Our first of two events at this urban oasis of vegetables and herbs growing in the shadow of the Chicago skyline — and our 21st to date. Ken Dunn has been converting vacant city lots into productive organic farms for over 30 years, and each time we visit it’s a joy to hear him speak about his inspiring work. Through education and advocacy, they’ve played a powerful role in improving the self-sufficiency of Chicago’s food community. We’ll celebrate all that hard work with a meal from beloved Chicago chefs Doug Psaltis & Hsing Chen of Andros Taverna, located in Logan Square. Their contemporary Greek-style menu tells a story of culinary heritage and will bring soulful sophisticated Mediterranean flavors to the long table.
Taxonomy: Chicago Area
Our second evening at this inspiring urban farm, where vibrant rows of vegetables and herbs grow smack dab in the center of the Windy City. On night two, we have guest chef Maxwell Robbins helming the flames in the field kitchen. Maxwell’s cheffed at some of Chicago’s best restaurants including Blackbird, Gilt, Purple Pig, and most recently Longman & Eagle — and he’s currently working on some exciting new projects to be revealed later this year. Perhaps we’ll get a sneak peek of his plans! Either way, we’re thrilled to see what he cooks up with all the peak summer produce growing behind our seats.
Farmer Pete’s 81-acre fruit farm is bursting with unusual varieties of fruits including logan berries, medlars, paw paw and blood peaches plus many types of apples made into fresh-pressed cider and vinegar. The fruit is picked at peak ripeness and measured with a brixometer for ultimate flavor and nutrition. Pete’s passion for perfect produce has made him a fan favorite among area chefs. This fruit-filled feast in sunny South Haven is bound to be a good one.
Another summer evening dining amongst perfectly ripe fruit near the sunny shores of Lake Michigan. Farmer Pete grows a vast variety of unusual fruits and vegetables on his 81 acres, so it’s worth sticking around a second night to get a proper look around. Guest chef Zachary Engel is the man behind Chicago hotspot Galit, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant with a focus on seasonal ingredients. Zachary garnered inspiration from a number of Middle Eastern kitchens including Shaya in New Orleans, Catit in Tel Aviv and Michelin-starred Madrona Manor in Sonoma. He’s also collected a few James Beard awards along the way. We know he’ll make great use of Farmer Pete’s summer bounty.
Verdant Hollow Farms
Produce and pasture. You’ll find it all here in the rolling green fields of southern Michigan. Verdant Hollow Farms is home to a menagerie of milking goats, heritage pigs, Katahdin sheep, geese and laying chickens. All watched over by June and Cash, Colorado Mountain dogs who help keep coyotes, foxes, and hawks at bay. Verdant Hollow is dedicated to regenerative farming practices, and the multi-species livestock earn their keep; each has a unique purpose and skill, and all provide rich compost for gardens of greens, fruit and vegetables and for the high tunnel greenhouse where cold-hardy crops grow all year long. Guest chef Abra Berens is a former farmer herself. She’s also the author of Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables and Grist: A Practical Guide to Cooking Grains, Beans, Seeds, and Legumes, which made the NY Times list for Best Cookbooks of 2021. She’ll feel right at home in the field kitchen.