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No. 40 Harvest 2018

Our Food, Our Stories, Season by Season


Savor the Possibilities Hemp Farming for Profit The Art and Science of Fermentation

Member of Edible Communities

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A Note from the Editors’

Spaghetti, Kuri, Hubbard, Turban, Delicata, Sugar Pie — these are more unique names for common squash that are frequenting the bins at our local farmers’ markets and neighborhood grocery stores. Harvest colors of orange, beige and evergreen — winter squash, as they are called, come in a seemingly endless array of shapes and sizes. Did you know that squash is technically a fruit? In this issue we celebrate the squash with a description of their color, size and taste of some of the more common varieties. Plus, we include two of our favorite recipes by home cook enthusiast Dana Benigno that will sure to grace your harvest table with flavor. And don’t forget the pumpkin pie — we found a yummy recipe that takes into consideration your holiday eaters with gluten sensitivity. Hemp has been all the rage as of late and for good reason. Introduced in March 2018, The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 is a proposed law to remove hemp from the Schedule 1 controlled substances (defined as cannabis since the 1950s) and making it an ordinary agricultural commodity. Turn to the pages of From the Good Earth, and learn how legalization may help family farmers not only subsidize their land but harvesting a crop that some experts say could become a multi-billion-dollar industry in the U.S. And speaking on farming closer to home, Evanston’s Iroquois Valley Investment Firm, co-founded by local entrepreneur David Miller, is investing capital towards the future of organic farming. In our feature department ChicaGrows, read about organic family farms benefiting from this partnership. Wondering what to do with all of that late season produce such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, carrots, kohlrabi and garlic you see at the market? Get a little taste of how to ferment vegetables with expert Sandor Katz in Edible Health. Here’s to the abundance of food at the markets in all its color and glory as the growing season closes, and as we prepare to nest and nurture at the homestead with more cooking, baking, preserving and soup making. Celebrate the harvest season with your own inherited traditions. Or take some time to create your own.

Edible Chicago Harvest 2018 No. 40 CO-EDITORS Ann Flood Becky Liscum DESIGN DIRECTOR Sweet Pea Media LLC CONTRIBUTORS Dana Benigno, Bambi Edlund, Ann Flood, Sandor Katz, Becky Liscum, Lela Nargi, Ken Roseboro ADVERTISING AND MEDIA SPONSORSHIP INQUIRIES 708-386-6781 FIND US ONLINE PUBLISHER Sweet Pea Media LLC CONTACT US Edible Chicago 805 Lake St., #306 Oak Park, IL 60301 708-386-6781 Edible Chicago® is published seasonally by Sweet Pea Media LLC. We are locally and independently owned and operated and a licensed member of Edible Communities, Inc.

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© 2018 All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be used without written permission by the publisher. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us. Cover Photo by Asya Nurullina Stock images this issue:

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Harvest 2018


LOCAL AND IN SEASON What’s in Season Listing Indoor Farmers Markets


COOKING WITH THE SEASONS Winter Squash with Recipes by Dana Benigno

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT Editors’ Welcome


NOTABLE EDIBLE Support your Farmer: CSA Sign Up is Now

EDIBLE HEALTH The Art and Science of Fermentation Interview with Sandor Katz by Ann Flood


ChicaGROWS Lending a Helping Hand: Increasing Organic Farmland One Investment at a Time by Lela Nargi




FROM THE GOOD EARTH Hemp Potential: A 60-millionacre crop and billion-dollar industry by Ken Roseboro




Pie Chart by Bambi Edlund

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SEASONAL RECIPES Butternut Squash Soup, Blue Cheese and Pumpkin Seeds Delicate Squash Gratin with Fennel and Leek Fermented Carrot Sticks Duck Egg Nog Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie



Vineyard manager Jake Terrell and his dog, Willie.

From our farm to your table. Authentic Sonoma wines, handcrafted from Sonoma County grapes.

©2018 Kobrand Corporation, Purchase, NY


Supporting Your Local Farmers Right Now Community Supported Agriculture


fter this year’s abundant outdoor farmers’ market season has ended in the Chicago area for the season and you find yourself missing the connection with your local farmers, there are still ways to support them now and into next year’s growing season.

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During our long winter months, farmers are actively planning for next spring and raising capital ahead of time through the concept of community-supported agriculture, or CSA subscription programs. Through a CSA you can invest in your local family farmer by buying shares of their harvest. This will entitle you to a box of

seasonal food delivered to your home, business or a pick-up location in your neighborhood weekly or bi-weekly. It is a direct connection between you, your food and your farmer. A commitment of support is often called buying a “half share” or a “full share” for


a growing season, which typically lasts from June through October. A half share can feed one to three people while a full share will need three to five. With a share box of food, CSA shareholders also receive recipes, cooking and storage tips and even opportunities to visit their CSA farm during the growing season. The CSA shareholder usually receives a diverse range of seasonal vegetables and fruits on a weekly basis, but other products are also available for delivery such as dairy, cheese, honey, poultry, meat, eggs, herbs and flowers. Farming methods which involve preparing the soil, planting, growing and harvesting are often organic, biodynamic and sustainable, with little or no herbicides, pesticides, growth hormones or GMO seeds.

