We’ve all been hearing about the health and environmental benefits of eating local. But most residents of towns on the North Shore, from Evanston to Gurnee, do not grow their own food, nor do they live next door to farms that might supply their daily provender.
So how does one do the right thing? And what, exactly, does it mean to be a “localvore?”
The FamilyFarmed EXPO, Nov. 21-23 at the Chicago Cultural Center in the Loop will offer some answers. The event is a celebration of locally and responsibly produced foods and goods featuring demonstrations, workshops, tastings and an indoor farmer’s market.
“It’s All About Local Food,” their slogan trumpets, and expo-goers will find that some participants are North Shore folks.
Organizers of the fourth annual event are also reassuring, explaining that we don’t have to give up Florida’s oranges, Devonshire’s cream or Costa Rica’s bananas to be a localvore.
“We’re not zealots. If people eat one more meal with local foods, that’s a great start,” event organizer Jim Slama said.
A healthy choice
Shelly Herman believes there are more vitamins in minerals in freshly picked foods. So she created Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks in 2006 with her husband, Irv Cernauskas.
Today, from their 5,000-square-foot warehouse in Niles, they mail boxes of food to subscribers from more than 75 zip codes — as far south as Beverly and as far north as Lake Bluff. Most of the food is grown by members of their network of over 80 Midwest farmers. They say the support is mutually beneficial, since knowing farmers and how each farm is run is important. “For instance, some farms don’t clean foods off right away,” she says.
Customers might also like to know that the meats they buy come from animals treated humanely, so Irv and Shelly they do their best to find such farms to buy from.