Since Wednesday is Earth Day and Friday is Arbor Day, this week will be about earth-friendly, fair trade, green, good things. We’ll start with one of my favorites – food!
My new friend, Bengi, learned that local honey is supposed to help with seasonal allergies (who knew?!?!) and there are two produced right here in Chicago. The first is the Chicago Honey Co-Op which seems to be available at most farmers markets and local, independent grocers (there is a list of where to find the honey on the site). The other is Beeline from Sweet Beginnings in the North Lawndale neighborhood and Beeline is available at Whole Foods.
Yesterday I went to the Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks Open House. The open house featured some of the farmers who work with Fresh Picks, samplings from “green” caterers, music and art by folks who work for Fresh Picks, and, best of all, samples of yummy dishes made with organic produce. For those who haven’t heard me talk non-stop about Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks, it’s a fantastic company that works with farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan to bring local, seasonal produce (and now meat, dairy and more – this is new since we last lived in Chicago) right to your house. It’s like having the farmers market delivered to you! The site is very easy to use and while you can order whatever produce you like, get the Fresh Picks box! This is sort of the “mystery box” of what is seasonal. We have tried vegetables that we had never heard of before and Irv & Shelly make it really easy by including a recipe for every vegetable (seriously – I HATED beets but Shelly has made me open my taste buds a bit with her wonderful roasted beets recipe). You can order weekly or bi-weekly. I learned yesterday that you can now have items omitted from the Fresh Picks box if you’d like but that really spoils the fun of the box. If you live in the area, give it a try. It’s really wonderful and you’re supporting local businesses and farmers while making yourself good and healthy!
I could go on and on about Fresh Picks (and what I wrote is already pretty long) but I want to give some suggestions to those of you outside the Chicagoland area. The first site is Local Harvest which, among other things, lists area farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture programs. These are both easy, yummy ways to eat locally and seasonally.
Another eat and shop local site to check out is Locallectual. It’s a little tough to navigate but it does have some good content and if you want to make an effort to shop and eat locally, it’s a good start.
This week, try to eat, shop and entertain yourself locally. It’s an easy way to make a difference.
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