Winter Marketing

My new partner in food crime, Andrea, has arrived in Chicago at last. She accompanied me on an expedition to a church in the suburbs to check out Markets and Meals for Hope. The organization boasts four central ideals: Earth Stewardship, Community, Spirituality, and Justice. Three out of four ain't bad. Being a heathen, I worried about the location. The event wasn't churchy exactly, but the markets are held in parish halls and have lots of booths that involve signing up for causes. We skipped those and headed straight for the food stuffs where Andrea's iphone saved the day since I forgot my camera.

We bought some eggs from a nun and sampled many things that shouldn't really be eaten in succession: various vinegars, honey, cheese curds, many kinds of salsa, dried fruit. Andrea said - of the Bron's Bee Cake - that the Heritage Prairie Kitchen must have, "...injected buttery moistness in there somehow." She explained away her purchase, "Even after learning it was $10, I couldn’t say no." The tiny cake - about three and a half inches in diameter is slathered in icing and weighs a ton (ok, about 6 oz.). I may give her $2 for a bite.

Some of the vendors were familiar faces from the fair weather market scene like seedling and River Valley. There was a nice man from Scotch Hill Farm offering up a cookbook, some potatoes, and a reasonable CSA program that delivers to the Chicago area from Wisconsin. It was worth the roadtrip.

I lost track of how much we spent and can therefore guarantee it was too much.

a dozen eggs
1 lb. oyster mushrooms
1 bag whole wheat flour
2 bags Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds
1 container dried Seedling cherries
1 bee cake
1 jar plum jam

The indoor winter farmers market is an interesting proposition. It was 7 degrees when we crunched through the ice toward the church gymnasium. The growing season is dormant here, but you can buy dry, preserved, or stored food along with food products like pickled mushrooms or baked danishes. You can still mingle with the growers (or sometimes their kids or interns) and like-minded food buyers. Something is kind of sad about the bad overhead lighting and lack of dirt. I love getting all muddy during a rainy market day and just seeing all of the green. I also didn't like having to sift through hippie soaps and knitting products to find the edibles. The Nature Museum is housing the Green City Market's new indoor market, so maybe that will cheer me up.

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