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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thanks to Everyone who attended our first networking and tasting event at Old Town Social!

A few kinks to work out. But in terms of it being our first, it was a success. Our next one is planned for March at a different restaurant. Stay tuned!

Also- Just announced:

at UIC March 11-13 2010

Local Food
Farmers - Artisans - Foodies - Investors -
Industry Trade Professionals -
Food Policy Advocates -
Local Food System Stakeholders!

Thursday March 11: Financing Farm to Fork
The Financing Farm to Fork Conference supports the local food movement by encouraging investment in farm and food production, processing, and distribution businesses.
Opening keynote speaker Woody Tasch, author of Slow Money
sponsored by University of Chicago's Booth School of Business

The Chicago Food Policy Summit brings together community representatives, food businesses, farmers, city leaders, chefs, NGO's, and other food advocates to discuss and propose policies that will improve the quality of and access to fresh food in Chicago. Learn more
The FamilyFarmed EXPO is the leading Midwest trade show connecting farmers and food producers with trade buyers.
Keynote speaker Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power

Friday Evening March 12: Localicious Party
A Locavore's Delight! You won't want to miss the fun at this year's Localicious Party. It will feature scrumptious local food and libations, great networking, an opportunity to connect with leaders in our community.

Saturday March 13: Local Food Festival
Rick Bayless leads our lineup of all star celebrity chefs, speakers, authors, food artisans and, of course, family farmers! Spend the day enjoying a wide selection of local food, gifts and great information to help you eat healthy year-round, while supporting local farms and businesses.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Join Us November 17th for our FIRST Food & Networking Event at Old Town Social!

Tasting Menu by Chef Jared Van Camp:
Butternut Squash Sour Shots
Roasted Beet Bruschetta w/ Goat Feta
Alaska Wild Salt Cod Fritters and Fried Bread & Butter Pickles, Spicy Aioli
Spicy Ducks Wings w/ Raita
Deviled Farm Eggs
House-made Salumi and Midwestern Cheese

Mini Pies- Sugarkist
Pumpkin Truffles- Rich Chocolates & Candies
Mini Ice Cream Cones- Nice Cream
2009 Nice Cream Fall Flavors:
Salted Chocolate Ice Cream with Marcona Almonds
Banana Bread Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Chips
Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Cookies
Sweet Potato Ice Cream with Toasted Marshmallows & Pecans

Chicago Green City Market- Mark Psilos, Farm to Chef Forager
Half Acre

Tuesday November 17th
6:30-10 p.m.
Old Town Social
455 North Ave. Chicago (at Cleveland)
Tickets $30/ $35 at door (includes tax & gratuity)
Purchase at:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

We're Back.

Hello! As you can see we took a little break from the blog to figure a few things out. Now were back with some exciting news:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Taste of the Nation Chicago

I do 90% of my grocery shopping at the Green City Market. I enjoy walking around tasting every blueberry before I purchase the sweetest. I know that in the grand scheme of things, I’m lucky in my eating habits: I have no other mouths to feed, I can afford to pay market prices, and my schedule allows time to cook instead of relying on whatever’s near and quick. Many aren't so fortunate: 1 in 4 families in the Chicago area live below the poverty line, and more than 12 millions kids in the US have limited access to the nutritious foods that are so important for healthy development.

Last Thursday evening I attended Taste of the Nation- Share Our Strength's traveling fundraiser which brings together top culinary talent at over 45 events across the US and Canada. Chicago’s event, held at the Ravenswood Billboard Factory was chaired by Pastry Chef Mindy Segal and benefited the Chicago Greater Food Depository, Illinois Hunger Coalition, and Near North Health Service Corporation.

The event spanned a food pyramid of three floors. The first floor was an expanse of food & booze. The second- Cheese & Desserts (aka Sugar Coma Floor), and the third, well, more fine fine drinks. What a world.

The highlights:

Bistro Campagne’s duck confit with Klug Farms peach compote, Hot Chocolate’s braised goat & corn chowder, and Sola's miso cod with spicy greens, radishes, and a crispy slice of lotus root.

As far as drink options go, Adam Segar’s raspberry negroni was right up my alley. (And I can’t wait to head to Nacional 27 to sample the ground cherry cocktail he described.) And I always enjoy the Goose Island beer and culinary pairings.