Membership sign up for produce and vegetables usually occurs during the non-growing months—December through February. CSAs that offer meat, poultry, eggs and dairy are offered year round, while produce and fruit are seasonal. A CSA commitment is much more than a weekly delivery of food. It’s one of the most beneficial investments you can make for the health of you, your family and our local economy. You are also helping to financially support a local family farm through the partnership. Sign up season is right now. For a comprehensive online listing of Chicagoarea CSA farmers visit: bandoffarmers. org,,

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Hemp Potential:

A 60-million-acre crop and billion-dollar industry by Ken Roseboro


provision in the 2018 Farm Bill that would allow hemp to be grown nationwide has supporters excited about the possibilities of growing and processing the versatile crop

banned for nearly 50 years because of its association with its closely related plant, marijuana. He also sees great potential because hemp can be processed into a multitude of products—from natural supplements and foods to fiber for making everything from clothing to high-tech materials.

With low grain prices and the loss of the soybean exports to China because of a trade war, Iowa’s farmers face dark times. But one Iowa farmer sees a light of hope with a crop that fell out of favor, but may be poised for a big comeback. Ethan Vorhes, a farmer in Charles City, Iowa sees great potential for growing industrial hemp. “It’s a perfect storm for revitalization of not only of Iowa, but America,” says Vorhes, who is director of the Iowa Hemp Association.

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“I think it would be a really good thing if we brought it to Iowa,” says Vorhes who plans to use hemp as feed for his specialty Wagyu beef cows. 

Vorhes refers to language in the 2018 Farm Bill that would allow farmers to grow hemp in the United States after it had been

Hemp acreage increased 163 percent in 2017 Hemp has been grown in the U.S. since the early 1600s when the first European settlers


Uses for hemp fiber seem endless. It is used to make clothing like t-shirts, socks, jeans, sneakers, and hats, as well as wallets, backpacks, American flags, and, of course, rope.

arrived. It was grown to make fiber for rope, fabric, and paper, among other uses. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper. The “Hemp for Victory” campaign during World War II encouraged production of the crop for the war effort. But in 1970, the Controlled Substances Act classified hemp as marijuana making it illegal to grow in the U.S.; this despite the fact that hemp has a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high. Hemp’s comeback began in 2014 when a provision in the 2013 Farm Bill defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana and allowed universities and state agriculture departments to conduct hemp research programs. This allowed licensed farmers to grow hemp. In 2017, more than 25,000 acres of hemp were grown in 19 states, a 163 percent increase over 2016. The number of acres “will be greatly expanded this year,” says Erica McBride, executive director of the National Hemp Association, who adds that 39 states have passed some form of legislation to allow limited hemp production. CBD, food, fiber, and more uses Potential markets for hemp are many. CBD oil is now the biggest market followed by hemp foods, including hemp seed, oil, and protein.

Nutiva is one of the leading hemp food manufacturers in the U.S., and CEO John Roulac has been one of hemp’s leading advocates for nearly 20 years. In 2001, Roulac successfully sued the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to keep hempbased foods legal in the U.S. Nutiva sells more than a dozen hemp-based products including oil, protein, and seeds, and they have the top-selling brand of hemp oil and seeds in the world. Most of the hemp Nutiva uses is grown in Canada, but the company recently launched the first certified organic hempseed product grown in the United States. Colorado-based Stillwater Foods is making hemp-derived cannabinoid food ingredients. Stillwater CEO Justin Singer predicts big things for such ingredients, which can be used in beverages, functional teas, powdered drink mixes, and health snacks. “Cannabinoids will become a new category of functional ingredients like probiotics, Omega-3, and flavonoids,” he says. While CBD oil is now the biggest market for hemp, McBride predicts that will change. “Moving forward I anticipate that the fiber market will eventually exceed all other markets combined,” she says. edible chicago - Harvest 2018 | 9


Uses for hemp fiber seem endless. It is used to make clothing like t-shirts, socks, jeans, sneakers, and hats, as well as wallets, backpacks, American flags, and, of course, rope. Several companies use hemp fiber composites to make car door panels for automakers like BMW. It is also used in construction as a building material and insulation. Hemp fiber can also be transformed into high-performance energy storage devices, according to research by Dr. David Mitlin of Clarkson University in New York. Legalization: a “Game Changing Event” Success of these markets hinges on Congress allowing hemp to be grown nationwide. Last March, McConnell introduced The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances where it is now listed with marijuana. In June, the Senate passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill with McConnell’s hemp legislation. Now the Senate must reconcile its version with the House of Representatives’ version. (This process was underway at the time of publishing this article.) Hemp supporters are confident that Congress will legalize hemp. “There is strong bipartisan support and very little opposition in the House,” says Eric Steenstsra, president of Vote Hemp. “There are not too many people in the political world that are really opposed to it, ”Lucas says. “Hemp seems to be something to bring people together.” Once hemp is legalized, some supporters see hemp growing into a major crop and industry.

“Once we get federally backed crop insurance there’s no reason this shouldn’t and won’t be on par with both corn and soybeans and grown on 60 million acres a year,” Rosen says. McBride sees hemp becoming a multibillion-dollar industry in the U.S. “When it is said that hemp can be used to create over 25,000 different products that is not an exaggeration. Once the federal law changes to allow full commercialization there will be large investments into the infrastructure required to build the industry.” Singer says legalization of hemp will be a “game changing event.” “We need to remove the red tape and let farmers plant the seed,” Roulac says.

