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Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009 11:00 am

And don’t miss prime time at farmers’ markets

Every vendor at every farmers’ market says the same thing: business drops off after Labor Day. Maybe it’s because parents are preoccupied with getting their kids back in school. Maybe it&r...
Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009 01:09 pm

Tough job, but somebody has to do it

The fairgrounds are bustling in the days before the Illinois State Fair opens, and no location is busier than the culinary division in the Hobby, Arts, and Crafts Building. On Friday is cleaning and s...
Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 10:28 pm
Who would have guessed that Meryl Streep could be a dead ringer for Julia Child? Not me. But watching Streep channel Child is a major part of the fun in the movie Julie and Julia. As Sangamo Club mana...
Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009 09:22 pm

Two farmers’ markets really are better than one

I had mixed feelings when I learned that another farmers’ market was opening on the state fairgrounds across from the grandstand. On one hand, I’m always excited to see increas...
Thursday, July 30, 2009 06:20 pm
We fought over them for years, my grandfather and I. Zucchini. He wanted them big and I wanted them little. And when I say big, I mean really big — at least as big as a forearm. I understood wh...
Thursday, July 23, 2009 09:29 pm

An authentic gourmet Tuscan bistro?

“Education courses teach you words that say nothing.” I heard this bit of wisdom from my music teacher, Esther Duncan, when I was a teenager. In her day, she was a legendary f...
Thursday, July 16, 2009 11:02 pm
It’s quirky — the good kind of quirky. Its eclectic assortment of edibles reflects, I suspect, the owners’ tastes as much as their customers’. And it’s been i...
Thursday, July 9, 2009 07:27 pm
It’s comforting to know that Illinois has some serious competition in the wacky governor sweepstakes. I feel like the folks my husband, Peter, and I met in last January in Louisiana...
Thursday, July 2, 2009 02:58 pm
It’s one of my earliest sensory memories: climbing our old white peach tree, picking one of the rosy fruits, and taking a big bite. The taste was sweet, floral, delicate — alm...
Thursday, June 18, 2009 05:47 pm

The good life on a three-family farm near Rochester

Garrick Veenstra and Andy Heck under their tent at the Old Capitol Farmer’s Market PHOTO BY DAVID HINE It’s as inevitable as death and taxes: when growing vegetables without chemicals, weeds will be involved. Even though sophisticated mulching and planting techniques can minimize and, with diligence, even eliminate them over time, weeds are still there, lurking in the backgrou...


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