local

Buying Local: Week 12

It was not a CSA week this week and I eat fruit pretty fast, so I had to run over to the farmers market to get some supplemental fruits (and a giant sweet potato).

peachers

What We Bought:

  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • Greenridge Farm lunch meat from Elk Grove Village, IL
  • Turano bread from Berwyn, IL
  • S. Rosen French rolls from Chicago, IL
  • Peaches from St. Joseph, MI
  • Blueberries from Marengo, IL
  • Sweet potato from Marengo, IL

CSA4 week 2

What We Learned:

  • I tried the beet smoothie K made last week, unfortunately, I think I used a little too much beet and not enough berries…
  • We got almost got through the rest of our CSA box this week!

 

beet smoothie

So beety.

 

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Buying Local: Week 10

I am back in the workplace now and no longer working from home, so it has been a bit of an adjustment. Unfortunately, I can’t just pop over to Green City Market on a Wednesday unless I go at 7 AM before work.

My biggest challenge right now is incorporating all our produce into my lunches.

CSA3 week 2

What is left from last Saturday’s CSA box

What We Bought:

  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • S. Rosen bread from Chicago, IL
  • To be honest, I don’t even remember what else (It’s my second week at a new job, give me a break!)

What We Learned:

  • Cherries are not the easiest snack to eat at work, but I do keep all the stems and pits in my glass container to bring home and compost. I’ve been eating them everyday.
  • Did not eat those beets fast enough, into the compost they went

Buying Local: Week 8

Just as we started figuring out how to deal with all the leafy greens like spinach and kale (ex: smoothies), their growing season has started to wind down.

We are looking forward to our next CSA box which should include some summer crops of raspberries and carrots.

2nd CSA share week 2

We gobbled up the broccoli, spring onions, spinach, and kale from last week’s box

What We Bought:

  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • Turano bread from Berwyn, IL
  • Greenridge Farm lunchmeat from Elk Grove Village, IL
  • Greenridge Farm chicken sausage from Elk Grove Village, IL
  • Did do some random shopping at Trader Joes
  • Non-local flour and sugar

What We Learned:

  • The quality of your blender makes a huge difference when making smoothies.
  • Spinach season does not last forever. Thank goodness!
  • We still don’t know what to do with radishes…

Buying Local: Week 7 & 2nd CSA Share

I can’t believe it has been seven weeks since we have started this local journey.

Our refrigerator is full of so much green and our cabinets are looking more full of less processed products.

 

CSA week2

This week’s CSA box (photo by K since I was in Denver)

 

berries

On Wednesday I brought my CSA box back to the farmers market and picked up some raspberries. Instead of taking the carton the raspberries came in, I brought my own produce bag and plopped them in my berries colander when I got home.

What We Bought (Almost All from CSA box):

  • Head lettuce
  • Avon Spinach
  • Red frill mustard
  • Arugula
  • Radishes
  • Strawberries
  • English Peas
  • Greenhouse Cherry tomatoes
  • Yellow Spring onions
  • Raspberries from Mick Klug Farm in St. Joseph, MI

What We Learned:

  • We still need to up our arsenal of recipes for veggie meals, often we are just cutting up a bunch of greens and tossing it in a pasta or salad
  • Smoothies aren’t so bad after all
  • K really did not like having to shell those English Peas
  • Still not sure what to do with radishes

Buying Local: Week 6

We still have so much produce from our CSA share last week. Thank goodness we did not get the full share where we would pick up every week.

Since we still had so much to work through, we did not visit the farmers market this past weekend. We needed to concentrate on what we had left!

 

first CSA share week 2

We ate everything with an “X” through it. The others we are still working on! 

 

A variety of recipes were tried this week. We had some pasta with sauteed spinach and spring onions one day.  One night was veggie pizza night and I am usually against having vegetables on my pizza, but it was delicious! We used the broccoli raab and asparagus for that. Kale and quinoa were also on the menu one night.

In order to work through some of the spinach, I forced myself to start making some smoothies as well.

blender

What We Bought:

  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • Turano bread from Berwyn, IL
  • Greenridge Farm lunchmeat from Elk Grove Village, IL
  • A couple other things that don’t make it under the local label

What We Learned:

  • Shaved asparagus pizza is amazing! Check out the recipe.
  • Our blender is really bad (we have no idea where or who it came from)

Buying Local: Week 5 & 1st CSA Share

We had been waiting in anticipation for our first CSA share and oh boy it was a lot of greens! Our box was jam packed with goodies and I am excited to eat the produce that I know and the new ones as well.

first CSA share

What We Bought (all from CSA box):

  • Baby leaf Salonova Lettuce
  • Avon Spinach
  • Red rover radishes
  • Red spring onions
  • Russet potatoes
  • Rapini (Broccoli Raab)
  • Asparagus
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Earliglow Strawberries (plus an extra box because I love strawberries)

What We Learned:

  • I have gotten a little caught up in trying to get everything local that I really forget how I originally laid this challenge out. We were going to focus on produce, meat, dairy, and eggs, and I basically forgot that. Back to focusing on those main pieces from now on.
  • Is local olive oil even possible?
  • CSA shares are awesome
  • We are so glad we got the half CSA share, where we get a box every other week, instead of every week. We would need a bigger refrigerator!
  • We can bring back our CSA box to the farmers market for them to reuse #score
  • We are going to have to start making smoothies
  • Rapini tastes like leafy broccoli and we are in love!