Reprinted with permission by Ken Roseboro from The Organic & Non-GMO Report, September 2018. Stock photos this article: Editors’ Note With the recent legalization of hemp farming in the Midwest, the central US is poised to be one of the leading growers of Hemp. According to the Hemp Biz Journal, US hemp sales reached over $593 million dollars in 2015, $688 million dollars in 2016, and are projected to reach $2 billion dollars in 2020. Madison, Wisconsin will host the 2nd Annual Central US Hemp Growers Conference & Expo on February 28-March 1, 2019. There will be policymakers, industry leaders, growers, buyers, educators, entrepreneurs and medical experts in attendance. For more information, visit or call 888-273-4533.

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Hemp Is an Eco-Friendly Crop Contrary to what many people think, hemp isn’t simply the cast-off portion of psychoactive cannabis plants. There are many types of cannabis plants, and hemp is simply a variety of non-psychoactive cannabis. While hemp and psychoactive marijuana are technically born from the same species, they’re differentiated by their chemical makeup (hemp contains less than 1% THC), uses and growing methods. In addition to being valuable for many industries, hemp is also an incredibly eco-friendly crop that benefits the land and soil of the farmers who grow it. As hemp matures, it consumes large amounts of CO2, cleanses the soil of toxins, and puts down roots that help prevent soil erosion and loss of topsoil. Additionally, hemp needs less water than more traditional crops, such as soybeans and corn, and requires no pesticides to flourish. Because of these traits, hemp is even being investigated as a crop that could potentially be used to help restore the shrinking Everglades by leaching agricultural runoff from the ground and stabilizing soil. Source:

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NOTABLE INDOOR FARMERS’ MARKETS Lincoln Park: Green City Market; Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 2430 N. Canon Dr., Saturdays November 3-April 27; 8AM1PM. Visit website for exact dates; Link Card and SNAP benefits accepted. Chicago and Suburban: Faith in Place Winter Market; Various city and suburban locations on Saturday or Sunday from November 4-April 6. Market days, hours and locations vary Visit: for more information. Link card and SNAP benefits accepted. Logan Square: Logan Square Farmers Market; Emporium Arcade Bar 2363 N. Milwaukee Ave., Sundays November 4- March 31; 10AM3PM. Link card and snap benefits accepted.

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Hyde Park: 61st Street Market; Experimental Station at 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., Saturdays November 3 through April 13; 9AM-2PM. Check website for exact dates; experimentalstation. org. Link card and Senior Famers Market Coupons accepted. Evanston: Indoor Winter Farmers’ Market; Ecology Center at the Ladd Arboretum, 2014 N. McCormick Blvd., Saturdays December 2-April 28; 8AM-12PM. No market on December 23 and 30. Contact Matt Poole for more information: mpoole@

Cooking with the Seasons

Cooking with the Seasons W

inter squash varieties are grown through the height of summer and are abundant at farmers markets and fresh market stores in autumn and winter. They are easily grown, relatively inexpensive to buy and can be stored in a cool, dry place which is why they are referred to as winter squash. Botanically speaking, squash are considered fruits because of their seeds, but most of us identify squash as vegetables. The orange-fleshed squash are rich in beta-carotene and all squash varieties contain a healthy dose of fiber, iron and vitamins A and C. They are all versatile in the kitchen and can be baked, cooked, glazed or boiled and presented as main or side dishes, often hollowed out to hold soup, rice, meat and vegetable mix dishes.

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Cooking with the Seasons

Common Types


of Squash 3 1 1. ACORN (until recently) was the most popular and widely known squash. They are typically dark green with deep grooves that run the length of the squash. Acorns have a moist, sweet, tender flesh. They are good for roasting, baking, steaming, mashing, sautéing or stuffing. They are most commonly baked, but can be hollowed out and stuffed with rice or vegetable mixtures. Or they can simply be steamed with butter and brown sugar. Acorns are an excellent source of fiber, niacin and thiamine, also C, A, and B. 2. BUTTERNUT is the sweetest of the winter squashes. Its flesh is thick and moist and has very few seeds. It is large and elongated in shape with a bulbous end and a smooth cream-colored skin. It is also a versatile squash and is delicious when roasted or sautéed. It mashes easily and purees smoothly without fibrous strands, making it perfect for soups. It can also be roasted, mashed or used in casseroles, breads and muffins. Butternuts are a good source of fiber, magnesium and potassium, also vitamins A, C, and E. 3. DELICATA squash is small, oblong, and has bright yellow, green and orange stripes. The peel is on the thin side 14 | edible chicago - Harvest 2018

making it edible, but it does not have a long shelf life and has to be checked for bruises, cuts, and soft spots before buying. The flesh is sweet and has a nutty flavor similar to corn. It is particularly delicious roasted with butter, stuffed or grilled in wedges. Also known as the sweet potato squash, it is a long yellow or creme-colored squash with distinctive green stripes, thin skinned and is commonly baked, microwaved, sautéed or steamed. It can be hollowed out and stuffed with meat or vegetable dishes. This squash is a good source of fiber, potassium and magnesium, also vitamins C and B. 4. HUBBARD is one of the largest of the winter squash. Only the large field pumpkins are bigger. Due to their size, they are often sold peeled and pre-cut into wedges. Hubbard squash are teardrop in shape with flesh that sweetens as they are stored. They can be stored up to five months. They are best roasted and mashed with plenty of butter and spices like cumin, rosemary, or black pepper.


