The Good Food movement has gained major ground in recent years, driven by fast-rising consumer demand for better and healthier products. One tangible proof of that is in the growing community of investors who are helping Good Food companies start up and grow. One such company is Chicago’s Spiral Sun Ventures, whose tag line is “Investing In Healthy.” Spiral Sun works mainly with small, early-stage companies. The firm also is a friend of FamilyFarmed, and they exhibited at our 2017 Good Food EXPO. More than that, there are Spiral Sun clients who also are FamilyFarmed Good Food Accelerator Fellows or regular exhibitors at our Good Food Expo.
FamilyFarmed is getting close to announcing the roster of competitively selected Fellows who will participate (from November to April) in the fourth cohort of its Good Food Accelerator. So as a warmup, we’re recalling the nine great business from the third cohort that graduated last spring.
So much amazing food and drink. That’s the simplest way to describe the 2017 Green City Market Chef BBQ, the annual fundraiser for Chicago’s premier farmers market, which brought together a world-class lineup of the city’s farm to table restaurants, along with many of the city’s leading craft breweries and distilleries. It might be indulgent if the only purpose of this event was a ginormous outdoor feast. But the money raised by Green City Market at the event goes toward its social mission programs, which include double bucks for shoppers using SNAP/LINK food assistance dollars, a satellite market in the underserved Bronzeville community every Wednesday through the growing season, and a broadening palette of food education programs.
If the mezcal tasting event hosted Wednesday (June 7) by Rick and Deann Bayless proved anything, it is that their Frontera Farmer Foundation and FamilyFarmed love to party around Good Food and artisan beverages. The party — at the Frontera group’s Cruz Blanca on Restaurant Row in Chicago’s West Loop — was a sequel to the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration, held April 30 at The Art Institute of Chicago. That fundraiser produced (at latest tally) more than $140,000 in proceeds to be split evenly by Family Farmed and Frontera Farmer Foundation, to advance their efforts to help farmers and businesses build a better food system.
Chef Abe Conlon has Portuguese blood lines, grew up in a working-class city (Lowell, Massachusetts) with a large Asian population, apprenticed under skilled chefs and attended the Culinary Institute of America. So there might be some destiny in the fact that he and business partner Adrienne Lo have built a thriving success at Fat Rice, the restaurant in Chicago’s largely working-class Logan Square neighborhood that introduced Macanese cuisine to Chicago and — through their cookbook The Adventures of Fat Rice — to most of the rest of America. They will participate in the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration, a joint fundraiser for Chef Rick Bayless‘ Frontera Farmer Foundation and FamilyFarmed, which will be held at The Art Institute of Chicago on Sunday, April 30.
Though hard cider still makes up a relatively small percentage of the overall U.S. adult beverage market, it has for several years been one of its fastest-growing sectors. And while FamilyFarmed regards craft cider as part of the Good Food movement, it was gratifying to see — while making the tasting rounds at Chicago’s Cider Summit — that more and more producers are wearing their local and sustainable values on their sleeves.
Farmhouse Chicago, located at the west end of downtown, is a genuine farm to table restaurant that sources most of its ingredients from the states that border on Lake Michigan: Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Since its opening five yeas ago, Farmhouse Chicago also has been a friend of Family Farmed. So it is no coincidence that an event scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 3 — at which Farmhouse will introduce its five new proprietary hard apple ciders — is also a fundraiser for our nonprofit, which will receive 100 percent of the proceeds from the tickets sold.
Cleetus Friedman, the executive chef of Chicago’s Caffè Baci restaurants, began his food journey busing tables in his native Baltimore about 30 years ago, when he was in his teens. Yet the road leading to his place at the cutting edge of the local and sustainable food movement had some twists and turns.
The Mayan Café presents traditional cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula that since 2007 has delighted diners (and reviewers) in the restaurant row in Louisville’s East Market District, a.k.a. NuLu. And they have done so in part by going all in on sourcing ingredients as locally as possible, a decision that made them a farm-to-table front-runner in Kentucky’s most populous city. Good Food on Every Table is pleased to present a q-and-a with Shadle and Ucan as our first out-of-Chicago article in our “Farm to Table: Keeping It Real” series.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program has released $44 million in available funding this year, and applications must be postmarked by July 1. This is the right time for farmers interested in value-added production to make their move.
The Chicago suburb of Mundelein isn’t quite yet famous for kombucha, a fermented tea with healthy probiotic properties that in recent years has drawn a growing consumer base. But if hard work and passion are the keys to entrepreneurial success, then Susan Fink’s Karma Kombucha is going to turn Mundelein into a kombucha capital.
Family Farmed’s Good Food Festival on Saturday, March 26 is the big annual public celebration that will cap the three-day Good Food Festival & Conference. The Festival is all about hands-on workshops and learning. And we are excited to welcome book authors Hannah Crum and husband Alex LaGory who will be part of our Brew Your Own Kombucha workshop at 1:30 p.m. on March 26.
SAAGE Culinary Studio in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois, is a shared-use commercial kitchen providing startup food businesses with access to all the commercial grade equipment that they need to make their products. Owner Gayatri Borthakur discusses the philosophy behind the business, which will be a participant in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival & Conference.
Many of those involved in the Good Food movement believe that craft distilling deserves to be considered part of it, but the question has been raised about whether a distilled spirit needs to contain ingredients produced by local farmers in order to be considered truly local. Many producers now are touting local sourcing as a major selling point.
Next to Wal-Mart on the edge of rural Viroqua, Wisconsin, a 100,000-square-foot abandoned industrial building is now bustling with new businesses and jobs from an unconventional source: The local food and farming sector.
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” says the longtime motto of the U.S. Postal Service. If Thursday evening’s annual Chef BBQ staged by Chicago’s Green City Market is an indication, that applies as well to connoisseurs — at least as when it comes to rain.
Differentiation is an important key to success in the expanding sector of artisan food producers. A number of food entrepreneurs have sought their special niche by reaching into their personal experience and background. This is something that Rowida Assalimy did when she launched Kishr, a traditional hot beverage of her parents’ native country of Yemen that she grew up drinking.
By Joel Blechman, FamilyFarmed When I tell people I’m the director of the Good Food Business Accelerator, which FamilyFarmed launched last fall, I’m frequently asked, “What does that mean?” Accelerators — which provide mentorship, networking opportunities, and other assistance to promising entrepreneurial businesses — compose a fast-rising sector that is promoting economic development in the Read more about Good Food Business Accelerator Fellows to Show Their Skills at April 27 Demo Day[…]
T.J. Callahan, the founder and owner of the Farmhouse Tavern restaurants in downtown Chicago and suburban Evanston is a bit wary of the “farm to table” label, which some critics say has been overused to the point of becoming a cliche. “Farm to table, it’s such a nebulous kind of concept,” Callahan said in an interview with Good Food on Every Table. “So we’ve called ourself, from day one, a ‘Midwestern craft tavern.'”
What would you pay to welcome the glorious arrival of spring with one of Chicago’s best annual food and drink tasting events?
Most sampling events these days will set you back three figures. But Localicious — on the evening of Friday, March 20 at Chicago’s UIC Forum — is a great night of eating and drinking great local products, for just $80.