Hoosier Mama had cherry pie on a stick (who knew?!) and there were the most euphoric little chocolate desserts from Sofitel. Della Gosset of Charlie Trotter's nougat ice cream with honey comb, raspberries, and fresh sage- was an experience onto itself.

An unbelievable experience, though its a bit strange to focus on hunger through indulgence. But the reality is that the culinary world is really the driving force of change - especially here in the the chicago area. I volunteer with Common Threads, a non-profit founded by Art Smith focusing on teaching lower income kids about food and cooking. These kind of programs help to bridge the gap between a $100 a head indulgent benefit dinner and working with organizations who make change happen where the rubber meets the road.

By Kyle

Friday, August 14, 2009

Upcoming Local Food Events

Slow Food Eat-In at Daley Plaza:
Wednesday, August 26th

The Eat-In, on Wed. August 26th at Daley Plaza from 11AM to 1PM, is a free, fun, and inspiring rally in Daley Plaza in Chicago. Join us in supporting the change toward a more effective reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. Bring you own lunch or visit one of our participating providers to pick up your Slow lunch and join the table with: Chicago’s own Bill Kurtis and Commissioner Mary Ellen Caron, city and state legislators, local farmers & purveyors, and partner organizations.

Contact your legislator & sign the petition.


Purple Asparagus' Annual Benefit:
Sunday, August 30th

Slow Food Chicago's First Annual Pig Extravaganza:
Sunday, August 30th

Slow Food Chicago and Goose Island Brewery are teaming up for our first Pig Extravaganza, a fundraiser for Slow Food Chicago.

Join the party on Sunday, August 30th from 3-7pm.

Five celebrity chefs including Mike Sheerin and Paul Kahan of Blackbird and Publican will prepare delicious local pork and local produce. A vegetarian entrée by Uncommon Ground will be made with harvest from their organic rooftop garden. Goose Island craft beer and craft sodas are included. There will be tours of the brewery and music too!

Goose Island Brewery is located at 1800 W Fulton . Tickets are $55 per person and are available at

Join the volunteer committee. You'll have a lot of fun and receive free admission!!!

Contact us at

Friday, September 4th

7-10 pm

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

2430 N Cannon Dr

Chicago, Illinois 60614

For $25, you'll indulge in some truly extraordinary and some never-before-tasted ice cream creations. It promises to be a Labor Day weekend that's sure to take the cake.

• Grand tasting of amazing and rare ice creams

• Live demonstrations & workshops

• The Great Chicago Brain Freeze - a delicious chef competition where you get the chance to vote for the winners and taste the results.

Grab a spoon and bring your bowl mate!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Outstanding in the Field- City Farm 2009


With the amazing stretch of summer we’ve been having lately, I was excited to have a wonderfully enticing reason to spend the evening outside eating amazing food. There were so many compelling pieces to last week’s Outstanding in the Field dinner.


First, the location: City Farm, situated in rapidly changing Cabrini Green, is just under an acre of urban agricultural wonderfulness. The view of the Chicago skyline through the 1000 shoulder high tomato plants (of 30 heirloom varieties) is an interesting juxtaposition – with bunnies scattering about and an apiary in the middle. City Farmers Tim and Joe led us around the farm telling stories of bee gatherings in front of the nearby Starbucks as well as fun facts like the average distance our food travels--1500 miles.


The hosts: Jim Denevan, founder, and Katie Oursler, Event Coordinator, have been traveling across the country hosting Outstanding in the Field since 2004. The dinners showcase farmers and their wares paired with awesome culinary talent – giving equal billing to the farmer as the chef, an attempt to elevate the farmer as a cultural figure.

The food: Hot Chocolate’s Mindy Segal and her chef Mark Steuer slaved away to bring the 170+ diners a culinary delight of dishes all served family style and placed on the trademark long white clothed table – quite elegant in fact. Everything was mouthwateringly good. The end of the night found me pretending to be part of the waitstaff so I could swipe another table’s remaining pecan pie.

And of course, the ingredients: Mindy made an early morning run to Green City Market while vendors packed the trunk of her taxi overflowing with farm fresh ingredients. Loading the Blue Marble heavy cream into the back (I moonlight as a Blue Marble sales gal), I enjoyed the full circle experience of providing ingredients in the morning and enjoying them that evening.


