Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Growing Home

Harry Rhodes
1325 S. Wabash #205
Chicago, Cook County, IL 60605

Growing Home's Les Brown Memorial Farm in Marseilles, IL has 10 acres of total land, with about 3.5 acres in cultivation. This land was acquired from the federal government as federal surplus property. The mission of Growing Home is to provide job training for homeless and low-income people and create employment opportunities within the context of an organic agriculture business. Growing Home also operates a 1/2 acre urban farm at the Su Casa Catholic Worker on the south side of Chicago. Growing Home is very active in advocating for urban agriculture in Chicago.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Recipe: Roasted Asparagus Four Ways!

Nothing captures the essence of springtime like tender, fresh asparagus.  Asparagus grows wild in many parts of the United States and can often be found minding its own business by the side of roads and interstates!  It's one of the easiest and tastiest ways to starting 'eating wild'.  The recipe below is a simple and delicous way to serve this marvelous little gem.  The spears taste great with the standard recipe, but pesto or hollandaise sauce provides an intriguing twist.  Let me know what you think!

2 bunches of asparagus, preferably thick trimmed and pelled if needed
2 tbsp dry white wine or dry vermouth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.  In a large shallow baking pan toss together the asparagus, wine, salt and pepper to taste and olive oil until the asparagus spears are evenly coated.

Roast the asparagus until the spears are browned in spots and are just tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Do not overcook.

Transfer the asparagus to a platter and drizzle with the lemond juice to taste. Serve at once or try the following variations:

with Shaved Parmesan
Drizzle the hot roasted aparaa=gus with lemon juice as directed, then, using a cheese shaver or paring knife shave -2 oz of Parmesan, Romano or dry Jack cheese over the asparagus.

with Pesto
Omit the lemon juice. Toss the hot roasted asparagus with 1-2 tbsp pesto or to taste.  Serve at once.

with Hollandaise
Drizzle the hot roasted asparagus with lemon juice as directed,then serve it with hollandaise sauce.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Orangeville Farmers Market

Orangeville Farmers Market

Open to all farmers/vendors, no cost, first-come, first serve for space. Seasonal produce, crafts, baked goods.


Saturdays July 4 to October 10, 2009
8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Contact Info:

Cindy Rackow

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Polls: What's Your Favorite Feature?

CC Angus Beef

Natural, grass-fed beef.  The animals are fed good forage in rotating grazing, stockpiling, and presenting bales. They are raised humanely without the use of hormones, growth implants, or antibiotics.

Sold through a variety of outlets and direct on the farm.  Also available at the Geneva IL Green Market.

Don and Marilyn Dralle
18468 Cty. O
Mineral Point, Wisconsin 53565

18468 County Road O
Mineral Point, Wi 53565

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Monday, May 25, 2009

DIY: Homemade Insecticide

Have occasional troubles with bugs but don't trust harsh chemical pesticides that are a hazard to friendly insects, or yourself? Try these recipes!

  • 1 gal. of warm water,
  • 1 cup of instant coffee crystals,
  • a squirt of dish soap(not detergent),
  • several dashes of tobasco sauce.
Spray both sides of leaves, the stems and soil surrounding plants. You can cut this recipe just as you would reduce any recipe. Refresh it the next year with a little tobasco sauce.

If you make kess than a gallon you could just throw it awy and start new in the Spring.

Do Not Use Instant Powder Coffee; it won't disolve well.

The soap is a surfacant which helps insecticide stick to the leaves. I think the key may be the tobasco sauce. Good Luck.


  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1/4 tsp liquid dish soap
Add all to a 16 oz spray bottle, fill the rest with water and shake well before each use.
You will be amazed at how fast this knocks out unwanted pests.....before your eyes!
I would suggest you do this very early in the morning as to not burn your plants in the heat of the day.
You have to repeat this as you see the return of the unwanted pest, but it is safe, easy and works great ... I have not found any insect that it will not kill, with direct contact. I also see that it keeps them away for a period, depending on water and rain fall.This is safe and can be applied same day as harvest, just rinse well.


  • Garlic Concentrate (this can be bought at gardening supply stores)
  • Water
Boil a pot of water on the stove and mix in garlic.

Another option is to use certain kinds of plants strategically to drive unwanted bugs from your more delicate varieties. Called 'companion planting', this approach aims to leverage plants' natural properties for use in your garden. Popular companion plants are marigolds, 4 o'clocks, nasturtiums, garlic, borage and tansies.

Monday, May 18, 2009

DIY: Build Your Own Spice Rack

Like the clean minimalist look of the spice rack above? Check out the original post at Apartment Therapy.

Here are the instructions:

How To Build a Spice Rack Out of Vinyl Molding

• The molding came from Home Depot. It's plastic - almost like a Styrofoam - and square. It's easy to cut in a miter box. (I'm always on the lookout for stuff like that.)