5. KABOCHA are large, round and squat. They are dark green and mottled with sweet and tender flesh that has a slightly nutty flavor. The peel is really a thick rind making them difficult to cut, so roasting is recommended prior to slicing. The firm, dense flesh holds its shape when cooked in liquids, which when cut into chunks, makes it perfect in steamed dishes. Also known as Japanese pumpkin, it is similar in taste and texture to roasted chestnuts. Kabocha can also be mixed into stew, as a creamy base or thickener for any soup or just simply roasted with a dusting of cinnamon. Also can used in baked goods such as biscuits and breads. They are an excellent source of beta-carotene, protein, vitamins A, C, B and iron.

Cooking with the Seasons




6 6. PUMPKINS come in many sizes and varieties. Field pumpkins are typically very large and are used for jack-o’-lanterns, but they are not good to eat. Small pie pumpkins are delicious when sweetened for pie or roasted or pureed into soups. Look for pumpkins labeled sweet or sugar. Close in flavor to the Acorn squash, these sweet mini-pumpkins can be hollowed out, baked and used as tureens for soup or stuffed with savory custards. Cooked down and mashed, it can be used in pies, gnocchi, chili and curries. Cubed and cooked, it makes an excellent side dish. They are relatively easy to grow in a backyard garden even after the last frost has occurred. This pumpkin is an excellent source of beta-carotene, protein, fiber, calcium, potassium and iron, also a good source of vitamins A and C. 7. SPAGHETTI squash is perfect for roasting. Once cooked, the flesh pulls apart into thick, slightly crisp, spaghetti-like strands. It is delicious sautéed in butter and herbs with plenty of salt. Oblong in size, with its long angel hair pasta-like strands, it can actually be a substitute for spaghetti, served with a hearty ragu sauce. They are relatively easy to grow in a backyard garden, and the seeds

can be roasted and have a taste similar to pumpkin seeds. This squash contains nutrients such as folic acid, potassium, vitamin A and beta-carotene. 8. RED KURI squash has nothing to do with seasoning curry in our spice drawer. This squash is a large, red- orange, flat, smoothskinned squash with nutty sweet flesh. It is excellent roasted, sautéed flesh of the squash or fried. Its large seed cavity makes it an ideal choice as a serving bowl for the mashed or sauted flesh of the squash. 9. TURBAN squash looks just like the men’s head turban from which it gets its name. The squash is wrapped in layers of bright green, orange and white. Typically found gracing the center of tables, the turban squash has a creamy flesh that is slightly meally. It incorporates well with other kinds of squash or root vegetables. Mostly orange with dramatic stripes, thick skinned and substantial, it has a distinct nutty, rich flavor. Cooking methods include roasting, mashing and boiling. They can be cut in half, hollowed out for a meat or vegetable stuffing. Excellent source of vitamin A and good source of vitamin C, calcium, fiber and potassium.


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Cooking with the Seasons


Savor the Possibilities by Dana Benigno


y first experience with squash left me flat. Like many of you, the first time I tried squash it was roasted and mashed with lots of butter, cream, brown sugar and, most likely, topped off with marshmallows. I must have been nine or ten, as I am certain I would never have tried any sort of bright orange mashed dish prior to that age unless I was forced or bribed with a hot fudge sundae for dessert. So, I moved the entire squash group to my “do not like” list. My opinion changed the first time I tasted butternut squash soup garnished with crumbled blue cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds. It was delicious! The slight sweetness contrasted with the salty

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garnishes. Once I realized there was more than one way to prepare squash, I tried it diced in chili and a variety of soups. My favorite way, however, was to enjoy it in a gratin with leeks, fennel and lots of parmesan and fontina cheese. This dish is delicious served hot and bubbling right out of the oven, but I have been known to eat cold forkfuls of it directly out of the pan the next morning for breakfast. (As a true ominvore, I do not put foods in categories such as breakfast, lunch or dinner. I simply eat whatever I want, no matter the time of day!) Squash is considered a fruit and there are two types; summer and winter. Summer squash is harvested early in the summer when the fruit is young and tender. These

varieties include zuchinni, patty pan and yellow crooked neck squash. Winter squash is harvested in late summer and early fall after the fruit is mature. Winter squash have thick skins that protect the rich, sweet flesh of the fruit, and so are perfect for storing for long periods – three months or more. Winter squash is available in many varieties and all of them are perfect for roasting, grilling, and use in soups and stews. With the myriad of squash available this time of year, shop the farmers markets and try something new. If you are unsure how to prepare the squash, talk to the farmer who grew it. It’s a safe bet farmers grow what they love and they will have lots of suggestions on how to prepare it.

Cooking with the Seasons


» 1 1⁄2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 2” pieces » 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some to drizzle 1 large sweet onion, chopped 3 celery ribs, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced » 1 tablespoon curry powder 6 cups chicken broth 2 sprigs fresh oregano or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried 2 sprigs fresh sage or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried Salt and fresh ground pepper Dash of cayenne pepper

Blue Cheese Cream:

» 3⁄4 cup crumbled blue cheese 1 cup cream


» 1⁄4 cup toasted pumpkins seeds, optional

» Place the squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Cover lightly with aluminum foil and roast in a 350°F oven until soft, about 45–60 minutes. » Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the curry and dried herbs. (If using fresh herbs, add with the chicken broth.) Stir until fragrant about 1 minute. Add the squash, broth, and fresh herbs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered for about 20 minutes. Let soup cool. » While the soup cools, heat the cream over medium heat. When hot, stir in the blue cheese and whisk until smooth and creamy. Let cool to room temperature and place in a plastic squirt bottle. Set aside until ready to use. » In a blender or with a handheld blender, (remove the sprigs of fresh herbs before pureeing; dried herbs do not need to be removed) puree the soup until it’s smooth and creamy. Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper, and dash of cayenne pepper. » When ready to serve, reheat the soup and ladle into bowls. Garnish with a swirl of the blue cheese cream and chives.