Passing on A Traditional Florist

I like flowers.

I really do, but spending a fortune on plants that are flown in from far away and most likely going to be discarded the next day is just not my cup of tea.

So I made the easy decision that a traditional florist is not the route I will be going for my wedding.

Luckily we have a family friend who started Avium Flowers, providing fresh-cut flowers grown right here in Chicago in a sustainable and organic manner.

avium flowers

Right now I am working with them on the flowers and colors that I like. When the time comes, they can then order the appropriate seeds and specifically keep me in mind for the next growing season.

My wedding flowers are legitimately being grown just for me, right here in Chicago.

Seriously, how cool is that?

See some of their amazing work below.

All of the 💗🌸💋🎈💖 for @curtismcassell today. You're fabulous!!!

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We flexed our design muscles this week! 💪🏼 Congrats Julia and Ryan ❤️🎉 #aviumweddings #farmerflorist

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Remembering these bundles of joy on this brrr day 🌬 #farmerflorist #slowflowers #dahlia #heirloommums #aviumweddings

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Buying Local: Week 4

Once again we were out of town and missed Saturday’s market, but this should be the last time we miss it for a bit, plus our CSA share starts on Saturday!

We got back from our Memorial Day weekend trip on Monday night, so I didn’t get to go shopping until Tuesday. I stopped at Local Foods and then picked up some strawberries from the farmers market on Wednesday. Those aren’t pictured because I immediately cut them up for breakfast.

local food 4

What We Bought:

What We Learned:

  • Buying less processed milk lasts longer. I bought milk last Monday and its sell by date is not until June 6th.
  • Real strawberries are much tinier than your typical strawberries on steroids that you get at a standard grocery store, but they taste SO MUCH BETTER!
  • I have to do a lot of separate trips for our food instead of doing just one run every week. Sometimes Local Foods does not have what I need and Mariano’s does, or I would rather get produce at the farmers market.

Buying Local: Week 2

K was gone over the weekend, and I spent some time at home with my mom for Mother’s Day, so I missed out on Saturday’s farmers market.

Luckily for us, Green City Market also runs on Wednesdays and since I work from home, I can easily pick some produce up during the week.

green-city-logo

Fortunately, we also have other options besides the farmers market. There is Local Foods, which is not far away, and our nearby Mariano’s does carry numerous local options.

local foods logo

For the past week so far, we have basically been cleaning out the fridge and our cabinets, eating whatever random stuff we have left. I have basically been eating steel cut oats every single day because that is all we have left. I am not complaining about that though.

Since K is going to be gone again over the weekend and I will be pretty busy, we did not need to load up on groceries this week.

I accompanied my cousin and her toddler to Mariano’s and picked up a few things:

milk

Oberweis milk in our super empty fridge

After that, I skipped over to Local Foods to get the rest of this week’s necessities:

  • Veggies
  • Hot dog buns
  • A container of walnuts
  • Tortilla chips to compliment the rest of the salsa we have left

We are going to be gone again over Memorial Day weekend, so hopefully, this won’t be so sporadic once we are actually home for a weekend!

Can’t Wait for Our CSA Share

Can we just put a CSA share on our wedding registry? Is that not normal?

Either way, I am beyond excited to purchase our first CSA share for this summer.

For those of you that don’t know, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is:

…a food subscription service that allows you to purchase locally and seasonally as part of a farm share. It is a great way to support local farmers. –FamilyFarmed.org

Basically each week (or every other week depending on your share), you pick up your CSA box (or you can have it delivered) that is filled with in-season produce from a local farm.

Whatever you get in your box depends on what is ripe and ready on the farm.

We already know that I am a nerd for maps, but I am also a nerd for Excel spreadsheets. So much so that I set up a spreadsheet to help decide which CSA we should pick for this summer.

csa

The factors that are going to go into our decision include:

  • Price
  • Time frame (how many weeks?)
  • Add-ons (can we add fruit or eggs?)
  • Pick up location (can we walk there?)

While there are many CSA options throughout the city, we are limiting our scope to ones that we can pick up from the nearby Green City Market.

green-city-logo

A CSA may seem expensive up front, but when you spread it out over the course of 22 weeks, it is really not that bad. Plus, you know exactly where your food is coming from and create a connection with that farmer.

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CSA Resources: