forsaking them.  The eat local movement gained its first flush of notoriety from the blog and then book of two Canadians, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon.  They subscribed to a 100 Mile diet.  Was eating local a game, a contest, a way of dealing with post-modern ennui.  Some people entered Touch Mudder races.  Other people made sandwiches with thin slices of turnip in place of bread.

As a Local Family, we always said, don’t make yourself nuts.  For instance, we eat nuts like cashews, peanuts (I know not a nut), almonds, etc., that do not grow in the area.  Over and over we said, eating local did not mean forsaking coffee, chocolate or spices.  Yet, there are little things that matter to us, that, to me, define us a locavores, that add a certain meaning to our eating, that show we are doing it for a more than it tastes good.

I like my food spicy.  I use various peppers a lot in my cooking.  This time of year, I use fresh peppers often.  For me, jalapenos are a salad ingredient.  For the rest of the year, I want the stuff to add heat, dried peppers.  It’s not a lot of work to dry peppers.  Pretty much no work at all as peppers dry on their own with no urging, and once dried, they will last a long, long time.  It’s such an easy task, and one with such staying power, that we’re still working off of previous efforts.  We do not need to dry that many of this year’s crops.  Another way I like to make my food spicy is to use much garlic.  I want it to be local garlic.  So, I make sure that I stock up on garlic now, when it is plentiful in markets.  Finally, I like to season my food with dry herbs, at least dried oregano and dried mint.  It transforms a plain salad into a “Greek” salad or turns tomato sauce into “gravy.”  That ineffable taste on the salad at your favorite Middle-Eastern place, probably dried mint.  There are many dishes I make that call for dried oregano or dried mint.  I am constantly buying and drying these herbs whenever I find them.  These are easy ways to preserve, and they are easy ways to eat local.

I know that I can stop by Caputo’s and pick up garlic bulbs year-round.  I can get very fragrant, dried oregano, imported from Greece, at Fresh Farms.  I can get huge bags of dried peppers at any Mexican grocery.  Flavor-wise, some of that will stack up, although if nothing else, my local garlic will lack that harshness or rancidity of anything else available in February, but I’m not just doing it for the flavor.  To us, these little additions make our food taste different.  Different is better.  When you use your own dried herbs, your own dried peppers, there is something about the final dish that is your own.  You own it.  Yours.  There remains, ten years on, challenges to eating local.  There also stands easy things to do.  You may find the whole thing worth it.

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain


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Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

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Posted: September 10, 2014 at 9:30 am

I began my slow slide from being a fat person by giving up diet pop over a year ago.

Eat local co-ops on one page.

More on local flour.

Can, should, will you be able to eat local raw milk?

More on the problems facing local cheese.

Eat local Atlanta.


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Eat Local Eggplant

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Posted: September 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Out of Stolen Items Come Lasting Food Memories

 

eggplant

See this dish. It was another attempt at recreating from the menu at Falafel King. A few days ago my wife and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary, which also meant that a few days ago, plus one, we celebrated our first trip to Falafel King. 21 years later, this place remains etched in my foodie conscience, and I believe, remains one of my favorite restaurants. Yes, there’s a long and complicated story here.

Can I tell it blog-cise? I’ll try. See once upon a time, before kids and before Molly the Eat Local Dog who would attack any such help, we actually could afford, and use, a cleaning person (now it’s a need but one we can neither afford nor use). We needed it, because, besides being a pair of not especially neat people, we lived in pre-gentrification Logan Square. The two of us, and our miniature dachshund, Shotzie, inhabited a huge, five bedroom space. We needed the cleaning help. Little did we know (at first), that the person was slowly absconding with various valuables. And the time came to pack to leave for Hong King and our well-deserved honeymoon. Not surprising, my wife was packing that night, mere hours before our scheduled first leg to L.A. She could not find it.

 

Even pre-9/11, you were not getting on an international flight without a passport. At 2 AM, a few hours after finishing our wedding party and a few hours until our flight, she could not find her passport. Now remember, slobs, 2,600 square foot apartment (and, believe or not, 2 house guests with us the night we became legal), it was a lot of searching to figure out we had no passport and no way to get on a flight to Hong Kong. Among the emergency measures I tried, calling some State Department crisis number I found in the phone book (remember when we had phone books). Somehow the officer I awoke did not agree with me that a missing passport on the edge of an international honeymoon amounted to an international incident. Now, I have not added a crucial detail.

 

We were flying out on Monday, Labor Day. A day our Federal employees took off. Federal employees including those responsible for dealing with lost and missing passports. We would not be flying out to Hong Kong as planned. We talked with representatives of Cathay Pacific, whose package we had booked. They advised us to get to L.A. as scheduled. An alternative Hong Kong flight was easy to arrange, but a new Chicago to L.A. could cause complications. So, on little sleep, we took the trip to L.A. Our plan, stay the day, scout out the passport facilities, deal with that when the Government re-opened on Tuesday, and get the hell away when done.

 

Rather quaint, right, that we could go from a missing passport to an international departure in about 3 hours. Not only did we get a new passport, with no apparent proof of naturalization in that short period, but Cathay Pacific boarded me within, like, ten minutes of lift-off. Do either of those now. Yet it was all possible from the fact that we went on Monday, everyone’s day off, to Falafel King. Well, we did not set out to eat at Falafel King. We set out to find the L.A. Federal facilities. It happened that it was near the Westwood neighborhood of L.A., and after determining our next day trip, we settled in for lunch. Being a holiday, I’m sure a few places were closed, but this Middle-Eastern place was open. We both love Middle-Eastern food.

 

In 2002, we returned to L.A., now with two kids. We made it a point of re-creating our honeymoon adventure of them, and we included a memory inducing visit to Falafel King. It stood up to that day. It was, did, and remains, this favored restaurant for a few reasons. First, you get these really good, battered, fresh made, chips, with your meal, gratis. Second, also gratis, is this sauce bar with about six types of condiments, including the very L.A., spicy short, yellow pepper. That’s me, I love the free stuff. That and choices. At the counter at Falafel King are an array of salads. A few are variations on Greek/tomato things. Then, there are the eggplants. I cannot say how many eggplant salads there were, but there were many. The way to order at Falafel King is, you could get some falafel, or me, some shwarma, and two, three, four, I think even five, accompanying salads. With the chips and the free peppers believe me, you got a big bang for your buck here, and a big bang to the memory cells.

