Sunday, May 31, 2009

baby girl Elberta…

I was in the process of writing a blog post about my urban-suburban garden and went out to take some images of my fledgling plants. My dear sister was visiting at the time and was the first to spy my very first fruit of the tomato vine for this season.

I am proud to introduce the newest member of my urban container veggie garden,
a baby girl tomato...!

Baby "Elberta Girl" is the first visible tomato of my growing season and I am proud to say that she beat out my first tomato of last year by more than a month.
Last year my first tomato was born on the fourth of July.

This is an Heirloom variety called Elberta Girl. I spied “her” picture in my fave book of the season, by Amy Goldman, The Heirloom Tomato From Garden to Table and knew that I had to try to grow some of these beauties myself.

At first sight, I thought this tomato was one of the most beautiful that I had ever seen. As I researched this tomato, I found that it took its name from its resemblance to its namesake, the famous Elberta Peach because of its slightly fuzzy skin.

My Elberta Girl is still just an infant, but when she grows and matures to ripeness, she will have bright red skin with showy pale golden-orange stripes that shines against its silvery-green foliage. I can’t wait to invite her to her first salad bowl.
Please stay tuned to watch Elberta and her other Heirloom tomato siblings grow in my urban-suburban garden…
Grow, baby, grow…!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

in my sisters garden…

I apologize for not be around and posting here on my blog, but sometimes life does not give you the time you need to do as you wish.

I wanted to treat you all to some of the images I took in my sister’s glorious garden.

Not only does my sister have a truly stunning garden, but also has some of the most interesting collection of unusual plants and garden statuary that I have ever seen.

She works very hard in her garden each day and it is progressing beautifully.
She works her magic and adds more of her artistic combinations of perennials, annuals, herbs and veggies into a stunning and colorful pallet of restful perfection.

Wait until you see her will be photo ready soon.

Each photographic foray in to her garden yields many treasured images that I hope to make into a book for her at the end of the gardening season.

I hope that you enjoy these images.
Yes, this is truly a magical place...

Friday, May 8, 2009

a short guide to my favorite Farmers Markets

This is not a complete list of Chicagoland Farmers Markets.
These are just the markets that I frequent that are near where I live and I have listed them by the days of the week that they occur so I don't forget.
Now you won't either...
Here is a linksthat have more Markets listed, perhaps in your area of Illinois:
Illinois Farmers Markets

Hinsdale Farmers Market
19 East Chicago Avenue
June 1 to October 12, 2009
07:00 am - 01:00 pm

Countryside Farmers Market
La Grange, IL
May 11 to October 26, 2009
08:00 am - 02:00 pm

LaGrange Park Farmers Market
439 North LaGrange Road
May 12 to October 27, 2009
08:00 am - 02:00 pm

Lemont Farmers Market
Stephan Street at Canal Street
June 30 to October 27, 2009
08:00 am - 01:00 pm

Museum of Contemporary Art Steeleville Chicago Market
On MCA PlazaChicago Ave. & Mies vanderRohe Way
Downtown Chicago
June 9 to October 27, 2009
09:00 am - 04:00 pm

Federal Plaza Farmers Market
Federal Plaza Adams St. & Dearborn St.
Downtown Chicago
From: May 12, 2009 to Oct 27, 2009
7am to 3pm

Palos Heights Farmers Market
South Harlem Avenue at College Drive
May 6 to October 14, 2009
07:00 am - 01:00 pm

Green City Market
North of LaSalle Street in Lincoln Park
along the path between 1750 N. Clark and Stockton Drive, Chicago
May 6 to October 31, 2009
07:00 am - 01:00 pm

Monee Farmers Market
25510 S Governors Hwy
June 17 to October 14, 2009
02:00 pm - 06:00 pm

Western Springs French Market
Wolf Road and Hillgrove
May 7 to October 29, 2009
2pm to 7pm

LaGrange Park Farmers Market
53 S La Grange Rd
May 14 to October 29, 2009
07:00 am - 01:00 pm

Daley Plaza Farmers Market
At Washington and Dearborn Streets
Downtown Chicago
From: May 14, 2009 to Oct 15, 2009
7am to 3pm

Sears Tower Farmers Market
Sears Tower
233 S Wacker Dr
Downtown Chicago
From: Jun 18, 2009 to Oct 29, 2009
7am to 3pm

Palos Park Woman’s Club Farmers Market
123rd Street and 88th Avenue
July 3 to October 9, 20090
8:00 am - 12:30 pm

Orland Park Farmers Market
14700 S Ravinia Ave
May 29 to October 2, 20090
7:30 am - 01:00 pm

Green City Market
North of LaSalle Street in Lincoln Park along the path between
1750 N. Clark and Stockton Drive, Chicago
May 6 to October 31, 2009
07:00 am - 01:00 pm

North Riverside Farmers Market
2401 S DesPlaines Avenue
June 6 to October 31, 2009
8am to 1pm

Mokena French Market
Wolf Road at Front Street
April 25 to October 31, 2009
08:00 am - 01:00 pm

New Lenox Farmers Market
1 Veterans Pky
May 16 to October 10, 2009
08:00 am - 01:00 pm

Oak Park Farmers Market
NW corner of Lake Street at North Elmwood Avenue
May 23 to October 31, 2009
07:00 am - 01:00 pm

Tinley Park Farmers Market
171st and Oak Park Avenue
June 6 to September 26, 2009
07:00 am - 12:00 pm

Crete European Market
1321 Main Street (Main and Exchange)
May 18 to October 5, 2009
08:00 am - 01:00 pm

Frankfort Country Market
Oak and Kansas Street
10am to 2pm

OPEN Tuesday - Friday, 11 am - 7 pm; Saturday, 11 am - 4 pm

Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand
66 East Randolph Street
on Randolph just east of Wabash

Not exactly a Farmers Market, as it has a permanent storefront.
However, I wanted to include this great market here because the Farmstand’s promise is local, delicious, and edible products, all from within 250 miles of Chicago.