• Molding specs: "Blind Stop White Vinyl Never Rot" cellular vinyl moulding. 5/8" by 5/8". $5.15 per 8'. SKU 246871.

• I made ten 2-foot pieces and three 22-inch pieces.

• With little white brads, I nailed 5 of the cross pieces at equal intervals on the uprights (just far enough apart for the jars). I then nailed 5 more cross pieces onto the existing cross pieces to make the shelf wide enough for the spice jars. I'd originally intended just one piece but the resulting shelf was too narrow for the jars. Then I nailed it to the wall, again with brads (it's very light).

• The jars are from Cost Plus originally but I've also found them at Bed Bath and Beyond. I alphabetize them roughly (they're out of order all the time) and also label the tops with Avery removable round stickers. Mainly I just pick 'em by sight when I'm cooking.

Friday, May 15, 2009



Bonnie Ogle & Paul St John
42W352 Prairie PO Box 484
Sugar Grove, IL 60554
Kane County

One of the proud vendors at the Geneva Green Market. Grandma's Farm Fresh Eggs is also a part of the Erehwon Farm CSA.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Recipe: Strawberry Onion Salad


Strawberry Onion Salad

SUBMITTED BY: Chuck Iannuzzi

"Strawberries on a bed of red leaf lettuce, garnished with red onions for a stunning color combination. An unusual sounding recipe that turns people off until they taste it, then they love it."

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 head red leaf lettuce, rinsed and torn
1 red onion, thinly sliced

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, red wine vinegar, sugar, milk and poppy seeds. Set aside.
  2. Divide the lettuce into 6 individual salad bowls. Sprinkle strawberries over the lettuce, and garnish with onion slices. Pour dressing over salads just before serving.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Freeport Farmers Market

Locally grown only, handmade bakery items,fresh eggs,plants,herbs,artisan breads

May 16 to October 17, 2009
Saturdays 8:00 am - 11:00 am

721 W. South St
Freeport, IL 61032
CVS and Old Eagles parking lot

Contact Information:
Beth Nagel

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Genesis Growers

Genesis Growers provides a very wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables for sale, as well as fresh free-range eggs.  If it's green and grows in this climate, Genesis probably has it for sale!

Genesis also sells in Chicago Green City and Oak Park Farmers Markets.  Wholesale (bulk) purchase options are available.

Vicki Westerhoff
8373 E 3000 S Rd.
St. Anne, IL 60964

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Monday, May 11, 2009

DIY: Wild Greens

Nature Bulletin No. 269-A May 13, 1967
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Richard B. Ogilvie, President
Roland F. Eisenbeis, Supt. of Conservation


In springtime the human body seems to crave green food. Although, with our modern systems of transportation, it is available all year round, many of us have enough of the spirit of adventure to seek and use some of the wild plants eaten by the Indians and frontiersmen. Perhaps there is the gratification of "getting something for nothing". More likely, some primitive instinct is satisfied by experimenting with such foods, and the feeling that we would manage to survive if cut off from ordinary sources of supply. Wild greens are used much more in Europe than in America but they can furnish an interesting and important part of ourdiet, once we learn to know them. Half the pleasure is in the gathering. Further, that time spent in the out-of-doors makes any food taste better. 

Of these wild greens, the dandelion is most commonly known, gathered and eaten. It has been used since ancient times and, in recent years, it is cultivated for the markets in New York and other cities. The "crowns" or rosettes should be gathered when the leaves are very young and tender. The plants growing up through matted grass or fallen leaves are best. Like many wild greens, they have a slightly bitter tang but are equally good in a salad or when cooked -- alone or with other kinds. Being rich in vitamins A and C, the water in which they are cooked can be saved and sipped as a spring tonic. Winter salads of dandelions can be had if strong thrifty crowns, with two or three inches of root, are stored in a cellar, in autumn, and covered with litter or coal ashes.

Some of us plant vegetable gardens and raise spinach, beet tops, mustard and Swiss chard for greens. As often as not, there is a weedwhich we keep hoed out, and which also grows in shady places around outbuildings -- Lamb's Quarters, or Pigweed, or Goosefoot. It is a fast-growing plant with pale bluish-green leaves shaped like a goose's foot; a relative of spinach and the beet, and equally edible.

Wild mustard is another famous potherb, preferred by many people for cooking with fat salt pork. Sour dock or curly dock, purslane, sorrel, wild chicory and even the plantain which plagues our lawns, are others.

Once you know them, the trick lies in picking only young tender plants and in cooking them properly. However, even older plants become fairly tender and lose much of their bitter taste if boiled in two or three waters and drained after each boiling. The common burdock, although a pest, can furnish good eating if its young sprouts are peeled, scraped and boiled. Wild onions and leek can be as good as domestic onions in salads, soups and stews if used in moderation. The young succulent shoots of milkweed and pokeweed, cut off just above the ground, can be cooked and eaten like asparagus tips; and asparagus, in many localities where its seeds have been spread by birds, has also become a wild plant.

The delicious Creole gumbo, a celebrated American dish, originated from an Indian soup to which dried powdered leaves of the sassafras tree -- native relative of the cinnamon -- were added to give it that spicy "slippery" taste. Later, okra was used as a substitute. Our native water cress and the domesticated water cress, which thrive best in cool clear spring water, have become the favorites of gourmets for salads and as a garnish for meats.

Relatively few wild plants are very poisonous. In some, only certain parts are poisonous -- for instance, the roots of pokeweed, and the raw shoots and roots of the milkweed. One of the best publications telling which to pick and how to use them is the book: Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America, by Fernald and Kinsey, published by Idlewild Press.  [ed. another book is The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants]

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Calendar update 5/10 - 5/16

Rockford IL

Building a Basic Water Garden

Where: University of Illinois Extension-Boone County

When: May 12th, May 14th

What: Starting with site selection and ending with the serenity of a water garden, this program offers step-by-step instructions on how to build a backyard water garden. Preregistration required by calling 815-544-3710.

How Much: paid

Boone County Gardeners Cocoa Mulch Sale

Where: Boone County Fairgrounds

What: Every Saturday in May.

How Much: paid


Open House on Knoch Park Improvements

Where: 421 West Martin Ave. Barn Recreation Center, Rooms A and B

When: Tuesday 5/12 5:30 to 7 p.m.

What: Open house: The Naperville Park District invites residents to attend a community open house to discuss future improvements to the southern portion of Knoch Park. Visit

How much: free

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Video: Building Your Trellis

For specific project plans, check out this post on building your very own backyard trellis!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Valley Orchard

Open first of May for asparagus, end of June for red raspberries, first of July for blueberries and thornless blackberries first of August. Call for hours and availability. Apple season usually starts the day after Labor Day with hours of Mon. thru Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Available: Apple season-25 varieties of u-pick apples that you can mix or match for the same price (except Honeycrisp), red and champagne, raspberries, scrumptious cider donuts, apple pie, apple cinammon bread, and 100-percent pure cider. Also honey, jams, jellies, dressings and lots more goodies. We have squash, u-pick pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, straw, corn stalks and mums.

811 East State St.
Cherry Valley, IL 61016

Contact Info:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cauliflower Leek Soup

This is an excellent recipe for a creamy and rich soup that has the added benefit of being low-cal and low-carb!  Leeks have a wonderfully complex flavor and I recommend them in many recipes where you could use onions.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 leeks, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream (optional)

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat, and saute the leeks, cauliflower, and garlic for about 10 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the soup from heat. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or hand mixer. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in the heavy cream, and continue blending until smooth.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Elburn Farmers Market

The Elburn Farmers Market is located at the Lions Club at:

500 Filmore St, Elburn, IL‎
(630) 365-6315‎

Featured Local Farmer:
Farm Direct Black Angus

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Good Harvest Market

The Good Harvest Market is Waukesha County's largest natural food store.  90% of grocery products are organically grown and has a strong 'buy local' policy for all fresh produce. Stop by either of two locations for healthy, organic produce.  Good Harvest also features holistic health and beauty aids, bulk merchandise (great for families) and the Harvest Cafe!

Waukesha Location:
1 1/2 blocks south of I-94 off Exit #293 at Highway T/Grandview.
1850 Meadow Lane, Pewaukee, WI 53072
  • Monday thru Friday 9am - 8pm 
  • Saturday 9am - 6pm 
  • Sunday 10 am - 6 pm

Milwaukee, Third Ward Location:
The corner of St. Paul and Broadway, just south of I-794.
346 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202
  • Monday thru Friday 10am - 8pm 
  • Saturday 9am - 6pm 
  • Sunday 10 am - 6 pm

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Monday, May 4, 2009

DIY: Build a Backyard Trellis

This week's DIY project is to build a trellis. A trellis can function as a unique sunscreen or can be the framework for an outdoor hanging garden. It's a great surface for upside-down tomato plants. You can also create your own grape arbor, or you can plant annuals like morning glories for a sweetly scented getaway!

Here is a link to free project plans from the Southern Pine Council.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Video: Making Your Own Pot Au Feu

For a slightly different (and Frenchier take on the pot of fire).

Part 1:

Part 2:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sosinski's Produce

Offering onions, garlic braids, gourmet shallots, sugar peas, lettuce, beets, beans, summer squash, winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, fresh & dried herbs, leeks, tomatoes, peppers, celery, cucumbers, melons, radishes, fresh flowers, raspberries, black berries, pink gooseberries, currants, jams & jellies, flavored vinegars and more!

Contact Sosinki's for information on their CSA. Also a vendor at the Woodstock Farmers Market.

Len and Jan Sosinski