Eat Local (and seasonal)
On Saturday, my family and I, along with a few tagging along kidz, had the pleasure of seeing the Shorter Shakespeare Macbeth production at Navy Pier. Surely, I went along not just for the stop afterward to Fox & Obel but for the cult-cha, but the show was surprisingly good. Not that different from an episode of this year's Soprano's (really!). Still, I always like any excuse to visit F&O.
I especially like the ample commitment the place shows to local and seasonal products. Perhaps, it is all for show, but sometimes you have to appreciate your partners regardless of their motivation. Local was most on display in the dairy case with Country Cottage eggs and Traders Point Creamery products (with samples!) amongst the offerings. There is also a commitment to carrying local cheeses (which is not that hard given the quality of items like Pleasant Ridge from Upland). What most impressed me, however was the spring lamb from a farm in Illinois (darn, forgot the name!).
Real spring lamb. Something you read about WAY more often in Italian cooks (e.g., Silver Spoon) than ever seen in a local market. Aside from runs of king salmon, it seems we as an eating public have been entirely weaned of the notion that protein should be seasonal. Yet, here it is, a once a year treat. Lamb that by its very nature will be different in a few more weeks. F&O displays it against standard Colorado,all year round lamb, and you can vividly see the difference. The spring lamb, which, beating heart, beating heart, is also local, is smaller (a whole leg looks like it would barely feed 8) and pink like the color of veal. I will not know what it tastes like until tonight. I am eager.
I hassled the F&O meat counter a bit about meat. I like that they carry media approved Bill Curtis grass-fed Tall Grass meat, but I pine for them to carry local meats from the likes of the Wettsteins or Rissman or Roseland (stuff out there at the Green City Market). We both know, however, that the local providers cannot ensure steady supplies of fresh meat--infrequent slaughter schedules. Still, if we can enjoy the yearly treat of spring lamb, maybe we can get used to the idea of yearly beef. No?
[Note, I began this post on Monday, but it's been a too hectic week. I apologize to anyone who would have shopped spring lamb at Fox & Obel for their Seder. You still have a few days, however to Easter.]