 

Big enough that 21 years later, I’m still trying to re-create some of those eggplant salads. One of the best at Falafel King, if memory serves me, was an eggplant and jalapeno. We are in peak eggplant season now. Peak time to dwell in happy memories. Memories of first dates, ceremonies, getting on planes, and eggplant salads. Eggplant is not an easy vegetable for memory conjuring for one cannot easily eat an eggplant. Eggplants are one of those things that need to be cooked before they are cooked. For instance, the North African cuisines, Moroccan and Tunisian, are filled with eggplant dishes that require the vegetable to be first fried and then cooked again in ways that tighten up the sauce. You can skip the second cook in many eggplant salads, but you still need a good first cook. This can be done in the oven if you are bland, on a stove-top grate if you are archaic or on an outdoor grill if you are wise. Yes, the grill provides that added element of smokiness, but it is also easier to deal with the mess and such if you prepare your dish outside.

 

A lot of cognoscenti poo-poo common, globe, eggplants, and yes their flavor and texture can be a bit banal, but when you load it up with garlic, oil and roasted jalapenos, who cares. Here’s the real secret to making this dish. When I said load it up with oil, I meant load it up. Put your globe eggplants on top of some pretty hot coals. It’s hard to burn or over cook them for this dish. After about 20 minutes, if one side is pretty black and crackly turn. When the whole thing looks collapsed and ready to toss, that’s an eggplant ready for its date with oil. First add your other seasonings, the mashed garlic and chopped peppers, and not too heavy a hand with salt–Mario Batali actually advises using no salt in eggplant salads, but I disagree. Then, that oil. Add. Mix. They say it’s best when mixed with a wooden spoon. Use your taste as the arbiter, but believe me, it will not fully taste right or good or like it did back on that day if you don’t use a lot of oil. This is the time of year for eggplants and the time of year for telling stories. Eat local eggplants.

 


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Making the Most of the Seasonal Bounty

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Posted: September 5, 2014 at 7:13 am

Editor’s Note: It’s that time of year where we think you need to think about how you can continue to eat local the rest of the year.  As we explain in our guide, there’s good reasons for doing your thinking now.  Looking for special tomato advice?  Look here.

Make Plans to Eat Local Later

Freezing, canning, drying, pickling, and cellaring are all methods for making plentiful local foods last through the hard fall and winter months. Eating locally does not need to be a hobby during market season. Preserve and store so you can eat locally all year long. The reasons for eating local do not diminish with the temperature.

There are simple ways to make the harvest last, like throwing some food in the freezer. There are also complicated ways to preserve summer’s bounty (have you ever tried canning tomatoes?). Some methods take investment and space, like buying a spare freezer. Other methods require ingenuity, like finding a cold spot for a root cellar. In this article we’ll introduce the concepts, techniques and issues related to food preservation and storage. Look forward to future features on these topics as well as blog posts and forum discussions. We look forward to your questions and comments, and we want you to share your experiences.

Watch the calendar

Mother Nature does not fool around with Chicago. The calendar flips a page, the weather flips a switch. Oppressive humidity leaves while clouds and rain arrive (more often). The end of the summer is harvest time, the peak of local food supplies. As consumers, we can find local food as accessible and as affordable as it will be all year in mid September. Likewise, the farmer’s markets are so full you cannot eat all that is there. As harvest time ends, we enter an extended period, from November through to May, where the Chicago-based locavore will need to draw upon storage in order to stay local. You’re at an advantage if you can do something with the seasonal bounty to make it last throughout the colder months.

Harvest Time Action

Preservation and storage need not begin at harvest time. Peas, broccoli, blueberries, available mid-summer, freeze well. Nevertheless, the bulk of saving starts as summer ends. Local is more accessible and affordable during peak times. Take advantage of the $16 bushel of tomatoes. It is also at this time of year that the best keeping crops, the apples and potatoes and onions meant for the long-term, come into the markets. Plus, you probably don’t have a cool spot in your house the middle of summer. Thus, now is the time to focus on preservation and storage.

Choose the right foods

Good storage and preservation begins with the right produce. Certain varieties of fruits and vegetables are bred for storage. In addition, potatoes and onions need to be “cured” to enable them to last. Ensure you start with the right stuff. Summer apples like Lodi and Transparents are not meant to keep (unless made into sauce), while colder-weather apples like Rome Beauties or Granny Smiths store very well. Likewise, some tomatoes, especially the plum types, are better for canning. Talk to your farmer about storage. Ask them about which apples, pears and onions are best for storing and preserving. No one knows what foods keep in storage better than the person growing them.

Choose the right method

There are several methods to preserve and store the harvest. Different methods work best for different types of foods and different methods produce different kinds of dishes. A pickled green bean is very different from a frozen green bean. Don’t pickle everything unless that’s what you want to be eating.

Some methods require specialized equipment, skills, space, or simply an investment of time. The desire to freeze is tempered only by the amount of freezer space you own. The desire to can is often tempered by free time.

Food can last two ways: It can be kept at the right temperature and humidity to slow it from spoiling or it can be treated in a way to eliminate the bacteria that cause spoilage. Listed below are the most common methods of food preservation and storage.

Freezing

The US Department of Agriculture sums up freezing with this statement, “You can freeze almost any food.” They also add that freezing works because “freezing to 0 F inactivates any microbes–bacteria, yeasts and molds–present”. Finally, the USDA notes that freezing “prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause both food spoilage and food borne illness.” Not only does freezing work, it is easy. After minimal processing, the freezer does all the work. On top of all that, vegetables frozen at the peak of their freshness have more nutrients than many vegetables on the grocer’s shelves in Winter.

Freezing keeps fruits and vegetables closer to fresh than through canning. Compare a canned green bean to a properly frozen green bean and you will taste a difference. While any fruit or vegetable can be frozen, the best vegetables to freeze are those that are eaten cooked. Vegetables eaten raw like cucumbers and lettuces are not good candidates for freezing, although you can freeze something like a cucumber after juicing it. A few vegetables like onions and potatoes are better stored than frozen. The rule here would be, if you can store in a cellar (so to speak), store it there. On the other hand, there are certain vegetables that are especially suited to freezing including peas, sweet corn and various beans. Corn frozen immediately is generally going to taste fresher and sweeter than corn left around for days. Most fruits freeze well too.

Freezing is an excellent tool for preservation but for one key fact, it requires freezer space and electricity. The ability to freeze much depends on the ability to invest in freezer capacity, and just as important, having space for freezer capacity. Room for a freezer may be especially limited for apartment dwellers. The good news, freezers themselves are not exorbitant. Chest style freezers can be had for less than $300 and full size freezers can be had for less that $500 based on a recent visit to Sears.com. Energy-effiicent models will not introduce a significant increase to your energy bill.

