Some part of me wouldn’t mind handcuffing some of the more extreme proponents of the locavore movement to a chair in my kitchen and feeding them a steady diet of Chicken McNuggets until they gave up their extreme dumpster diving ways. That being said, I do appreciate the underlying message of eating more locally for its ecological and improved flavor implications. As such, whenever I can secure good tasting fare from the local farmers and artisans, I do.
That’s pretty easy to do in the summer when the farmer’s markets are in full swing, but during the long slog of winter, unless you’ve got a freezer so big that Jeffrey Dahmer would be jealous and you’ve planned ahead, it’s a bit tougher.
But it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s a bit easier thanks to one local option I finally dragged my lazy butt over to a few weeks ago: Green Grocer Chicago in West Town. On the shelves you’ll find a beautiful assortment of the best of the best, including Tomato Mountain Farms organic jam (anything with raspberry is a favorite), Blue Marble dairy milk and cream (maybe the best tasting local milk in the Midwest), and Mint Creek Farm's beautiful, tender lamb.
There are a few other stores selling mostly local food, but what I really like about Green Grocer is its warm friendly open vibe. It doesn’t feel preachy. There isn’t some cabal of dread-locked, patchouli-scented, fiercely pierced and tattooed clerks sneering disapproval at your purchases—just the fresh-faced and helpful Cassie Green, the owner and store’s namesake.