The drink: As always, there were options apleanty. Death’s Door Spirits were pouring two cocktails – a vodka cobbler with local blueberries and a whiskey smash. Three Floyds was on hand with their brewmaster Barnaby. Piece poured the first beer of the meal, and finally, wine from Black Star Farms, a northern Michigan producer (We hear this is the next big wine region- a weekend road trip is already in the works).


If you can afford the ticket ($200 a pop), I recommend checking out one of the OITF dinners. At a minimum, visit the website ( and fantasize about being Jim, life on the road, eating all those extraordinary meals.

By Kyle

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Last Week's Farm Photos

This week I visited some farms to familiarize myself with their land and their stories.

There is one key thing that I have learned from many farm visits over the years:
Everyone does it differently!
5 different growers in SW michigan- 5 different approaches.

I love hearing every grower's stories and approaches- and most importantly witnessing every one of these farmers passion for providing the best product to their customers.

As consumers, we are always a customer of a farm- whether directly or indirectly! Know the Story!
Currently we are working with businesses in the city to create these farm stories- and to build our site.
Please contact us at for information on how to participate.

We can hardly wait for what's in store!

by Kate

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Taste of the Nation Chicago

Buy your ticket to the hottest food and wine event of 2009 and help fight childhood hunger.

Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation® is the nation's premier culinary benefit, featuring top chefs and mixologists -- all of whom are coming together to donate their time, talent and passion to end childhood hunger in America.

Please join host and 2009 Taste of the Nation Chicago Chair Chef Mindy Segal (HotChocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar) for the premiere culinary tasting event in the city. The evening will feature over 25 of Chicago's best chefs, mixologists (led by Bridget Albert), Craft Beers, entertainment and much more.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 
The Ravenswood Billboard Factory
4025 North Ravenswood Avenue
Chicago, IL
6:00 - 11 PM

Oh, This is going to be real good! Happy Bellies all around! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Green City Market CHEF'S BBQ 2009


I awoke Thursday feeling the excitement of Christmas morning. But this grown up version was in anticipation of tasting the creations of over sixty Chicago area chefs as well as numerous beer, wine and spirit distilleries all gathered for Green City Market’s annual barbeque – all in only two hours (and all for $60 I might add)!

In preparation, myself and hundreds of others arrived early gain the advantage of walking into the BBQ at 6pm on the dot. And despite an early onslaught of rain, the weather did clear up which made visiting tables and chatting with the 2500+ other guests a decidedly enjoyable Chicago summer evening.

The evening was truly one of indulgence – from food to alcohol and conversational opportunities, there is no possible way to experience all the BBQ has to offer. But from my perspective, all in attendance made a valiant effort.

With no map to go by, I walked in and was happy to stumble upon Naha’s braised elk with salad, kohlrabi, candied onions, peaches and tarragon dish. From there I tried the wonderful offerings at Prairie Grass including not only a grilled mushroom crostini with goat cheese, but a drink of muddled peaches, local honey, mint and north shore vodka. At this point, with two plates and two drinks in my hand, my stomach was already cautioning me to slow down, but my mind said “go go go!”. I tried some dishes that made my pallet say wow like the Korean BBQ sandwich with Kimchee from Urban Belly, the Seedlings hard cider sorbet and grilled rabbit sausage with fennel relish from Crofton on Wells, the goat sausage with apricot butter from North Pond (it is a BBQ afterall), and the blueberry ice cream soda from Ritz Carlton. At an event where room in your stomach is at a premium, I also made some choices I afterward regretted (Mado’s beef tongue didn’t do much for my taste buds although kudos for the ingredient choice!) I’m so sad about everything I didn’t try (Vie, I didn’t know you were there until too late!) But I left that evening with too much of everything in my stomach so this event goer deems the GCM BBQ a huge success.

My advice for next year:
Buy your ticket early, map out your plan of attack before those gates open, don’t eat for a day or two before the event, and tell work not to expect you in the office the next day!

By Kyle Schott


Chicago Green City Market

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fresh Screening July 30th!!!

FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer, entrepreneur and charmer, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.

