Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The March Melting Pot

I often come across articles, events or tidbits about cooking or local food, but they’re not enough on their own to warrant a whole article. So, I thought I would start collecting these and post a miscellaneous article with random thoughts, resources and interesting information. Here goes:

First up, the 5th Annual Ramp Fest at the Garfield Park Conservatory on Friday, April 5. Ramp Fest is The Land Connection’s annual Spring fundraiser, inspired by the wild ramp, allium tricocum, which is the first edible green to come up each spring, and which Chicago was named after (who knew!). Enjoy spectacular dishes featuring the vegetable of honor created by the likes of Paul Kahan: Blackbird Restaurant, Carrie Nahabedian: NAHA, Sarah Stegner & George Bumbaris: Prairie Grass Cafe, and Paul Virant: Vie Restaurant. For ticket information, visit > events.

Which leads me to my second feature: The Land Connection.
Their Vision
: to support and foster the growth and creation of community-based food systems in the Midwest, in which every farmer has the opportunity to grow food in a sustainable manner, and every person has the choice to enjoy local and organic foods.
Their Mission
: to establish successful farmers on healthy farmland, ensuring an abundance of delicious, local, and organic foods.
A great cause that is worthy of our support (and you get to eat ramps!). For more information, visit

I found out about the Ramp Fest and The Land Connection in the latest issue of edible Chicago, a magazine featuring news of the region’s family farmers, brewers, food artisans, chefs, home gardeners, and others who have a dedication to producing and using sustainably produce, local, seasonal foods. You can pick up free copies at various locations around the city and suburbs (I grabbed mine at the Chopping Block), you can read the content online, or you can subsribe and have it delivered to your door four times a year for $28.

Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand is now open on a permanent basis and offers edible local and seasonal products all produced within 250 miles of Chicago. The Farmstand was recently featured on WGN Lunchbreak and highlighted local buttermilk, scone mix, soups and more that are available for purchase. For hours and more information, visit the Farmstand’s website.

And one more local, seasonal shopping spot that’s not open quite yet (as far as I know, but someone please correct me if I’m wrong), but very soon we’ll be able to buy local, organic and healthy food at the Dill Pickle Food Co-op in Logan Square. For updates and more information, visit or call 312-523-8299.

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