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Friday, December 6

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Event Fri Jul 10 2015

Table, Back to Farm

For those who don't plan their summers in early March, when the ground is frozen, the world is dreary and gray and people begin reserving the best Air BNB rentals in Michigan for a warm weekend several months away, farm dinners are an affordable alternative for getting out of the city for a few hours. Here are a few good Illinois-based places for your temporary vacation, by distance:

farm_dinners_table.jpg25 Miles
Chicago Botanical Garden (1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe) starts their farm dinner series this Wednesday, with Cleetus Friedman (Fountainhead, Bar on Buena) at the grill for the season. Tour their Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden, with members of the talented the Windy City Harvey Youth Farm discussing their work (your $220 ticket cost benefits their fine program). Dine under the grape arbor (pictured), but get out before the concert at nearby Ravinia lets out. You may have to sleep there. Other dinners are Aug. 12th and Sept. 5th.

50 Miles
Heritage Prairie Farm (Elburn) is located four miles from the second-to-last stop on the Union Pacific West Metra line; bring a bike for the trip to their weekly Wednesday pizza nights (5pm) from their onsite wood-fired oven, topped with freshly picked ingredients. Other events include dinners featuring drink collaborations with Fox River Distilling Company (July 16th), Penrose Brewing (Aug. 6th), Bell's (Oct. 15th), and a Friendsgiving dinner (Nov 5th).Tickets $90.

75+ Miles
Angelic Organics (Caledonia) holds its annual Peak Harvest Farm Dinner July 25th. A team of local talent (from Lula Cafe, The Kitchen, Reno, Octane and Bang Bang) will make a five-course meal. Tickets start at $175.

100+ Miles
Slagel Family Farms (Fairbury) offers monthly Saturday dinners, with a smattering of their Chicago customers concocting a multi-course meal with drinks for guests. The $125 ticket (children $25) includes a chartered bus to and from the city, livestock tours, and a butchering demo. Upcoming dinners are July 18th ( Three Aces, Bedford and Carriage House), Aug. 15th (Oak & Char), Sept. 26th (the former Nightwood/Lula & Rootstock), Oct. 3rd (Osteria Via Stato & White Oak Tavern).

Mint Creek Farm (Stelle) offers monthly Saturday dinners that begin with a trolley pickup at the nearby Greenhouse Bed and Breakfast (make a weekend of it!) , followed by an interactive farm tour, and an onsite meal also prepared by several of Mint Creek's Chicago customers. The next dinner will be July 18th (Lula Cafe), Sept. 19th (Cellar Door Provisions), and Oct. 10th (Honey Butter Fried Chicken & Sunday Dinner Club). Tickets for adults $67-79; children $23-27.

Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery (Champaign) mixes up their farm dinner with series with chefs from the city as well as the country. Their first farm dinner is tomorrow (tickets still available!), with Cleetus Friedman (the man loves farms!) pairing dishes with beers from New Holland Brewery (which is a great trip in itself, by the way). A backyard BBQ, Mexican, and squash/pumpkin dinners are also on the schedule, but if you want to keep it Chicago-connected, future dinners (they have many!) include a visit from chefs from Sunday Dinner Club and Honey Butter Fried Chicken (Sept. 12th), Perennial Virant (Oct. 12th), and The Radler (Nov. 7th). Tickets $85-125.

 
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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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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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