Freezing vegetables require one small bit of preparation. Vegetables must be blanched, a process of quickly boiling and then cooling the vegetables. Blanching deactivates enzymes in vegetables that cause vegetables to mature, i.e., get tough or otherwise have off-flavors. (Instead of blanching, vegetables may also be briefly nuked in your microwave.) Fruits do not need to be blanched, but can be packed by themselves: “dry pack” or in a sugar syrup. Packing in syrup may lessen freezer burn, but it is not necessary. Fruits can be frozen with their skin on, even whole. Two good rules to follow when freezing anything : 1)spread items on trays to initially freeze; the flow of cold air over the food will enable the items to freeze faster and prevent them from freezing in blocks. 2) do not put hot foods straight in the freezer, such as just blanched veg; this will warm up your freezer.

Do not forget that another way to store items in the freezer is to convert them to ice creams, sorbets and ices. It is not much work to make a watermelon granita. This can provide nearly the experience of eating watermelon long after summer ends.

Other freezing resources:

Cold Storage

Cold storage, whether in true root cellars or not, is the another way to store food. We use “cold storage” as a catch-all phrase to cover foods that can last with decent care and not much else. Cold storage may seem the easiest step of all as no processing is required–in fact many foods for storage, like onions and potatoes, are processed or “cured” for storage by the farmer. The apparent drawback to cold storage, obviously is: who the hell has a root cellar these days? There are ways around that, and besides, there are some items that do not need real cool conditions to last. Food can last a surprisingly long time with good storage habits.

There are two classes of foods that can be stored. First, there are foods that need a cold setting (ideally between 32 and 40 F) and moist environment to stay vital. Then, their are foods that need a dry environment and generally should be kept around 50 F (or lowe). Onions, garlic and winter, or hard squash, fall into the latter category. They need to be kept dry. Onions should also be kept dark to prevent sprouting. Fruits and vegetables to be stored the other way, the cold way, include most root vegetables (turnips, rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, horseradish, beets, etc.); cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, sunchokes, apples, celery and grapes. As discussed, make sure to choose the right types of apples and potatoes for storage. If in doubt ask the farmer. Many sources suggest wrapping tomatoes in newspaper for storage. Also, items like celery and grapes will last a long time in good cold conditions, but taken up a few degrees will quickly fade. Other items, like apples and potatoes have more wiggle-room when it comes to conditions.

Finding storage for onions and squash is easy because they do not require as cool conditions. Most homes in the North are plenty dry for these things. It’s the other fruits and veg that are harder to store. The first step to home storage is to identify a place or a way to keep food in that 32 to 40 range. The obvious location that stays in that range is a refrigerator, an excellent tool for long term storage. There may be other places in your house or apartment. An un-heated attic works very well. Food can also be placed in containers just outside the house such as in a window well, the stairs leading to a basement or an apartment porch. The residual heat of the house is usually enough to keep food from freezing, but if food is kept in containers, it can also be moved inside on truly cold days. A little ingenuity can find the cool spot.

A cool spot works only so well. The other critical step to keeping foods edible is to keep them moist. Traditional root cellars were dank. Modern takes on root cellars need the dankness added. This can be done by keeping pans of water in your improvised cellar, using wet burlap, or by placing the items in sand. Items kept in the refrigerator are especially vulnerable to dry conditions.

If there is one step to cold storage it is to visit your food. The best storage methods will not protect all. An apple here, a potato there, will spoil, and as the cliche knows, one bad apple will spoil the whole bunch. It important to keep a vigilant eye on the food put-away in cold storage.

Cold storage resources:

Canning

Canning is the antithesis of freezing. It requires a significant amount work. Foods for canning must be chopped and peeled and stemmed and seeded. Before getting to canning, recipes must be followed, food prepared. Then, there is the work creating a good and clean environment. Jars must be sterilized. It seems scary and mysterious. Those recipes have to be followed or canning can produce un-wanted results. Canning, however, also allows for storage without the investment and space of a freezer. A few items like tomatoes may come out better canned than froze. Canning also allows the Chef to extend their harvest with all sorts of pickles, relishes, chutneys, jams and jellies. These foods add variety and vigor to a bland winter diet.

Food can be stored in cans (glass jars) because of steps taken to inhibit bacteria growth and steps taken to seal food off from all the bad things floating unseen in the air. There are two ways of canning: hot water canning and pressure canning.

Bacteria growth can be inhibited by the acids in foods or by introducing acids such as the vinegar in pickling solutions. In high acid situations, a hot water can is enough. When foods are low in acid, typically most vegetables, something else is needed to control bacteria: heat. The pressure in a pressure-canner makes water boil at a temperature over 212 F. This higher temperature kills bacteria. After this, proper use of hot water or pressure-canners will produce sealed jars. What started safe will remain safe.

Canning resources:

Drying

Drying allows food to last by making it harder for bacteria to prosper. Bacteria needs water. Dried foods are not fully safe from spoilage. After drying it might still be necessary to freeze or seal the foods or at least kept in good storage conditions. Good candidates for drying are tomatoes, plums, and hot peppers. Many herbs can be dried for future use.

Home drying can be done with a dehydrator, a microwave or an oven. Like canning, dried foods, at least some dried foods, need some work before the actual preservation. Dried tomatoes should be cored and halved, although opinions differ on the need to seed tomatoes when drying. Fruits need to be pitted. Fruit leathers take more work.

Drying resources:

Other Food Preservation Methods

Canners and freezers are wonders of modern innovation. Traditionally, many foods were preserved through fermentation. Fermentation flips the principles already discussed on their head. Canning, drying and freezing thwart microorganisms. Fermentation fosters them. Good bacteria’s and yeasts that can make food last. Fermentation is used to create products like pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut. Still, once fermented, products are often then processed, via canning or freezing, for additional storage.

Like fermentation, there are other ways to prolong food life without fully preserving it. In other words, if you pickle or jam, the new food will last a good long time in the refrigerator, but it will not last outside the fridge, let alone forever in the fridge. There are traditional cooked dishes that also serve to semi-preserve foods. For instance, the Sicilian caponata mixes eggplants and other summer vegetables in a sweet-sour-salty recipe that can be used in various ways on the table. Pestos, combining herbs, nuts and cheeses, are another way of making things last.

Other ancient methods for preserving foods used oils or vinegars. Oil makes a decent barrier to spoilage. In older times, meat was often preserved under fat. Now, we can keep roasted peppers or dried tomatoes around for longer periods by keeping them in oil. Flavored oils and vinegars may not keep a food, but they will keep the essence of a food. Likewise, fruits can be kept in alcohol. The most treasured method of saving fruit is to juice it and then make that juice last by making wine.