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DELICATA SQUASH GRATIN WITH FENNEL, LEEK, AND GARLIC BREADCRUMBS This recipe works with any good baking squash.

Serves 7 as a side dish

» 3 medium delicata squash, halved and seeded Olive oil » 1 head of fennel » 2 leeks, lower third of the bulb washed and thinly sliced » 3 tablespoons melted butter (1 for sautéing, 2 for the bread crumbs) » 2 teaspoons kosher salt » 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper » 2 slices of French bread, crusts included » 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped » 1 clove of garlic » 1 1⁄2 cups fontina cheese, shredded » 3⁄4 cup parmesan cheese » 1 cup heavy cream » Dash of cayenne pepper » 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg

» Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the squash generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until the flesh is tender but not completely soft. Let cool. Peel and slice into 1⁄4 inch slices. » Slice the white part of the fennel in half and remove the hard core. Slice bulb into thin slices. Reserve the green tops and fronds for salads or garnish. » In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the leeks and fennel and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper. » Place the slices of bread into a food processor with the parsley and clove of garlic. Pulse to combine and make bread crumbs. Pour 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the crumbs and pulse briefly to incorporate the butter. Save for topping. » Brush an 8 x 10 inch baking dish or small oval casserole with olive oil or melted butter. Place a layer of the squash slices in the bottom of the pan. Top with some of the fennel and leek mixture followed by shredded fontina cheese and a few tablespoons of the parmesan cheese. Continuing layering until you have used all of the squash, reserving some of the fontina cheese for garnish. » Stir the seasonings into the cream and pour over the squash. Top with the remaining fontina cheese and the garlic bread crumbs. » Bake in a 350°F oven until bubbly and the bread crumbs are golden brown. 18 | edible chicago - Harvest 2018

CHEFS OFF THE CLOCK How do some of Chicago’s most elite chefs unwind when they clock out of the kitchen? WTTW digital premiers Chefs off the Clock, an exclusive web series featuring 10 notable chefs and the passions that feed their soul. From cycling to baseball, woodworking to adventure travel, explore the stories of Chefs off the Clock at

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Edible Health

The Art and Science of Food Fermentation F By Ann Flood

ermentation is not just about sour pickles or your grandmother’s famous sauerkraut. Just about any food can be fermented and adding them to your diet is a way to increase your nutrient and probiotics intake, create a healthier digestive tract and strengthen your immune system.

Sandor Ellix Katz, aka “Sandorkraut,” believes that such foods not only improve our health but enrich our cultural heritage. He’s been fermenting food for over 25 years. He’s the author of several books, including the James Beard Award–winning

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“The Art of Fermentation” and also maintains an educational website at wildfermentation. com. He is a self-taught, an experimentalist and is regarded as one of the nation’s leading gurus on and advocates of food fermentation.

Edible Health

Katz tirelessly travels the globe to lecture, interview and conduct workshops on the art and science of food fermenting. Born and raised a New Yorker, he currently resides in rural Tennessee and lives in a solar-powered cabin, grows his own food and ferments year round. Based on his busy schedule I was grateful to schedule a few moments with Sandor for questions. AF: When I hear the word “fermentation,” kimchi and kombucha come to mind. But there’s so much more to it. What is fermentation, exactly—the basics? SK: For some people beer is what comes to mind, or bread, or cheese. In the context of foods and beverages, fermentation describes the transformative action of microorganisms. (Biologists understand the word somewhat differently.) Culinary traditions from every part of the world incorporate fermentation, because it is an unstoppable force due to the inevitable presence of microorganisms on the plants and animal products that make up our food. People everywhere learned how to use this force to stabilize and preserve food, to

make it more digestible and delicious, to remove toxicity, and to produce alcohol. Fermentation is ancient, quite nearly universal, and safe; it does not require knowledge of microbiology, or laboratory conditions. Anyone can ferment simply at home, using equipment they already have. AF: At this time of year, Chicago markets have a surplus harvest—carrots, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears. Is fermenting these foods an option, or which foods ferment best, in your opinion? SK: I always recommend fermenting vegetables as the place to start. There’s no need for starter cultures—the bacteria you need is on the vegetables. All you need is a jar, salt and veggies, about 2 pounds for a quart jar. Chop or grate veggies; lightly salt and season as desired; squeeze or pound veggies to bruise them, break down cell walls and release juices; pack juicy veggies into the jar, making sure they are submerged; ferment a few days then start tasting. They are so safe that the process of fermenting actually makes them safer

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Edible Health

Fermented foods are very varied! And the answer is always: it depends. Upon temperature, humidity, exposure to oxygen, microbial environment and more.