The coolest thing that I bought there last year was Honey made by bees that pollinate flowers on the green roof of Chicago's City Hall. “Rooftop Honey” sells for $2 here at the Farmstand location, Watertower Pumping Station, Chicago Cultural Center, Gallery 37 and Chicago Green City Market. I will be blogging about Chicago’s Bees and “Rooftop Honey” very soon.

Local does not just mean locally grown. In addition to sustainably grown fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs in season (including many organic items). Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand features a broad selection of edibles produced throughout the region. Each day, a wide range of dairy products, condiments, seasonings, preserves, breakfast favorites, baked goods, and other items arrive at their location.
If you are in downtown Chicago, please pay them a visit. (they are only a few blocks from Millennium Park).

Chicago Farm Heirloom Tomato Stand
River North1204 N. Clybourn Ave.
(At Clybourn and West Division across from Seward Park) Chicago, IL 60610
Weekly: Monday-Friday, 3 - 6 pm; Saturday, 10 am - 1 pm
From: Aug 10, 2009 to Oct 31, 2009

Another Farm Market in Chicago that most people don’t know about is the Chicago Farm Heirloom Tomato Stand. If you love tomatoes as much as I do, it is worth a trip here.
I will also be blogging about it here as soon as it opens.
Tomato season cannot come soon enough for me.

So let's hear about your favorite markets...!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

my May markets

It’s May, and this foodie-girl’s fancy turns to Farmers Markets.

I love the bright colors of fresh picked veggies, fruits and flowers; the wonderful rich aromas, the energy of the crowds, the interesting stories of the growers, the camaraderie in knowing we all love and appreciate the work that has brought this beautiful food here, and most of all capturing these images with my humble camera to share with all of you.

As I wrote here last year…
I am not a morning person…
Never have been.
Never. will. be.

But from May to October, there is just one thing that will get my sorry, sleepy bod out of bed…the promise of a visit to one of my many favorite Farmers Markets.

The Farmers Market are starting to open here, one after the other. Beginning to offer early their spring delights.
In an effort to get organized, I began a list of some of my favorite Markets to visit and I wanted to share my efforts with all my blog readers.

This is indeed not a complete list of Illinois Farmers Markets. These are just the markets that I frequent. Here is a link that have more Markets listed, perhaps in your area of Illinois.

Throughout the season until October, I will be featuring my favorite Farmers Markets and local growers as I visit them.

Please feel free to comment and tell me about your favorite Farmers Markets.
Be sure to include the pertinent information, (cross-street location, town, days and times that are open). I would love to hear about your likes and dislikes of your local market and your experiences there.

If you are living in other states and countries other than Illinois, USA, I really want to hear from you, too.
Sharing information about your favorite weekly Markets in the areas that you live, be it London, Paris, Rome, small town or large city, anywhere in the entire world. It would be so wonderful to hear about and will benefit other readers of this humble blog.

Merci beaucoup in advance…!

The post directly following this one will list of my favorite local Farmers Markets near my home here in Illinois.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

sun-filled gluten-free treat

I was first in line at my local Starbucks on a chilly, grey and rainy May morning to snag one of Starbucks new gluten-free Valencia Orange cakes on the day of their official launch in my area. I searched out the spotless pastry case to spy a wicker basket on the top shelf loaded with golden cakes safely wrapped from gluten contaminants.
I bought two cakes…

As the rain became heavier, my companion and I decided to grab some lattes and split one of the cakes I bought to taste test…the other I was saving to photograph in my studio.
The cake looked a bit as if it was out of my office vending machine, but became much more enticing when I unwrapped and plated the delicate looking round.

At first taste, I was impressed.
The cake was light and spongy with orange zest in every bite. Each cake was glazed with what I assumed to be a zingy, but sweet thick orange marmalade and topped with slivered almonds. The combination of the light spongy cake, the sunny sweetness of the glaze and that lovely toothsome CA-RUNCH of the almond slivers made for a great mouth-feel and a true tasting pleasure. This certainly was not like other gluten-free sweets that I have tasted.

This tasty gluten-free cake that will definitely be just an occasional treat for me rather than a regular bite. The delicious but tiny cake weighs in at 290 calories, with16 Grams of fat, quite a bit of Cholesterol at 125 mgs and 32 grams of carbs.

In spite of these negative numbers, it is nice to see that such a large chain offering a choice of a sweet for those of us that cannot ingest gluten. I t is comforting to know that if I want to meet up with my friends or work associates for coffee, a sweet snack and a gab session, I have a choice of something that is safe for me to munch.