The film is great and be sure to thank Matt & McCall for making the screenings in Chicago possible!


Complimentary beer will be provided!
Doors open at 7pm, film starts at 7:30.
$10 donation suggested to help cover the cost of the venue and film license fee.

RSVP via email: as seating is limited

Location & Directions:

EP Theater

1820 s. Halsted

EP is accessible via the #8 Halsted bus, the Halsted Metra stop, or 90/94. Enter the theater through the back door, opposite the Halsted facade.

The link to the press release with all the details:

Fresh Website:

By Stephanie

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sustainable Ag- What about it?

Last night at a BBQ a couple folks asked about sustainable agriculture and where to find more information. Great Question.
Our favorite online go-to resource is :
"Sustainable agriculture involves food production methods that are healthy, do not harm the environment, respect workers, are humane to animals, provide fair wages to farmers, and support farming communities. But rather than focus on the problems, Sustainable Table promotes the positive shift toward local, small-scale sustainable farming."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

International CHERRY PIT SPIT!

I do something a little different every 4th. When I found out about the annual International Cherry Pit Spitting Contest held at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, MI- I knew it was the perfect adventure. So I packed up the car and headed down and around the lake.
But no 4th is complete without a small town parade. So it was just my luck upon riding into town that I discovered I was just in time to catch the slice of Americana I was looking for: Perfectly detailed floats carrying teenage pageant queens and farmers rolling bright green antique John Deere tractors down Main Street, U.S.A.

After the show, I was again on my way to Tree-Mendus Orchards- and arrived to catch the Women's and Men's Championship Rounds. This was the real deal- some Serious pit spittin' like I had never seen before! I ate a cherry brat and contemplated a cherry waffle "boat" while thoroughly entertained by the face and body gestures- and impressed by the distances the pits were projected.
After the spittin' ceased, and the Champions prized, I scoped out the grounds and snapped some photos. (Actually only a tiny fraction of it because it really is "Tree-Mendus"- including a store, picnic areas, goats, and pie cherry pitting facility.) I met family members Cindy & Olivia who took me for a horseback ride and practiced some pit spittin'. Later that evening I had a chance to meet members of the Teichman family- including founders Liz and Herb. They gave a little background about the farm and stated that one of their visions over 30 years ago was to provide a country haven for city dwellers- towering blocks of concrete in exchange for infiinite rows of trees dripping with fruit.

Its the perfect one-day getaway- solo or for a big ol' group.
For more info about Visiting and the Pit Spittin Contest:


Highlights from the rest of the weekend include:

Froehlich's, Three Oaks, MI
Skip's Farmers Market, New Buffalo, MI (Sat & Sun from 9-2)
Round Barn Winery, Baroda, MI

By Kate

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Thats right- Now you can rent you very own Certified Organic Apple Tree at Earth First Farms! Its so easy- and a fantastic deal.

Tom Rosenfield tells us how it works:

"For $50 you get the full harvest from a single tree of your choosing. You choose the variety (Paula Red, Macintosh, Empire, Jonathon, Red Delicious, Gold Delicious, Rome and Ida Red), and whether you want to pay us to pick your apples this fall and deliver them to a drop point in Chicago($60). Then, when we approach harvest, we will coordinate with you to join you with your apples. A typical tree yields 80 - 120 pounds of apples!"

This calls for summing up some family and friends having your very own little harvest party- making a day of it. OR plan on picking during EF's Annual Harvest Party- which is usually the first Saturday in October.

Times running out (one week!)- Its quite a commitment... But we're in! These apples are the BEST!


Earth First is about 2 hours from Chicago in Berrien Center, MI

Friday, July 3, 2009

Muddle Your Way Through the 4th- Strawberry-Basil Style...

Representing Slow Food Chicago last month, Mixologist, Adam Seeger & Suburban Homesteader, Amy Cox gave a demo at the Green City Market that just about blew my notion of a summer cocktail out of the water:
Muddled Fresh Strawberries and Basil, San Pelligrino, Apple Cider & a Splash of Balsamic Vinegar! No alcohol for the demo because it was at the market (...unless you had your flask on hand.)
I went straight home and made one or two more-- with whiskey. (Rum or Whiskey are perfect!)