than raw vegetables. They are probiotic, improve digestion and have been credited with wildly varied benefits, from preventing cancer to reducing social anxiety. AF: How long does fermented food keep and how do you store it? SK: Fermented foods are very varied! And the answer is always: it depends. Upon temperature, humidity, exposure to oxygen, microbial environment and more. An acidic food like sauerkraut or kamahi, in a mostly full vessel, is stable for weeks or months at ambient temperatures, most of a year (or longer) at earth temperature and indefinitely at refrigerator temperature. AF: We also write about hard cider in this issue, which was the beverage of choice for

settlers two centuries ago, and since there was no refrigeration, fermentation was everything. Wines, beers, ciders, mead are all products of fermentation. SK: Fermentation is the only way that alcohol is ever made. Alcohol has been an important aspect of how humans have made use of valuable food resources. Fermented alcoholic beverages range in strength from very mildly alcoholic to about 20% alcohol; distillation or freezing is required to further concentrate alcohol. Fermented alcoholic beverages have in many different contexts been relied upon as important sources of nutrients as well as safe drinking water.   AF: I hear a lot these days about the good gut bacteria being important for digestion. Is fermented food good for your gut?

SK: Certain ferments contain live bacterial cultures. When we eat these raw, these bacteria enter our intestines where they can help improve digestion and nutrient assimilation, and interact with our gut bacteria, stimulating improved immune responses and helping the gut micro-biota to expand biodiversity. AF: Your favorite fermented food by season? SK: Winter — radish kruat. I make it in the late fall and eat it all winter. Spring— yogurt, savory sauces with wild onions, ramps and other early spring wild edibles and garden herbs. Summer—savory vegetable and cheese sourdough pancakes. Fall—cider and Perry which makes fermented pear juice.

Editors’ note: Learn more about Sandor Katz, workshops and resources about fermentation at:

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Edible Health

2-3 large organic carrots 1 inch piece of fresh organic ginger, sliced and cut into slivers

1 tablespoon Himalayan salt 2 cups non-chlorinated water

PREP GINGER in the bottom of a wide mouth pint (500 ml) jar, or jar size of your choosing.

to get the brine between all the packed carrots and add more brine, if necessary. Screw on lid, snugly. Label with the date.

PREP CARROTS. Gently scrub clean. Then, slice carrots lengthwise to just the right length (one inch shorter than the height of your jar) and snugly pack into the jar on top of your flavoring item leaving one inch of head space. If you prefer, you could also cut the carrots crosswise into disks. MAKE BRINE. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 2 cups of water. Stir with a fork until somewhat dissolved. If there’s some undissolved salt, don’t worry, it will dissolve during fermentation. POUR BRINE over carrots letting it percolate down. Stop when brine is 1 inch from the top of the jar. Jostle the jar

FERMENT. Place in a shallow bowl on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight to ferment until active bubbling stops, usually 7-10 days depending upon the temperature of your room Feel free to taste them. The carrots are ready when bubbles have stopped rising to the surface, there is a slightly sour aroma and the carrots taste tangy. STORE. Add the fermentation length to your label and put in the refrigerator. Your fermented carrots may be eaten immediately, but will increase in flavor with time and will keep for up to a year, though they lose color as the months go on. Recipe by Holly Howe

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Lending a Helping Hand

How Evanston’s Iroquois Valley Investment Firm is Increasing Organic Farmland by Lela Nargi


sk a farmer what it’s like to start a business—let alone stay afloat— and you’ll receive a rapid-fire list of challenges, small and large, as long as your arm. Weather anomalies, pests, price fluctuations, securing loans, identifying a market and supply chain, finding labor and equipment, and developing an understanding of crop rotations and cover crops. But paramount among all of these is the matter of land access. “If farming is your business, the very first resource you have to secure is the land,” says Doug Crabtree, co-owner of Vilicus Farms, a 7,400-acre organic grain, pulse, and oilseed operation in Eastern Montana’s Northern Great Plains. “If you don’t have that, nothing else matters.” Doug and his wife, Anna Jones-Crabtree, started their farm in 2009 on 1,280 acres—320 acres of which they bought

24 | edible chicago - Harvest 2018

outright with savings from their day jobs. They leased the rest, partly from Iroquois Valley Farms, a 12-year old investment firm with a mission to increase the percentage of organic crop- and rangeland in the U.S. Despite the continual, rapid growth of the $49 billion U.S. organic market, organic acreage makes up less than 1 percent of our farmland. But expanding it requires making secure land tenure for farmers of paramount importance. Iroquois Valley, an Evanston, Illinois-based certified B Corp, has made that central to its mission, and it hopes to scale up quickly. The firm currently leases land to 53 farms, but the firm’s co-founder, David Miller, says it plans to ramp up to 500 in as little as five years, with funding from “thousands, if not tens of thousands, of investors.” According to Miller, Iroquois Valley has a backlog of applications from farmers

across the country seeking to partner with them, an indication that secure leases from like-minded landlords are in high demand. In many regions of the U.S. the cost of farmland is exorbitant. Land in Montana is relatively cheap, but Crabtree says the dryness of the soil—it rains an average of 11 inches a year in his area— means that farmers there require about 10 times as much land to be viable as in the Northeast, which means expansion is expensive. In both cases—starting out or enlarging their operations—farmers often negotiate leases with neighbors or other landowners for a year or two at a time. But that’s not usually a path to ownership or stability—especially for organic farmers, who are required to keep their land free of restricted chemicals for three years before they can earn U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certification.