There are many ways to preserve the bounty of the harvest. Which way you chose will depend on what you want to preserve as well as the ways you have to save it. The more you eat local, the more you are going to want to eat local after the harvest ends. Over time, you will find preservation methods that work for you. You will invariably learn new ones. It is impossible to know how much to store and preserve without living through a Fall, Winter, and Spring with limited fresh foods. Try. Try using the methods discussed here. The reasons that have you eating local now, should have you eating local then. So give it a try.


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Weekly Harvest Has a Some Maps and Other Eat Local Links

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Posted: September 4, 2014 at 10:29 am

Local eating patternsvia

A United States of sustainable producers.

Have you been following the low-fat v. low carb debate this week?

Eat local wheat.

Why not farm?

Eat local New York.  Much more here.

 


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Eat Local Fry-Up

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Posted: September 2, 2014 at 11:12 am

It’s Not Always A Turkish Breakfast

fry-up

There are good and not so good places to open your new business in downtown Oak Park. On Lake Street next to the theater, good–plenty of people will see your forthcoming store. South of the rail/El tracks, already getting less desirable, and when you put your new business on pleasant off of Marion, off of the last bits of commercialism in a greater Suburban downtown that’s not thriving to begin with (come back Borders, man we miss ye), well who’s gonna notice. My wife and I did happen to notice months ago, a store front with a papered over, coming soon sign, but that’s because we’re the kind of people who would notice a coming soon called Carnivore. Still, at that location, we had no idea that it opened until we went to a friend’s house for dinner and she mentioned that the mussels she prepared came from Carnivore. Myself and the local kids stopped by the next day.

I’ll tell you upfront, honestly, sadly, I will not be shopping at Carnivore as much as I’d like. Now, my whole approach to local meat has evolved since I began my locavore adventure. Early on, you can read the quotes in the articles written about us, we said we drew the line at local meat because of the prices. That did not last long, as we realized that keeping our proteins local was as vital as any part of local living. We arrived at hacks to control meat spending like buying a half-a-cow, meatless Mondays, and in about the best way to reduce costs, going vegan (for a period). In short, when we buy meat, we buy good meat, but we don’t buy good meat very often. A lot of background to get back to my point that there’s expensive, there’s really expensive, there’s what I’m willing to pay, and then there’s Carnivore. The higher than high prices reminded of something I’d see in New York City or at Harrod’s Food Court. High.

The foodie in me brushed that aside (with the locavore urging right along). This was total meat porn. Gorgeous slabs of red meat and white fat. What it’s supposed to look like. Labeled with all my farm friends, the Kilgus’s and Slagels and such. I was drawn to spare ribs but settled for a remainder portion of breakfast sausage. The kids egged me on. Let’s make a fry-up today. The butcher, a butcher shop with butchers, yes! re-purposed the last link into 4 chipolata style chubby wieners. I could not quite stop there. Did they sell local eggs? We did not see. Would our idea end inchoate? No, they did not sell local eggs, but yes they had some they’d give us. OK, how about some of that house-made bacon, sliced to order to our specificity of thickness. And then speaking of sliced to order, it would not be today’s breakfast, but after a sample, I also had to pick up some of their cold smoked salmon, a bisele, shtikl, easy on the pocketbook mein herr.

fry-up2

Back in the Bungalow, we got to work. Not often included in recipes for one-pot meals, but the fry-up or English Breakfast, the Full Monty, or just the Full, the Complete, needs only a very good, well blackened pan.  Add your rashers and your bangers.  Manage the heat.  You want the stuff to start cooking but you need to create your fat.  See, anyone can eat bacon or sausage for breakfast, but for a breakfast that deserves a wee dram on the side, you need to cook your bread, your tomatoes, and your eggs, in that order, in the grease that the meats emit.  To leaven, ever so slightly, this breakfast, to add a whiff of our normal Turkish-ness to our plates, we did make a salad, and since we were eating at fry-up, the salad was of rocket.

Hannah's frySophie's fry

Looks good. So good that I ate mine in like five minutes. My wife asked me the next day, what I thought about Carnivore’s meat. I said the bacon did remind me of English bacon in its thickness, its meatiness, and the way it tasted much more of hog than cure. I’d be back today for more if it were not so damn expensive. I might have to wait until we do another eat local fry-up.


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Chicago Market – A Community Co-op

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Posted: August 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Local Beet2

I am a proud owner of Chicago Market!

Chicago Market is a start-up grocery cooperative on the north side of Chicago that is committed to changing the food system by offering sustainably and ethically produced goods of all kinds. Chicago Market will help both owners and producers by re-establishing the connections between them and offering fair prices for the whole community.

I am an owner because I think it will make life as a locavore easier and it will help support the farmers and artisans that work so hard to give us our food. Being an owner of Chicago Market means that I am a partial owner of the grocery store which means that I have a vote in what happens in the store. This is exactly what I have been looking for – a way to own my food choices. I have been lucky enough to be a part of it since Greg Berlowitz founded it last March.

Chicago Market now finds itself in the homestretch of its first campaign to get 1000 members in 100 days. This is a very ambitious goal, yes, but it is what the food system in Chicago needs. It is a community that is built around helping everyone and encourages actively thinking about your food choices and habits. As a cooperative, Chicago Market will require transparent and honest business practices and give fair wages to its employees. It will give back to the community by engaging the whole community.

The great thing about Chicago Market is that everyone has their own very personal reason for becoming an owner. Some owners have young kids and want to make sure that they are being fed organic food. Some owners are very active in their communities and want to create programs to help educate others about making educated food decisions. I believe strongly in creating a store that sells ethically raised meat and practices whole animal butchery. Chicago Market allows me to say that and feel like my voice is heard.

I strongly encourage everyone to become an owner with me and take the food system into your hands. Chicago Market’s next information session is on September 6 at Edgewater Library. Come and hear many members of the Steering Committee talk about their stories and ask any questions you may have and consider becoming a part of the next great grocery store in Chicago: Chicago Market!


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Weekly Harvest of Places Where they Are Eating Local + Other Links

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Posted: August 28, 2014 at 10:30 am

Eat local Milwaukee.

Only a 100 days?

Nothing to do with eat local, but I do love Turkish breakfast.

Bookmark this for future reading.

The joys of CSA subscription.

Eat local cover crops.

Eat local for safety.

Eat local Austin–Remember it’s on MAY-nor road

Eat local Athens (Georgia).

