Chicago Market, a community co-op

Our next Co-op Pop-Up takes place from 2-5 p.m. March 5 at the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St. The theme is "Bulk-up!" — and the market will feature bulk items and household goods to prepare you for the changing seasons.

New Board Member Linn Austin


New Board member Al Belmonte decided to vacate his seat. But we are pleased to announce that we've appointed Linn Austin to fill that Board position. Linn did an outstanding job organizing our first Co-op Pop-Up event and is hard at work on our next one. Linn, who is originally from Sweden, is the mother of two young sons and is passionate about good, sustainable food.


Did you know all Chicago Market Owners get 10 percent off on the amazing classes offered through Peterson Garden Project? It's true. Check them out! PGP offers classes on everything from handmade chocolates to kombucha-making to using spices to improve your health.


This month's Chicago Market Volunteer Spotlight is Jen Troyer, whose design work — cheerful, charming and engaging — has been delighting all of us. Jen grew up west of Chicago and her parents still live in St. Charles. Her interest in farms and food started early. "My great-grandmother had a 'truck farm' in the Depression era," she recalls. "Not unlike the folks at Green

Jen Troyer

City Market today, she loaded produce onto a truck each week and brought it to market. And my grandmother and mom also became big vegetable gardeners. Every year my mom begs my dad to build her 'just one more raised bed!' My favorite memories of summer growing up were of eating food straight from the garden."

She started college in Bozeman, Montana, but quickly changed her mind and came back to finish her studies in art and photography at Columbia College.

Early in her career at a photography research firm, the small company needed help with its website, and Jen's talent and curiosity took the lead. She'd taken only one class but knew how to code; she read online tutorials and started to "learn on the fly," she says. "I was very much self-taught, but the experience opened the door to my next move, to Harpo Studios."

Jen worked for 10 years on and helped launch Oprah's new cable network, OWN, in 2010. (Jen's first introduction to the Queen of Talk? "Shortly after starting at Harpo, I was at the salad bar in the cafe at lunch one day," she says. "I turned around and she was right behind me in line! I promptly knocked over the bowl of lettuce and the salad tongs flew into the air." Oprah was kind enough to get down on the floor and help her clean up, she recalls.)

Jen became a Chicago Market Owner in August 2014, after hearing about the co-op at Chicago Market's tables at farmers' markets and local events. "Of course, the banner design caught my eye," she notes, "but I really wanted that totebag. I'm a sucker for a cute totebag." She's also a fan of the payment plan that lets new Owners stretch their one-time $250 payment over 10 months.

Last summer, Jen stepped up her involvement with the co-op and brought her extraordinary design talents to the team. She picked up immediately on Chicago Market's personality, and then took our style to a whole new level, creating eye-catching new graphics for social media, our website, events and materials. She even designed this newsletter. Now, she leads and mentors new graphics volunteers.

She and her husband are also parents of a busy 2-year old son, and he's been one of her #reasons2own — a motivation for becoming a Chicago Market Owner. "I want my son to know where his food comes from," she says. "Even though he won't eat zucchini yet, he loves picking it off the vine, carrying it up to Nana's house and watching her cook it up. I think it's so important for us all to have that connection, to talk to farmers; there's a whole process for getting food to our tables, and we have to respect that." 

We're so grateful for Jen and all of our Chicago Market volunteers who are working hard to turn Chicago Market's vision into reality. If you'd like to join us, email [email protected].



By Anthony Todd, Chicago Market Board Member

It's dark. It's cold. It's windy. It's Chicago in January, and it makes most of us want to curl up under a blanket with a cup of tea and not come out until spring. It's also a time when many people give up on local eating. That seems logical, right? There can't be anything growing in this tundra. Well, it's not quite true. There are plenty of great strategies for eating local, even in the dead of winter — and you don't have to just eat potatoes three meals a day. And, once Chicago Market is open, we'll expand your local food options in winter — yet another of the many #reasons2own. Until then, here are five of my favorite ways to eat local in winter:


1) Get creative with veggies.

While there aren't a ton of local tomatoes in the market, there's no shortage of local produce. If you're creative with your prep methods, it can feel pretty darn summer-ish. Shave cellar-friendly root veggies (like beets, carrots and onions) ultra thin for crisp, fresh salads that feel like they could come in July. Make chilled soups out of celeriac and leeks that feel super spring-y.


2) Eat more meat.

Normally, us local eaters are all about the mostly-vegetarian lifestyle. But in winter, when there's less fresh food around, a great way to support the local-food economy is to try more local meat. Join a meat CSA like Mint Creek or Cedar Valley and learn to get creative with less-common cuts of meat. Head to a locally focused butcher shop and experiment with crazy sausages, or buy some Great Lakes fish.


3) Get inspired by winter markets.

Farmers markets don't stop in the winter! Green City Market and Glenwood Sunday Market have great winter farmers' markets that will totally inspire your local food drive. Check out local food stores like River Valley Farmers Table, Dill Pickle or Local Foods to see what's in season. Being around food producers and abundant heaps of local foods always raises the spirits.


4) Challenge yourself by getting whatever is at the market.

Head to one of those local markets and buy whatever looks best and then figure out what to do with it. I bought a huge head of cauliflower at Local Foods last week and, after 20 minutes of Googling, found this recipe. I pulled some garden tomatoes out of my pantry, opened a tin of anchovies (not local, but only about 2 ounces) and had a great dinner in an hour. You'll be surprised what you come up with.


5) Don't assume there's nothing fresh.

Even though it's winter, more and more farmers are experimenting with hoop houses and cold frames. You can easily find fresh arugula and kale, even right now — these heartier greens will make it through the winter. Apples are crisp and perfect even now and leeks taste even better after some time in the frost.

Recipe: Rose Water Spritz

This month's recipe is courtesy of Kathleen Scanlan, a regular and enthusiastic yoga practitioner, who graduated in 2010 from the 200-hour yoga instructor program at Kriya Temple in Chicago.  A section of that training dealing with Ayurveda intensified her interest in using natural and non-toxic products for cleaning and personal care. She works full time for the Village of Winnetka as administrative assistant to the Village Manager. Harsh winter temperatures and dry indoor heat can make a Midwesterner feel downright withered come February. Here's a recipe for a moisturizer like grandma used — one that relies on all-natural ingredients and instantly relieves that winter flakiness.


Refreshing Rose Water Spritz

8 ounces rose water

1 tablespoon glycerin

2 teaspoons Jojoba or almond oil

Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle — shake well before using.  Can be applied from head to toe morning and night, and in conjunction with other moisturizers as needed.

Rose water has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and contains antioxidants and vitamins A and C.

Vegetable glycerin is a humectant, grabbing moisture from the environment and sealing it into your skin.  (Try to avoid glycerin made from palm oil.)

All ingredients are available at Merz Apothecary or at Whole Foods.