Investing in the Next Generation of Farmers Miller, a former vice president for First Chicago Bank, founded Iroquois Valley in 2007, after starting his own small, diversified farm. So far, the firm has invested $50 million, with dual goals to repair the soil on American farmland while profiting from the burgeoning organic market. In addition to organic grains and legumes, the farms it works with also produce pastured dairy, maple syrup, and forage crops like alfalfa for animal feed. Unlike other farmland investment groups, which make money directly off land value appreciation and return capital in five to seven years, Iroquois Valley’s investors must commit money to a fund that has no plans to sell the land; redemption rights allow investors to sell back to the company in seven years. Most Iroquois Valley leases also include a revenue-sharing clause for investors, according to John Steven Bianucci, director of impact for the firm. “We never guaranteed any distribution,” Miller told the New York Times in 2017. “We said, ‘Over time, you can expect your investment to increase as the farmers restore the soil and increase the value.’” The company’s 2017 fact sheet notes that original investors have earned a 12 percent initial rate of return.

Miller. The firm’s model, he asserts, “allows farmers to grow through the beginning years”—so much so that over a quarter of them are repeat customers, approaching Iroquois Valley with new lease or mortgage requests.

Farmers approach Iroquois Valley having identified the land they need to get started or to scale up. The firm buys it, then leases it back to them for five years, after which the lease renews every two years until either the firm or the farmer wants to make a change. This gives farmers who need to convert to organic a low fixed rent until they’re making more lucrative sales. The firm also makes it somewhat easier for farmers to buy the land directly, when the lease is up. Additionally, two years ago, it started offering mortgages with five-to-10year payback plans, with no prepayment penalties, which means “a farmer can pay [it] off at any time,” says Teresa Opheim, Iroquois Valley’s senior vice president for farmer relations. “If you’re trying to change agriculture, how can farmers scale their business, convert dead soil to a living, regenerative model, and at the same time [quickly] pay back the amortization on loans?” says

The opportunity to work with Iroquois Valley seems to appeal to younger farmers. According to the firm, 72 percent of its farmers are Millennials—like Ben and Kristen Beichler of Creambrook Farm in Middlebrook, Virginia, and Dan and Erin Richards of Taconic Ridge Farm in upstate New York. The private firm currently relies on capital from 375 equity and debt investors, who have average investments of between $86,000 and $100,000; it also received a $945,000 grant from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service that allowed it to initiate some additional financial supports for farmers. To significantly increase its farmland investments, though, the company is going to have to find other, bigger, sources of capital. To that end, later this year Iroquois Valley plans to do what Miller calls “connect the dots between farmers and Millennial [investors]” and seek out young, nonaccredited investors who are committed to moving agriculture away from “dead-soil monoculture.”

edible chicago - Harvest 2018 | 25

ChicaGROWS Ben and Kirsten Beichler. Photo courtesy of Creambrook Farm.

Doug and Anna Jones-Crabtree. Photo courtesy of Vicious Farms.

Will it be enough to achieve the company’s lofty expansion goals? “There’s a growing number of investors out there who want to support organic, and want to give their money to Dave and have him do good work with it,” says Robert Karp, strategic advisor at the national member organization Biodynamic Association, and a farmland investor in his own right. “But I don’t know if there are enough of them out there to get him to the scale he hopes.” Scaling Up: The Future of Organic Farming?

Haight points out that nationally, with over 30 percent of farmland owned by farmers over the age of 65, millions of acres will soon be changing hands. “But if the price of land is two or three times what you can make farming it”—which is a concern for fruit and vegetable operations especially—“you can’t make the numbers work.” He says partnerships need to be forged between investors and land conversation trusts, which can lead to pricelowering conservation easements that “drive down costs and enable farmers to buy [land] further down the road,” he says.

Perhaps a more important question: Will that kind of scaling up be enough to make a meaningful difference in the long-term tenancy and earning potential of organic farmers? David Haight, vice president for programs for farmer advocacy nonprofit American Farmland Trust, is tempered in his assessment. “Insuring a stronger future for farming is not incumbent on any single thing, although farmland investors that are genuine in their cause, and accept reasonable returns, can be a valuable tool,” he says.

Iroquois Valley works with land trusts in New York, Vermont, and Maine and with the USDA’s Farm Services Agency, which helps beginning farmers access low interest rates. Moving forward, “We’re going to have to have a lot more resources, and many more significant partnerships, says Opheim. She also maintains that potential long-term success necessitates the company investing in diverse operations—both in terms of geography and of types of food production— as climate change renders some regions and

crops un-farmable. As for the Jones-Crabtrees, they’re hoping they’ll soon be able to purchase a portion of the land they’re leasing from Iroquois Valley. Anna still works part-time off the farm, but Doug has been able to devote himself to it full-time, which has helped the couple expand, try out some unusual crops—such as beluga lentils—and seek out beneficial relationships with buyers. Every year, Vilicus Farms edges closer to becoming a full-time business for both of them. What comes next is addressing another monolithic barrier to success in Montana: finding more dedicated organic farmers to come and join them in working the soil. To that end, the Jones-Crabtrees are on the lookout for another young farming couple that might want to purchase some of the acreage they currently lease from Iroquois Valley. “Know anyone who wants to buy some land?” asks Crabtree.

