Friday, March 07, 2008

Eat Local In the News

Keep your eye on the Chicago Tribune's Perspective section this Sunday.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What's Local at Whole Foods, River Forest - Now!

Go Find Out! - Support West Suburban PADS

Ok, I'll post later on the number we did at Whole Foods, River Forest, but if you happen to be near there and are reading this, Wednesday afternoon, please go do some shopping. Today, today, Whole Foods, River Forest, is donating 5% of your purchases to West Suburban PADs. All the stuff you wanted at Whole Foods that you thought, well, maybe, today's the day to get it. You have several hours. Shop. Now.

Winter's Just a Market Away

Two Markets (Again) for Your Shopping Pleasure

Saturday, March 8 ~ Beverly
Sunday, March 9 ~ Park Ridge

~ 1 ~
10 A.M. TO 2 P.M.

Winter Farmers Market & Café
in the Beverly neighborhood at
Beverly Unitarian Church
10244 S Longwood Dr (in the Castle)
(Northwest corner of 103rd St. and Longwood Dr., a few blocks East of Western Ave.)

~ 2 ~
10 A.M. TO 2 P.M.

Winter Farmers Market & Brunch
in Park Ridge at
Park Ridge Community Church
100 S. Courtland Ave.
(in the triangle created by Courtland Ave, Prospect Ave, and Park Place)

I hit the winter market last Saturday in Chicago's Austin neighborhood. I filled my environmentally friendly canvas bag to the brim with several types of herbs, balsamic vinegar, a few heads of lettuce, the days only supply of radishes, two types of cheese and locally roasted coffee from Blue Max.

Here's what you should find at this week's market:
Cheese, in a variety of flavors (NEW this week Fresh Mozzarella!)
Yogurt, in a variety of flavors
Honey in a variety of flavors
Organic lettuce, kale & chard
Organic herbs (basil, dill, sage, oregano, parsley)
Spicy greens & shoots
Organic Yukon Gold potatoes
Fresh mushrooms (several varieties)
Onions & shallots
Jams & preserves
Apple & pear butters
Goats’ milk soaps in heavenly scents & fun shapes
Pet products
Raw wool and rovings (Park Ridge only)
Mattress toppers*, comforters* & wool batting (Park Ridge only)
Bath & body products
Infused vinegars & dried herbs
Organic wheatberries & several varieties of milled flours
Wool yarn & woolen goods
Maple & sorghum syrups
Beautiful fruit tarts & cakes by the Sisters of Fraternite Notre Dame
Fair trade coffee, chocolate & tea
Fair trade organic olive oil from the Palestinian region
Opportunities to learn about CSAs (community supported agriculture) and purchase your subscription for this summer
And much, much more!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Requiem for the Roots

(last inventory report)

I was thinking this morning, what happens to the potatoes in our attic when (if?) the weather warms. It's been a great storage spot, but its days are numbered. We did manage to remove all of the roots from the attic last week, cooking the last of our turnips and beets--with about a 2:1 ratio of usable to spoiled. Reasonably, the end of February should be the end of stored roots. I think we carried the stuff about as long as possible; plus, it's time to eat something else. The question is what? Updates to what's there (excluding freezer goods) in italics:

Cranberries - two packages no change
Pie pumpkins - 1 - no change
Celery - about 2/3rd of a head, usable for cooking - a few stalks hanging in
Herbs - rosemary, thyme, parsley - Added! - oregano, mint, cilantro
Winter squash - about six including acorn, delicata, turban and butternut - no change
Keeper onions - good stock - Added 10 lbs, so onions are fine
Sweet potatoes - low stock - no change
Garlic - about 20 heads - used up a few heads, so maybe 18. On the other hand, I did find some garlic in a different spot, so we had more than I thought
Cabbage - 3 heads of white cabbage, one head red; the whites have varying states of decay - Used 2 white, the worst of the white is still there, I'm not sure why I'm keeping it.
Sunchokes - 2 lbs - This we eat when there is nothing left (?)
Carrots - low stock - Used our 3 large carrots from Freshpicks, very limited stock
Parsnips - low stock - Used about 4; we have more parsnips than carrots
Beets - very low stock, about six usable beets - Used all the beets
Turnips - very low stock, about four usable turnips - Used these turnips*
Potatoes - very good stock - Used some, but stock remains strong
Apples - medium stock - Purchased 3 lbs of Michigan red delicious, but used them all in "Project Sandwich" lunches. Significant dent in apple population in bungalow**
Lettuce - 1 bag of mixed greens, one head of boston lettuce (non-local) - Existent lettuce finished, purchased two bags of aquaponic lettuce at last week's winter market.
Microgreens - 1/2 bag of sunflower shoots - Existing sprouts eaten, purchased peashoots at winter market; sunflower shoots at Whole Foods.
Mushrooms - cremini, mixed oyster/shitake (cultivated) - Used existing mushrooms, purchased new mushrooms at winter market.
Celery root - 2 lbs - no change

Purchased radishes at winter market, but ate them, with their greens last night.

*Roots resurrected: I found two turnips in the back of our vegetable bin this morning. Sprouting yes, but still usable.

**For a change of pace, we went heavy on non-local fruit this week. We purchased blood oranges and honeybells at Trader Joe's, and we got a good deal on bananas at the wholesaler. We purchased two bunches of bananas there (which still have not ripened since last Thursday).

Monday, March 03, 2008

What's In Season Now - Chicagoland - March

In Like a Lion Out with the Ramps

Those interested in last month's What's In Season, see here.

Every week come Monday, I check the Chez Panisse web site--it's always updated for the week ahead by Monday. I surely appreciate Alice Water's approach to eating, so her menus are inspirational in that sense. I also check to get an idea of what's in season. Not what's in season for me...

This month, we will not see local asparagus, peas or green garlic, all items on her menu this week. We do have a couple of interesting items this month. March is generally maple syruping time in the Midwest. Here's a listing of some maple festivals (some were last weekend, sorry!). In addition, those little wild onions that gave Chicago its name, ramps (try Google), will begin their short season in March. Read about past ramp digs at Spence Farm here and here, and consider the Rampfest on March 28.

Beef, lamb, chicken, pork - Winter markets; farm direct, Cassie's Green Grocer,
Grains - Winter markets, farm direct
Eggs - Winter markets, farm direct, grocery, Cassie's Green Grocer,
Farm raised tilapia - Winter markets
Farm raised rainbow trout - Grocery
Great Lakes fish - pike, whitefish, pearch, white bass, lake trout, carp - Grocery, speciality stores
Microgreens, sprouts and related - Winter markets,, grocery
Lettuces - Winter markets, farm direct
Carrots - Winter markets, farm direct,
Potatoes - Winter markets, farm direct, grocery,
Apples - Winter markets, farm direct, grocery
Herbs - Winter markets, farm direct,
Mushrooms - Winter markets, Grocery, Cassie's Green Grocer,
Onions - Winter markets, farm direct, grocery
Burdock root -
Horseradish -
Radish - Winter markets (limited quantity)