Monday, June 9, 2008

Foraging in Lincoln Park

Saturday I finally had a chance to visit the Chicago Green City Market, something I have been wanting to do for months. I was excited when I first found out they do the markets on Saturdays, because I work a typical 9-5 job during the week and have to save my foodie excursions for evenings and weekends.

I should warn you that I had high hopes going into this market, because I've had a lot of market experience on my travels in Europe. I did not get to explore any of the markets in Chicago last summer, so Saturday was my first experience around the area. While it was not a bad market at all, I was expecting a lot more out of a city this size. The fact that is was in a grassy park struck me as odd-- I picture markets to be in a square or on a blocked off street. This may be a silly thing to criticize for, but it just didn't fit with my vision of what a market is like. I also had not considered that the local crop is not that exciting so early in the season, so there was not a ton of selection. At the same time, this is also something that's cool about this market-- everything there is local, organic, and sustanible. It was interesting to check out what the various vendors had available, and I do think I'll head back to the market in the next month or so, to see how things develop as the season progresses.

Here is a sampling of what I bought this weekend, to give you an idea of what was availiable.

I bought some beautiful tomatoes on the vine, and had to eat some for lunch when I got home. I made the sandwich with organic sourdough from a bakery out of Evanston.

I love asparagus, so when I saw purple ones I knew I had to try them. Their color faded when I roasted them, but they still tasted great.

I got some fingerling potatoes that had a rich, buttery taste when roasted, and some fresh lettuce that made a beautiful salad dressed simply with a vinagrette. I was most excited about the free range chickens I bought, because Joe and I have been talking about trying to buy more naturally farmed meat. It's from TJ's Free Range Chicken in Piper City, Illinois. They're required to sell it frozen at the market, so I haven't tasted it yet, but I can't wait to see if I taste any difference. I may have given up on Omnivore's Dilemma because it felt too much like a textbook, but I still am motivated to move away from processed and corporate farmed food as much as possible. If I like this chicken, I might have an excuse to visit this market more often!


Sarah said...

I'm so jealous! Looks like you had a wonderful time.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

It looks you had a great time. Good for you!

A World in a PAN said...

Asparagus! I love them. The three of us had 3 pounds of white Sologne asparagus for lunch.And a sea bass ...miam!

Alex said...

Hello Erin,

While looking for blogs on food, wine and cheese I came across your website and found it very interesting.
I’m emailing on behalf of Ile de France, a French cheese importing company (Schratter Foods, since 1936). Their most popular and award winning cheeses are the Ile de France Brie, Ile de France Goat and Ile de France Camembert. (Ile de France Brie being the very first Brie imported to the USA over 70 years ago,)
We would like to know if you would be interested to receive some samples of these French cheeses and write about one in your blog.
Ile de France Cheese would send you one Goat cheese, or one Brie or a Camenbert. Please let us know before the 20th of June which cheese would you be interested in sampling and writing about.
We are giving you the choice between the three cheeses because we plan to send you another type of Ile de France cheeses to sample later on this year if you enjoyed this project.

The cheese will be shipped the 7th of July in coolers. Therefore we would need from you an address where someone can receive the UPS delivery.

We hope you will be interested in participating. In case you are not, rest assured that we would not contact you anymore.

Please do visit our website ( anytime, it is full of cheese recipes, tips, and pairing ideas, and much more regarding other specialty cheeses such as Morbier, ComtĂ© or Boursault…

Feel free to pick any of our recipes to write about as well, just remember that you need to mention the source and place a link to our website.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

The opening of farmers' market season is so hopeful -- everything is fresh and exciting after a long winter of supermarket shopping. This year I've been making tons of asparagus soup, and freezing it for later in the summer when the asparagus are past.

Flanboyant Eats said...

I was accepted to Depaul law school about 10 years ago, and sometimes I regret not going. I'd be making some serious cash right now! :) I'll live in Chicago through you! :)

Evanston? Love it.

Anonymous said...

Oh yum!! I love farmers market and fresh produce! Everything looks so great!