 


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Eat Local Peppers

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Posted: August 27, 2014 at 2:11 pm

I Live for Pepper Season

padron peppers

What’s on the Local Family table a lot this time of year? Peppers. By August, we’re into pepper season, and there’s all sorts of ways to enjoy. My pepper recipes tend to be a mix of serendipity and aspiration.

peppernata

My greatest discovery with peppers, coming last summer, was to forgo peeling. There is no task in the local kitchen that I both love and loath more than peeling peppers, for I love so much flame-roasted peppers, yet so hate the process of making them.  How to skip the loath and just get the love? Believe me, I’ve tried 30 million ways to peel a pepper, and the best of ways still amount to drudgery and mess. Then, somewhere I discovered pepperonata, which is essentially (almost like) making roasted peppers without the peeling. See, by cooking the peppers a bit, with a little liquid, the skin softens enough. You get the delicious cooked flavor without nearly as much work. I’ll also say this, it’s a good way for using thinner pepper that may lose too much flesh in flame roasted. The liquid comes two ways. First, peppers themselves throw off a fair amount of water when cooked, and second, you add a few chunked tomatoes to the pan. Start with a layer of sweated onions, add a mix of peppers, sweet and hot, red and green, finally, the tomatoes. It takes about 20 or so minutes to soften and meld. Smoked paprika gives it a very Spanish flavor. Otherwise, all you need is salt. Finish with herbs.

serbian peppers

Pepperonata may be my most recent pepper discovery, but my most enduring came after a visit to Old Town Serbian in Milwaukee about 12 years ago. We had a lot of good dishes at this dinner of about 10 chowhounds, who ventured from Chicago, but the dish that stood out, which stays in my mind to this day as I work all the time, now, to re-create, roasted hot peppers. Somehow, in the 40 or so years I had lived up until that meal, I had never had the variation of roasted peppers made with hot banana peppers. I have since made this dish often for others, and often (most), I find the same epiphany. There’s something about the combination of flame roasting and capsicum that makes all the hassles of peeling worth it, and unless you grew up somewhere in the former Yugoslavia, you probably weren’t doing it.   Change that now.  You can find all sorts of hot Hungarian, wax, banana, poblano, etc. peppers now.  This time of year, we almost always have a spare dish of this pepper dish. Making it, it’s never easy. I allow myself a good half hour of skinning time and zumba music on the Spotify. And method, I’ve come to believe a knife works best as compared to hands, messy, and water, destructive. Personally, I use the stove’s flame, but I guess you could get by with an oven roaster. That time allowance was for peeling. Make sure you also give yourself enough time to sweat the peppers in a bowl sealed well with plastic. This helps a lot. After scraping off the skin, snipping the tails, and removing the guts, I cut the peppers into decent strips. Don’t forget to season with salt; then a splash of vinegar, sherry if you have it, and a good drench of good olive oil. Chunks of garlic add that Serbian touch but are not necessary.

Easiest way with peppers, fry them whole. Generally, one frys thinner fleshed peppers like shisheto, Melrose, Beaver Dam, or those padron’s pictured above. Yes, like a lot of you, I’ve been influenced by Calvin Trillin’s account of eating padron peppers in Spain. Now, I have never eaten padron peppers in Spain, so I cannot relate to how well my local peppers would stand up to Mr. Trillin’s quest to find something closer to his home that compared to Spain. I do know this. Trillin talks of the odd bomb. That part of the fun of eating padron peppers in the occasional Scoville mine that goes off in your mouth. I guess in Spain that happens about 1 in 10. With my peppers, usually purchased from Farmer Vicki’s Genesis Growers, it’s more like 9 in 10, or the fully palatable one is the exception. Still, once you get past the pain, they taste great. Just a little oil in a medium hot pan until they collapse.   Invite Bud Trillin over.

tunisian grilled veg salad

Peppers play so well with their summer friends. As Tom Colicchio says, what grows together, goes together. There’re all sorts of classic dishes that combine summer vegetables like eggpants, tomatoes, and zucchini with peppers. Last summer, I learned to make the best. The Spanish call it escalivada, and it tends towards chunks; you see each component. The Tunisians call it mechouia and make it best. I’m talking about a “grilled vegetable” salad. As you would flame roast peppers, you also flame roast the other ingredients, the tomatoes, eggplant, etc. Peel them as they are done, discarding the skins, seeds and excess liquid. I like to go fine, but not quite puree when it comes to dealing with the cooked vegetables. Dress with olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice. What makes it Tunisian, as compared to other versions is a heavy hand in the spice cabinet. Add to your cooked vegetables, ground caraway, cumin and harissa until it tastes both delicious and exotic.

Do take full advantage of what’s in season now.


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The Local Calendar 8/27/14 Cochon Heritage BBQ Goose Island Brewery Sat., Put Spence Farm Foundation Harvest Feast On Your Calendar

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Posted: August 27, 2014 at 12:00 am

GoldmedalkinniGZKinnintomatoes

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, it is that heirloom tomato time of year! Do you know the name of the tomato you are buying? It could be an Early Girl, Black Prince, Cherokee Purple, Gold Medal, Green Zebra, Orange Oxheart, Ponderosa Red, Violet Jasper, Tasmanian Chocolate, and Wapsipinicon Peach or many others. Know your tomato!

There are a lot of events on the horizon, including tomorrow’s AUA’s Movie and Mingle Night, Cochon 555 supports the small farmer and knows how to throw a really fun party, their Heritage BBQ is this Saturday at Goose Island’s brewery and next weekend is the Windy City Wine Festival.

Events on the horizon: AUA Movie & Mingle Night, Cochon Heritage BBQ, Windy City Wine FestivalRadical Supper in a Barn on a FarmSpence Farm Harvest Feast, Talking Farm Hullabaloo, the action-packed Chicago Gourmet weekend

Need info - Organizations in Chicagoland providing resources, classes and advocacy on local food: Illinois Stewardship AllianceAdvocates for Urban AgricultureThe Plant ChicagoAngelics Organics Learning CenterWeFarmAmericaThe Peterson Garden Project and The Talking Farm.

Here is a list of the city of Chicago farmers markets! Sign up to become an owner of Chicago’s newest Co-op here, the Chicago Market.  Now on to the busy weeks ahead:

                                                                   The Week’s Local Calendar and Beyond!!!

August 27

Champaign - Prairie Fruit Farms & Creamery Open House 3-6:30pm

FM – Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Green City Market - 7am – 1pm  For anyone who has the time, visiting the market on a Wednesday is a luxury!!!!!! Chef Abe Conlon, Fat Rice demo today 10:30am !!

