Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Downtown Farmstand!

Yesterday, the City of Chicago’s local food shop, the Downtown Farmstand turned 1 year old and what a party they threw! We had cupcakes, Flora Lazar’s delectable confections and free apples for all.

The Downtown Farmstand’s promise is to promote local, delicious, and edible products, all from within 250 miles of Chicago. For the Farmstand, local isn’t just locally grown. In addition to sustainably grown, seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand features a broad selection of edibles produced throughout the region, including Eli’s Cheesecake, Morton Salt and the offerings of Rick Bayless’s Frontera Foods.


The Farmstand, run by my friend Nina Winston, is responsible for introducing many locally produced foodstuffs to Chicagoans. Each time I stop in, I find something new and interesting to buy. Yesterday’s discovery was Mustard Girl’s American Mustards, which began after Mustard Girl, Jennifer Connor, heard her local Wisconsin preacher tell his congregation that with faith as small as a mustard seed, you could move mountains. Mustard Girl produces several varieties including an American Dijon.

The Farmstand also hosts organizations seeking to broaden the accessibility of locally-grown sustainable foods, including my own Purple Asparagus. I’m at the Farmstand every first Thursday of the month representing the organization and showing shoppers how easy and fun it is to cook family foods fresh from the farmers market. Yesterday, following the apple theme, I made an Apple-Cherry Slaw, whose dressing highlighted Mustard Girl’s American Dijon.


Apple-Cherry Slaw
Serves 4

This salad is good on its own or paired with smoked turkey in a sandwich.

1 large tart green apple, halved and cored
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped

Grate the green apple on a hand grater over a medium bowl. Whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the apple. Add the spring onion and tart cherries, stir to combine.

Kids Cooking Tips
This recipe was written for kids and so they can do all of the steps. I keep the skin on the apple to protect little fingers. Once you're done grating the flesh of the apple, discard the skin.

Apple and cherries from Seedling
Mustard from Mustard Girl
Onion from Genesis Growers

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