For Adam Seeger's Recipe visit the Chicago Slow Food website (It differs a bit from the one at the demo.)

Happy 4th & Enjoy!!

By Kate

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Heritage Prairie Market's Farm Dinner

Visiting Heritage Prairie's (HPM) farm stand at the Green City Market, one is certain that there must be some sort of magical land behind it. There is an army of glowing glass honey bears, unique sweet and savory tarts & other kitchen creations, a spread of perfect mini greens and organic vegetables, and hand outs promoting kids camps, workshops, and farm dinners.
HPM farm founders Bron and Bob and daughters Margaret and Grace are fun to talk with- especially when it comes to hearing about all the exciting endeavors taking place on the farm.
The best part about hearing about the farm: It's an invitation.
So last Thursday we headed out for the first family style farm dinner of the season.
The entire evening felt like a mini summer vacation. We arrived early via train from Chicago on a perfectly hot sunny evening. We poked our heads in the buzzing kitchens and said hello to Portia, Pat, Alex, & Co while marveling over their creations. Then we took an insightful farm tour with Bob, talked to the goats, shopped the market, and socialized while snacking on hors d'oeurves and sipping strawberry cocktails.
We sat down to the colossal dinner table speckled with fresh bread & cheddar straws, strawberry-basil jam, honey butter, and a variety of irresistible pickles. When the salads arrived the sun was still high. We ate and ate- Orzo with feta and mint, rosemary grilled chicken & braised greens, roasted root vegetables... The perfect summer meal progressed as did the summer sun- until our mixed berry pie and ice cream were twilight.
Back at the train station we laid under the stars, listened to the crickets, and marveled over the parade of dishes, deciding which one was our favorite:

Stephanie's: Orzo, Feta, & Mint salad.

Kate's: Pickles, irresistible.
Upcoming HPM Thursday night Farm Dinners:
July 23, Bastille Day Farm Dinner
August 20, Mid-Summer's Night Dream
September 24, Mexican Fiesta on the Farm
October 22, Oktoberfest Farm Dinner

HPM farm is about 2 miles from the La Fox station on Elburn Metra line. Meet up with a ride or take your bike!

Dinners Fill Up- Make your reservations soon!:

By Kate & Stephanie

Duke's Alehouse & Kitchen, Crystal Lake, IL

On my way to Lake Geneva, WI via Metra train to Harvard, IL Saturday- I ended up with an hour layover in Crystal Lake.
Across the street from the train station I found the perfect interlude:
Duke's Alehouse & Kitchen.
Wonderful organic and local farm menu and selection of booze.
I opted for a for a Scrumpy's Hard Cider from Flushing, Michigan and tempting as the menu items looked, I saved an appetite in favor of dinner at my final destination.
Chatting it up with restaurant manager, Aaron Andrews, I learned a bit about the restaurant's commitment to using fresh and local ingredients- and the growers they work with.
I'll definitely return soon- Prepared to eat well!
You never know what kind of magic is around the corner...

For more info:

By Kate

Friday, June 26, 2009

Still Looking for a CSA?

Visit to view their new 2009 Chicagoland CSA guide:

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs offer an opportunity for farmers and consumers to truly connect. CSA farms are usually small enterprises, often family farms, growing food sustainably and committed to fresh, high-quality products. Consumers purchase a share of the farm’s crop at the beginning of the season. The farmer then delivers periodic (usually weekly) boxes or “shares” containing the best of what the growing season has to offer. Many CSA farms offer opportunities to visit the farm, further enhancing your connection to your food. Here are some CSA programs accessible to Chicagoland residents.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Hello Friends,

It is our pleasure to introduce Chicago’s premier local food website,—an exciting new web space that connects businesses and consumers that are interested in supporting a local food economy. While us gals are diligently chipping away at the projects leading up to our launch, we’ve decided to begin posts to keep you in the know about what’s going on with the local food scene in and around our beautiful city. We encourage your feedback and look forward to you all visiting our site real soon!


Kate Gross,
Founder & Photographer

Stephanie Lu Jokich,
Director of Sales and Marketing

Kyle Schott,

Frontera Foundation Fiesta Benefit------------- Sunday June 14, 2009

Standing in the middle of Topolobampo, tables cleared, I clutched my notebook and braced myself as “Get ready. They’re coming!” was called across the floors of Rick Bayless’s restaurants. And come they did. To taste the farm fresh produce, eggs, meat and more brought by farmers who drove in from across the Midwest to tell their stories and hand over their wares to the skilled hands of Bayless’s chefs and sous chefs. The gathering was the sixth annual benefit for the Frontera Farmer Foundation, a nonprofit that provides grants to small family farms serving the Chicago area.

For $45, guests received a veritable cacophony of foodie delights. Over fifteen tables of sustainably raised, expertly prepared, diverse food options – from coriander cured salmon to a Mediterranean wheat berry salad and goat cheese stuffed tamales. I couldn’t eat enough of the crisp meringues with lavender cream, strawberries and mint. And to be able to ingest one after the other while getting to know Jeremy McWilliams, a seventeen-year-old who started Little Farm on the Prairie in 2003 (I’ll confirm your math – he was 11!), and supplied the eggs for the dish, made those meringues taste even crispier. McWilliams was the recipient of one of over forty Frontera Farmer Foundation grants given out over its seven year history. This grant allowed him to buy an egg washer, thus increasing efficiency and growing his business, which grossed $45k last year. P.S. He’s in high school.

I also met Terry and his wife who own a cattle farm called Raising Acres which is transitioning to grass fed cows. They were attending on Sunday to represent Stewards of the Land, a group of which they are members, based in Fairbury, IL. Stewards of the Land is made up of families committed to sustainable farming and high quality products. Most of their members are families with children and thus they aim to foster an environment and an economy where those children can have the possibility of staying “on the family farm”. The group sells not only to award winning restaurants in Chicago but also to local Fairbury grocery stores.

I didn’t have a single food experience that didn’t leave me both satiated and inspired. Other standouts included the green garlic soup with scapes from City Farm, goat cheese stuffed tamales from Prairie Fruits farm and the bacon studded white corn polenta with agave syrup from Spence Farms. While eating my third polenta cake, I learned about Will’s business tapping maple syrup. Another high school student (although not the norm, I found the high number of young farm owners in the room surprising), Will was attending with his family who follow generations of farmers in their trade. Will, like Jeremy, impressed me with his entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and sense of familial pride. Will was taught the syruping technique by his grandfather, who was featured in a 1952 newspaper article which Spence Farms had copies of on hand.

Having spent the previous morning at the Green City Market (GCM), there were similarities between buying from the farmers and chatting with them while you ate their food. I heard quite a bit more about GCM during a chef demo Rick Bayless and his test kitchen director Deb gave where they made a wilted spinach salad with an amazing Mexican chorizo dressing. During his cooking, Bayless spoke of the origins of the Frontera Farmer Foundation – where early in the restaurant’s days a number of farmers the restaurant worked with were on the verge of bankruptcy when often they only needed one piece of equipment to keep their business afloat. So the restaurants started working out a deal where they would provide a loan or purchase a piece of equipment and the farm would repay the loan in-kind. Encouraged by these experiences, the Bayless’ and their staff wanted to formalize the process of helping to promote and preserve farm communities and support keeping farmers on their land so they could do the work they wanted to do. To date, Frontera Farmer Foundation has provided almost $600,000 in capital development grants to encourage thriving farm communities that supply Frontera, Topolobampo and others. Grants are available to all farmers, not just those who supply Bayless. Grants are reviewed annually by three individuals who make up the Grant Making Committee. Selected recipients are awarded the funds at the beginning of each year, at the start of the growing season to help create an impact for that year.

Bayless shared a story about a recent day in the restaurant when the staff decided to play a game. Looking around at the ingredients in their kitchen, they counted those for which they could associate a name or a face. Impressively, 85% of the products fit into this category. Supporting local, sustainable family farmers helps us all - from an ecological, economic and gastronomical perspective. But the essence was captured by Rick who, scraping the chorizo dressing onto the spinach, noted, “you can’t have great restaurants without great agriculture.” And if I didn’t believe it before, I think that spinach salad would have helped to change my mind.

By Kyle Schott, Photos by Kate Gross

For more information visit:

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The Dishes & Dirt blog explores some of what Chicago has to offer when it comes to eating delicious sustainable food and supporting our local food economy.