Reprinted with permission by Civil Eats: 26 | edible chicago - Harvest 2018

Liquid Assets

Toast the Cool Weather Season Get Your Nog On The origin of eggnog is thought to be from medieval times with the ingredients adapting over centuries. According to food television personality Alton Brown, “Most culinary anthropologists believe modern eggnog descended from a thick, boozy, concoction called posset that was composed of hot milk and hooch enhanced with whatever spice the lord of the castle had on hand.” This recipe calls for duck eggs, making you the lord or lady of the estate with the richest nog in the land. “Although bourbon is the modern nog spirit, rum was the liquor of choice in colonial days,” says Brown. These days, the choice is yours, rum, brandy or bourbon—or no hooch at all. Hot or cold, raise a cup to the history of eggnog.

Duck Eggnog Yields 2 ½ cups 1 cup of cream 1 – 1 ½ cups milk Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg or whole nutmeg shavings equivalent 3 medium sized duck eggs, separated ⅓ cup organic sugar 12 ounces – or to taste rum, brandy or bourbon 1. In a sauce pan combine the cream, 1 cup of the milk, salt and vanilla, bring it to a bare simmer. Add nutmeg and stir often. 2. In a medium bowl, combine the yolks and the sugar and whisk to combine. Whisking the yolks continuously, slowly ladle in a ½ cup the hot milk and cream mixture. Whisk vigorously to avoid little bits of cooked egg. This will temper the eggs. Ladle in another ½ cup, still whisking vigorously. Do this until all the milk and yolk mixture are well combine. 3. Meanwhile, set up a bowl and strainer big enough to contain the yolk-cream mixture and place bowl into a larger bowl filled with a 50/50 mix of ice and water.  4. Return the yolk-cream mixture back to the sauce pan and stir it with a flat-edged spoon or heat-proof spatula over medium heat until the mixture thickens, a few minutes.  It should coat the back of a spoon (you can take it as high as 165° if you want to measure). Pour it through the strainer into the bowl set in ice.  Add the remaining milk and stir to combine and fully cool the mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. To complete: Combine 4 ounces of eggnog with 2 ounces of rum, brandy or bourbon; add more nutmeg to taste, then add ice and more gratings of nutmeg. Adapted from Chef Michael Ruhlman.

Editors’ note: Ask for duck eggs at your favorite indoor farmers’ market, CSA farm, or Neighborhood Co-op.

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EDIBLE ENTERTAINING Happy, Healthy Holidays from our Kitchen to Yours.

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luten sensitivity not only changes what we eat, but how we celebrate. Gluten-free holidays certainly take planning and coordination to ensure that you or your loved ones can be safe while eating and enjoy the experience with some of your regular traditions. This pie recipe is absolutely delicious. In fact, you’d never know it was gluten-free!


8 servings Ingredients » 1/2 package Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix prepared and chilled » 15 oz Pumpkin Puree » 12 oz Evaporated Milk » 2 Eggs » 2 oz Butter melted and cooled

» 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract » 3/4 cup Brown Sugar packed » 1 tsp ground Cinnamon » 1 tsp Ground Ginger » 1/2 tsp ground allspice » 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

Instructions » Remove dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature until malleable. Roll chilled dough into a 12inch circle between two pieces of heavy-duty plastic wrap. Remove top layer of plastic; invert and center dough over a 9-inch nonstick pie pan. Press crust into place, then remove remaining plastic wrap. Trim edges and flute. Freeze for 15 minutes. » Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare the filling. » Combine pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract, sugar and spice. Whisk well until fully incorporated. » Remove pie shell from freezer and fill with prepared pie filling. » Bake at 350°F until set in the center with barely any wobble when gently shook, about 50 – 60 minutes. Let cool fully before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill. More recipes at:

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Edible ink

CRUST Crisp and flaky

CONSTRUCTION Just a bottom crust— or bottom and top

FILLING Either sweet (fruit) or savory (meat, fish, mushrooms)—a deeper dish means more filling-to-crust ratio

SERVE Straight from the dish

CRUST Usually a bit thicker and a little more robust

FILLING Fruit is common but there are vegetable, olive, and potato galettes

FAT Lard is classic but many pie bakers use a mix of lard, or shortening and butter, for flaky texture and delicious flavor

DISH Sloped sides, round

CONSTRUCTION Just a bottom crust, folded in at the edges FAT Butter is traditional

DISH No dish; bake this freeform pastry on a cookie sheet.

SERVE Slide onto a plate or stand WHAT ELSE? The Italian crostata is basically the same thing

FILLING Sweet or savory (tomato, caramelized onion, cheese). A shallower dish means less filling/crust

DISH Straight sides, often with a scalloped edge and removable bottom. Round, square, or rectangular.

CONSTRUCTION Bottom crust only CRUST Firm and crumbly, leaning toward a shortbread FAT Butter is traditional

SERVE Unmold to a pretty plate or cake stand

WHAT ELSE? Often with a scoop of ice cream

WHAT ELSE? “Tart” means someone of loose morals, but it was once a compliment for young women who dressed up with lots of ribbons—as pretty as jam tarts.

Bambi Edlund

Loyal to local for 10 years.

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Edible Chicago Harvest 2018  

Highlight features include: Squash types and cool weather recipes, What's in Season Listing with Notable Indoor Farmers Markets, HEMP: An ag...

Edible Chicago Harvest 2018  

Highlight features include: Squash types and cool weather recipes, What's in Season Listing with Notable Indoor Farmers Markets, HEMP: An ag...