August 28

Chicago – Green City Market Junior Board’s Meet The Market at Sportsman Club

Chicago - AUA Movie and Mingle Night - Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab from 7-11pm. They will be screening “Edible City”. Check out the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=336p7Yo8Zww

FMEli’s & Wright College’s Farmers Market 7-1pm

FM – Chicago - Daley Plaza Farmers Market (Through Oct. 30) 7am-3pm Katherine Ann ConfectionsNichols FarmsRiver Valley Kitchens and more.

FM – Chicago (Uptown) - Uptown Farmers Market at Weiss Memorial Hospital - 7am – 1pm (Through Oct) 4646 N. Marine Drive

August 30

Chicago - Cochon 555′s Heritage BBQ - 4-8pm Goose Island Brewery 1800 W. Fulton Heritage BBQ presented by Goose Island Beer Co. is an all-inclusive event, a stand-up tasting where five notable chefs will each be given a 200 pound heritage breed pig to create six dishes for a crowd of pork-loving enthusiasts. A panel of 20 respected judges will vote for the city’s “BBQ King or Queen.” The events raise awareness for responsible family farms, culinary schools, local food producers, craft brewers, great winemakers, and prestigious distillers wanting to celebrate with an amazing food event during National Bourbon Month. The cause is local, the flavors are global, the talent is unbridled.

FM – Chicago (Lincoln Park) -  Green City Market 7am – 1pm Right across from the Hotel Lincoln Chef Gale Gand Spritzburger chef demo 10:30am

FMChicago (West Loop) Green City Market Fulton St. Market is located at 222 N. Halsted, on the southwest corner of Halsted and Fulton.  Parking is available along Halsted and in the lot on the southeast corner of Fulton and Halsted

FM – Chicago(Hyde Park/Woodlawn) - 61st Farmers Market ( Through 12/13, goes indoors as of Nov.) 9am – 2pmChicago - Fork and The Road Bike Tours Architect’s Diet

Chicago - Growing Power Iron Street Farm Stand - 10am – 3pm 3333 South Iron St. Pick up your salad greens and they are selling at select Walgreens on the south and west sides!!

FM – Elgin - Market Elgin - 9am -1pm 800 North State St.

FM - Evanston - Downtown Evanston Market - (Through 11/8) 7:30am – 1pm Located Intersection of University Place and Oak Ave. (behind Hilton Garden Inn, east of East Railroad Ave.)

FM - Glenview - Glenview Farmers Market(Through 10/11) – Wagner Farm 1510 Wagner Road 8am – Noon Expanded with more vendors!

FM – La Fox – Heritage Prairie Saturday Farmer’s Market  9am – 1pm 2N308 Brundige Road

FM - Oak Park – Oak Park Farmers Market (through 11/1) - 7am – 1pm 460 Lake St.

FM – Sugar Grove - Sugar Grove Farmers Market - (through 9/27) 8:00 a.m. to noon Village of Sugar Grove Municipal Building Parking Lot, 10 Municipal Drive

August 31

FM – Chicago (Pilsen) - The Pilsen Community Market  9-3pm 18th and Halsted

FM – Logan Square - Logan Square Outdoor  Market  (Through 10/26) 10am–3pm

September 1

Happy Labor Day!

FM – Lyons - Lyons Community Market - 2-7pm Veteran’s Park Ogden Ave & Lawndale Ave. (every Monday through Sept. 29)

September 2

FM – Chicago - MCA Farmers Market - 7am – 3pm Downtown at the MCA (Every Tuesday through Oct. 28)

Chicago -Publican Quality Meats Guest Chef Burger Night - 6-9pm

SAVE THE DATE

September 5-6

Chicago(Bridgeport) - Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar Three Floyds Beer Extravaganza 7-10pm

Chicago - The Windy City Wine Festival – Buckingham Fountain  A celebration of wine, beer, food, music and friends. The festival provides an opportunity to sample from more than 300 wines from around the world. Learn about new and exciting varieties from the experts in a relaxed festival setting.Wine seminars and cooking demonstrations are conducted by event sponsors, exhibiting wineries, area chefs and restaurateurs. Some of the area’s best restaurants and caterers will sell their signature dishes. Live music will be performed on the festival stage. This event takes place RAIN or SHINE.

September 6

ChicagoFork and The Road Bike Tours Italy, not Eataly

September 7

Chicago(Logan Square) – Comfort Food Potluck – The Dill Pickle Coop Block Party 11am – 4pm Comfort Station Logan Square 2579 N. Milwaukee

Chicago(Uptown) - 5th Annual Kegs For Kids The Hopleaf Bar Tasting Party – 12pm – 5pm A benefit for Edgewater’s Helen C. Pierce Elementary

September 13-14

ChicagoMod Mex & Mod Mix – Kendall College Four of the world’s finest Mexican chefs unite in Chicago this fall to cook, compete, and create.  Join them for two days of hands-on demonstrations, intimate conversation and the most memorable meal of your life: Chef Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill/Topolobampo/XOCO, Chef Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chef Fany Gerson La Newyorkina Brooklyn, NY,  Chef Pablo Salas Amaranta Restaurant, Mexico City

September 13

Chicago(Hyde Park) - Common Threads Produce Stand and Open House - 10am – 1pm 4901 South Kenwood All the following workshops and activities are FREE!! 11 am & Noon: Introduction to Permaculture – Matthew Stephens, Permaculture Expert Ongoing: Cooking in the Garden – Stephanie Folkens, Common Threads ChefOngoing Kid’s Activity: Make Your Own Chia Pet

Fairbury - Slagel Farm Dinner with Three Aces, Bedford & Carriage House 2:30pm Bus option available from Chicago.

September 14

*****New!!! Chicago (Pilsen) - Mindful Medicine Worldwide Chef’s Garden Supper Club - The Convent in Pilsen, 1718 S Racine Ave. 6-9pm Sauce and Bread Kitchen will be there with your favorite eats from, and as a bonus, you’ll be supporting a great cause. Mindful Medicine Worldwide is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing integrative health care to people of developing areas.  $75

September 20-21

**** Chicago – Windy City Coop Tour Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts - 10am -2pm each day 29 hosts in and around Chicago invite you to learn from their personal experiences with backyard chickens, ducks — and more! Visit Hosts’ yards and coops, ask questions, and take photos. More info 

September 20

ChicagoFork and the Road Bike Tours Poultry Slam

New!!!! Chicago(Lincoln Park) - Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration The Green City Market - Green City Market and Scrumptious Pantry will celebrate rare heirloom fruits and vegetables with deep roots in the Midwest. At the center of this celebration will be the Beaver Dam Pepper, named after Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.  Menu specials from the prepared food vendors, a scavenger hunt for the kids and a fundraiser for Green City Market’s Edible Garden in Lincoln Park will raise awareness for our regional heirlooms in delicious and fun ways!

