Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, December 8

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« The 2013 National Restaurant Show -- and Tell Friday Foodporn: Grillin' »

Event Wed May 22 2013

Summertime Farm Dining

City life can sometimes seem like an all-in-one package: everything's right here in Chicago, and just an L ride away there's another neighborhood with some undiscovered funky gelato shop or untapped coffee roastery waiting for you to walk through the doors. But despite the city's abundance, especially in all things food-related, the grass always seems a little greener on the other side--and in the case of local Illinois farm dinners, it actually is.

With the rise of foodie-ism has come an increased fascination and interest in life beyond the farmers' market and the possibility of tracing our food back to its roots. Beginning in spring and stretching through autumn, multiple Illinois family farms feed this curiosity by hosting regular farm dinners, wherein guests are invited to spend an evening touring the facilities and getting acquainted with the farmers before sitting down to a meal made from same-day-fresh ingredients in the open air.


Ranging in scale from more formal to casual, and with some farms highlighting collaborations with Chicago-based chefs who use the farm's products in their restaurants, each dinner is a chance to experience the personality and individuality of the farm itself and get an insider's view of Illinois' vibrant local farm community. Below are just a few of the farms who offer guests this unique opportunity to see what abundance lies just beyond Chicago limits.

Slagel Family Farm- Fairbury, IL
Sixth-generation family farm teams up with guest Chicago chefs such as Chef Paul Virant of Perennial Virant and Chef Jason Hammel of Lula Café for a full farm tour-and-dinner series.

Heritage Prairie Farm- Elburn, IL
Rotating menus highlight farm-fresh ingredients at their seasonal peak. Heritage Prairie originally started hosting on-site meals in 2007, and they've evolved into a tradition ever since.

Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery
- Champaign, IL
Summertime dinners are mostly sold out, but sign on for autumn to experience one of the later seasons' varying themes: the "100 mile diet," microbrewery pairings, or holiday specials.

Chicago Botanic Gardens
- Glencoe, IL
Dinners at the Chicago Botanic Gardens bring artisan food producers, chefs, farmers, and foodies together at one table to revel in the shared appreciation of local food.

Photo from the Chicago Botanic Garden website.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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