Monday, July 14, 2008

Travel Local

Scheduled Your Staycation?

I found the Learn Great Foods people when I attended the Green Fest last May. I meant to blog about this outfit that led tours of local foods around the Midwest, but then I meant to blog about a bunch of things at the Green Fest (local caramels, how recyclable is Organic Valley packaging). I believe then, as I believe now, that a foodie in good standing should be familiar with his or her food. Visit farms. Know your food. Napa Valley may not be close, but with a bit of effort, you can find a lot of interesting foodstuffs nearby. If you need a guide, Learn Great Foods may help. Moreover, this is the year of the staycation.* Monica Eng's enjoyed her trip to Northwestern Illinois with the Learn Great Foods folks:
In the morning we wake to the sound of songbirds and the intoxicating smell of raspberry cream cheese coffeecake. I wander onto the second-floor veranda, where Fern has left a pot of hot coffee and two mugs. I sip and sway on the porch swing looking over the Prairie Path's 36 acres of wood and fields that provide fruits and vegetables for Fern's lavish brunches.

Before breakfast we head downtown (about five blocks away) to catch the Mt. Carroll Farmers Market. We meet David Seger, an 87-year-old shiitake mushroom grower whose Seger's Tree Farm near Thompson is a stop on another LGF tour.

We score a sack of fresh mushrooms, banana cake and a loaf of wheat bread from a vendor who says she had milled Amish wheat for the bread flour that morning. I'm such a sucker for stories like that.

Is that not another reason I've always been a fan of Monica as well as always been a bit jealous [ed., except for the cuy and the eating of everything at Taste of Chicago?].

*Word of the year candidate

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