Skokie - The Talking Farm Hullabaloo The Howard Street Farm 2-6pm They’ve hosted the Hullabaloo annually since 2011, the year they attained the land that would become the Howard Street Farm. The Hullabaloo is an open house for the community to see their progress in creating the Farm out of vacant land filled with invasive species. Though they’re continuing to build the Farm and its adjacent woodlands, this is the first year they’re celebrating their harvest so the Hullabaloo will be more festive than ever!! Join them as they celebrate the fruits of community innovation and cooperation — as well as the fruits of the Farm — at this family-friendly, leisurely event.

September 21

Chicago – Red Meat Market Bison Butchering Class - Their 3 hour, hands-on class will guide you through the process from the moment the bison carcass is delivered to when it reaches the kitchen! Participates will have the opportunity to breakdown a half carcass. You’ll then start to break it into standard and some special cut! Learn knife skills, butchering techniques and how to breakdown a carcass into tasty steaks, tenderloins, roasts and ground!  You’ll feel the meat between your fingers, experience the smooth cut of the knife, smell the fresh aromas and be part of the renaissance of the local butcher.

Chicago - Dose Bomb -  at Morgan Manufacturing in the West Loop, get a big Dose of the freshest and the best at the Dose Bomb, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 401 N. Morgan. An ever-dynamic marketplace devoted to showcasing the finest designers, chefs, makers, bakers, entrepreneurs and artists, Dose is the place to discover those in Chicago doing it right. There’s no better way to spend a Sunday.

Fairbury(Chicago-there will be transportation)Harvest Feast Spence Farm Foundation -4-7pm  Join them at Harvest Feast to enjoy a beautiful evening of local ingredients turned into extraordinary edibles followed by a charity auction supporting Spence Farm Foundation’s programming like Chef Camp. (The bus will leave at 12:00 pm from Chicago | Evanston area and will arrive there at about 10:00 pm after the Harvest Feast)

Libertyville - Radical Supper in a Barn on a Farm – 31330 N. Milwaukee 5-8pm Radical Root and The Stew are teaming up to bring you a radical supper, in a barn, on a farm. You’ve heard of ‘farm to table’, but this time the table isn’t even leaving the farm. They’re hosting it right there, in a 100 year old barn. You’ll get the pristine produce from Radical Root, transformed into the deliciousness you love from Sauce and Bread Kitchen. Come along and let them treat you to a magical night!

September 24

****** Chicago (Ravenswood) - Dinner In The Beer Garden6:30pm River Valley Farmer’s Table 1820 W. Wilson Calling all Chicago area locavores! We invite you to join us at River Valley Farmer’s Table for a feast-ive celebration of harvest season inspired by Lucy Saunders’ new book, ‘Dinner in the Beer Garden‘. This relaxing, come-as-you-are dinner features local, seasonal ingredients from the organic garden of River Valley Ranch & Kitchens (Burlington, WI), presented in five, family-style courses prepared by chef Jordan Rose.
The meal will include selected local craft brews that are expertly paired by Lucy (@lucybeercook) and Jim Javenkoski (@localfoodwisdom), the co-hosts of this informative event. Additionally, River Valley Ranch & Kitchens owner Eric Rose will be present to share his story about the farm, which is renown for its cultivation of mushrooms. Each guest who purchases a ticket will receive a copy of Lucy’s new book, ‘Dinner in the Beer Garden’, a $28.95 retail value! Doors open at 6:30 PM and the first course will be served at approximately 7 PM. Menu details are forthcoming… $50 per person

September 26-28

Chicago - Chicago Gourmet Weekend – Millenium Park – Ground Zero for these 3 days in the world for all things culinary. Checkout the link for tickets, information, schedule, events for this action-packed, food and beverage celebration!!

September 28

ChicagoChicago Market’s Farm-To-Market Bash: A Co-Op Celebration, noon to 4 pm.

October 4

Chicago – Fork and the Road Bike Tours Vedging Out

 


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Another Harvest of Eat Local Links (with Unfortunate Sad News)

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Posted: August 20, 2014 at 11:52 am

 

Five ways to eat more sustainable.

The death of Rush Creek Reserve should act as the canary in the coal mine for all American raw milk artisan cheeses, because just as our great American artisan cheese movement is in serious full swing, the FDA has basically declared a war on raw milk cheese.  More here and here from MikeG.

Eat local flour.

Eating local not by choice.

My dream day: playing poker and eating at a restaurant called Locavore.

Another idea I can appreciate.

Eat local Utah!

Share with us some of the things you’re reading.




Farmers Markets: Rules, Regulations and Reforms – Webinar on current and future farmers market regulations

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Posted: August 20, 2014 at 9:16 am

From the Central Illinois Sustainable Farming Network (CISFN):

Farmers Markets: Rules, Regulations and Reforms – Webinar on current and future farmers market regulations

Two webinars, Monday, August 25: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. and Thursday, August 28: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., will provide an opportunity for farmers market vendors and farmers market managers to learn about new regulations and reforms that impact farmers markets and provide input to the Governor-appointed Illinois Farmers Market Task Force about future farmers market regulations. This year the Illinois General Assembly passed and Governor Quinn signed into law HB5657, Smarter Rules for Farmers Markets, that made a number of reforms to farmers market regulations in Illinois to support consistency, transparency and economic opportunity. This webinar will provide an overview of the reforms that HB5657 made and what farmers and market managers need to know about the new law. Additionally, the Illinois Farmers Market Task Force is currently reviewing all regulations for farmers markets in the state and will make recommendations for changes at the end of this year. Farmers, farmers market managers and others have an opportunity to provide input on farmers market regulations including the following topics: products sold at the farmers market, hand-washing stations, refrigeration, sampling and more.

Galesburg Farmers Market  Galesburg Register Mail

Galesburg Farmers Market
Galesburg Register Mail

Both webinars will have the same content and will be held twice to accommodate a larger audience. For those who are unable to attend the webinar, written comments can be submitted Illinois Stewardship Alliance at isa@ilstewards.org or 230 Broadway, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62701. To register for the webinar, click here:https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=10728 or call the Sangamon Menard Extension office at (217) 782-4617.

The webinars are sponsored by Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Illinois Farmers Market Association and University of Illinois Extension. Questions? Call Illinois Stewardship Alliance at (217) 528-1563 or email isa@ilstewards.org.




Illinois Stewardship Alliance is celebrating its Annual Harvest Celebration! Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
This Week’s Harvest of Eat Local Links is Today Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
Tomatoes Make Everything Taste Better/Eat Local Tomatoes Now Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
The Many Ways to Put Away Tomatoes Monday, August 11th, 2014
Morton Grove Farmers’ Market 2014 Sunday, August 10th, 2014
A Week and a Day Since We Harvested Our Eat Local Links Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
A 2014 Embarrassment of Local, Organic Riches Friday, August 1st, 2014
Epic Labor Day Feast Heritage BBQ Presented By Goose Island Cochon 555 Friday, August 1st, 2014
Another Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, July 28th, 2014
The Local Calendar 7/23/14 Angelic Organics Harvest Dinner, TOTN Chicago 8/13, Spence Farm Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Farmers Markets Celebrated on U.S. Postage Stamps! Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, July 21st, 2014
What’s In Season Now, Whole Roasted Tomatoes Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
This Week’s Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, July 14th, 2014
July’s Rooftop Movie & Mingle Night at the Weiss Memorial Hospital Rooftop Farm Monday, July 14th, 2014
What’s In Season Now: Stale Bread Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Time Passes, Time to Tamar Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
It’s Another Week of the Summer Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, July 7th, 2014
About a Betta Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
The Local Calendar 7/2/14 Merry Berry Happy Fourth!! Fermented Foods at Sugar Beet Co-op Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Just Enough Coals, Plenty of Water and Some Really Old Produce – It’s Tamaring Time Again Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Start Your Week Off With Our Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, June 30th, 2014
Tails From The Prairie Friday, June 27th, 2014
The Will to Locavore Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Governor Quinn Approves Legislation Supporting Farmers Markets Monday, June 23rd, 2014
Getting a Head Start on Your Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, June 23rd, 2014
Good Greens Meeting Agenda 6/26, Grants, Jobs, Resources Friday, June 20th, 2014
Getting to This Week’s Harvest of Eat Local Links – Wood, Cheese and Plenty to Drink Thursday, June 19th, 2014
Forward Local Calendar: Green City Market BBQ, Taste of the Nation, Farm Dinners, Fermented Foods, Permaculture Workshops and More Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
The Local Calendar 6/18/14 Meet The Market Kinmont, Support Spence Farm at BrownTrout, Moody Tongue debut Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
Green City Market Announces Chef Lineup for Their Annual BBQ July 17 Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
If It’s Thursday There Must Be an Interesting Speaker at Eli’s Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
Time Again for Our Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, June 9th, 2014
Wine To Water™, Support the Right to Clean Water and Taste Top Wine Picks At The Same Time Monday, June 9th, 2014
We Need You To Sign This Petition Today!!! Armchair Advocacy for Good Cheese! Thursday, June 5th, 2014
Be a Local Food Star Today! Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
The Local Calendar 6/4/14 What Is Your Favorite Market? Piggy Benefit at Big Jones Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
Only One Day Off from a Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
Local Flavors – Downstate Farm-to-Table Series of Lunch and Dinner Events Kicks off Today Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
What Irv Gets Right Friday, May 30th, 2014
The End of the Lazy Locavore and the Return of Tamarday Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
Illinois General Assembly Approves Smarter Rules for Farmers Markets Legislation Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
I Keep on Harvesting Your Eat Local Links Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
The NRA Show 2014 Some Local, Sustainable Light Amid All The Main Stream Food Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
The Local Calendar 5/21/14, Memorial Day, The Start of the “Summer” Market Season Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
Deadline for Applications Alma MBA Food and Wine June 30th Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
On a Roll, The Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, May 19th, 2014
A Streak of Two – The Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, May 12th, 2014
Fearless Food: From Plot to Plate! Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
The Local Calendar 5/7/14 Wednesdays at Green City, Beats at Iron Street, Mother’s Day at Mint Creek Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
A New Streak of Weekly Harvests Starts Now Monday, May 5th, 2014
Fences Make Good Puppies Sunday, May 4th, 2014
New Local Food Systems and Small Farms Program Website Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
Local Calendar 4/30/14 Green City Market Outdoor Opens, Morel Fest, New Wave Brewer’s Bash, Slagel Farm Dinner With Chef Paul Virant Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
Not much space to garden? Try tomatoes in containers! Friday, April 25th, 2014
If It’s This Week, It’s Weekly – Eat Local Links Thursday, April 24th, 2014
The Local Calendar 4/16/14 One Last Soup and Bread, Mint Creek Brunch, Green City Market Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
Vegetables are People Too! Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
Next Weekly Harvest of Flawed Indices & More Eat Local Links Monday, April 14th, 2014
Eat This Friday, April 11th, 2014
Fruit Vendor Wanted for PCC Austin Produce Market Friday, April 11th, 2014
What’s Not in Season is In Season Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
The Local Calendar 4/9/14 CoffeeCon, Cochon 555, Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Cheesemonger, Know Your Cheese! 4th Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival Monday, April 7th, 2014
Each Week, We Harvest Some Eat Local Links for Your Extra Reading Monday, April 7th, 2014
Local Purveyors on the Top of the List for The Sugar Beet Co-op Products Monday, April 7th, 2014
The Talking Farm Holds Fundraiser To Support Expansion of Urban Farm Friday, April 4th, 2014
Asparagus – a Springtime Delight and a Great Addition to Any Garden! Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Irv and Shelly Welcome You to Fresh Picks + Farmers, Pig Roast & More – Sunday April 6 Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
Jeannie’s Here With the Other Eat Local Links We’ve Harvested Monday, March 31st, 2014
The Local Calendar 3/26/14 Farm Dinner Season, Local Foods Awareness Day, Come See Us At Soup And Bread Tonight! Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
This Does Seem Like a Weekly Harvest (Of Eat Local Links) Monday, March 24th, 2014
This is NOT Your Momma’s Bread of Affliction Friday, March 21st, 2014
The Registration Deadline for Local Food Awareness Day is Monday, March 24th Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
Special Harvest of Good Food Festival Links Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
Farmer’s Markets are Not Bullshit Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
Anatomy of a CSA Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
Our Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, March 17th, 2014
Chef Dean Zanella Has Supported Local For A Very Long Time, Now Let’s Support Him! Monday, March 17th, 2014
We gotcha new Chicago-area breweries … right here … updated, yet! Monday, March 17th, 2014
The Local Calendar 3/12/14 The Good Food Fest Is Here, Soup And Bread Tonight, Green City Market And More! Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Is This the Year You’ll Join a CSA? Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Smarter Rules for Farmers Markets Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
Ed Needs A Van: Here’s Why Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
Groundbreaking Local Food Initiative Announced – Localizing the Chicago Foodshed Tuesday, March 11th, 2014