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David Lissner
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Dining down on the farm, ee-eye ee-eye ooh!


Farm Dinner, 1885.

Farm Dinner, 1885.

The season for farm-fresh fare is fleeting in Chicagoland. Celebrate fresh-picked, locally grown produce while you may, for all too soon the season of pale, hard tomatoes and canned fruit will be upon us. Harvest dinners at area farms and local restaurants showcase some of the best of the Midwestern crop.

  • Carnivale, River West.

    Farm-to-Table Menu, Monday, Aug. 17–Sunday, Aug. 23, and Sept. 21–27, a la carte.
    Farmers’ Market Lunch, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Thursdays, $19.
    The August menu showcases produce from Kinnikinnick Farm (Caledonia, Ill.) and Prairie Fruit Farm (Champaign, Ill.), in such dishes as gazpacho, wood grilled ribeye with arugula and heirloom tomato salad and goat cheesecake with peach preserves. September will highlight Mick Klug Farms and Growing Power.

    The weekly three-course prix-fixe lunch features appetizer or salad, entree and seasonal fruit dessert made of produce from Green City Market.

  • Uncommon Ground, Edgewater, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, $50.

    This benefit dinner for Slow Food Chicago includes a summer-cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception, a tour of the nation’s first certified organic rooftop farm and a three-course dinner of local farm ingredients, featuring a salad of roasted beets, plums, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, mixed greens and champagne vinaigrette; apricot- and mustard-glazed pork loin with crispy potato cake, swiss chard and plum apple sauce; and peach and blueberry napoleon with melon gelato.

  • Heritage Prairie Farm, Elburn.
    Midsummer Night’s Dream Gastronomical Farm Feast, 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, $65.
    Big Pig Gig, 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, $25 adults; kids up to 13 pay their age.

    On Thursday, Gap Productions’ performance of selected scenes from Shakespeare accompanies a family-style meal from the farm kitchen, including cocktails and appetizers, heirloom-tomato panzanella salad; pork tenderloin with Seedling grilled peach salsa on wilted greens; wheat berry salad with grilled summer farm vegetables; grilled polenta; seasonal green market salad; eggplant and tomato gratin; and English summer pudding.

    Sunday’s pig roast features live music, local wines, beers, croquet, horseshoes, and a buffet of pork roasted in a La Caja China Box, barbecue chicken, brats, hot dogs and veggie burgers, baked beans, corn on the cob, deviled farm eggs, salads, desserts and soft drinks, plus a cash bar.

  • Red Light, West Loop, noon, Sun. Aug. 23, $50 from Tracey Vowell, (312) 399-5585.

    This outdoor pig roast and dinner benefits Three Sisters Garden, a small farm south of Chicago. Participating chefs include George Bumbaris and Sarah Stegner of Prairie Grass Cafe, Paul Fehribach of Big Jones, Rick Gresh of David Burke’s Primehouse, Bill Kim of UrbanBelly, Ina Pinkney of Ina’s, Jackie Shen of Red Light, Giuseppi Tentori of Boka, Jolene Worthington of Eli’s Cheesecake and others.

  • Opera, South Loop, Monday, Aug. 24–Sunday, Aug. 30, $42 four-course prix fixe or individual dishes a la carte.

    Menu based on organic vegetables from Green Acres Farms (North Judson, Ind.) and heirloom tomatoes from Iron Creek Farms (Saint Joseph, Mich.), includes asparagus consomme, Jonah crab salad, pan-seared red snapper with baby braised fennel and leeks in saffron tomato broth, and gingersnap ice cream sandwich with caramelized cherries.

  • Angelic Organics, Caledonia, 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, $100.

    BYOB, family-style dinner prepared by chefs from Sunday Dinner using vegetables straight from the fields, including confit and grilled Becker Lane pork, burgers with heirloom tomato, horseradish cheddar and arugula, micro-beer brats and stewed peppers and onions, a variety of salads and shortcakes with market summer berries and sabayon. The event includes farm tours.

  • Genesis Growers, St. Anne, 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, tickets: $40 adults, $30 teens 13–18, $20 kids 6–12, free for kids 5 and under.

    The Local Beet sponsors a family-style BYOB farm dinner featuring locally-produced, seasonal ingredients prepared by Chef Melissa Graham of Monogramme Events and Catering.

  • Nacional 27, River North, Wednesdays, through October, $36.95 per person (minimum two people).

    Four-course menu paired with cocktail and wine, using produce and ingredients from the restaurant’s custom plot at Harvest Moon Farms and Chicago’s Green City Market, including such dishes as boniato and plantain croquetas with black bean salsa and roasted garlic alioli, smoked chicken empanadas with roasted corn salsa and ancho crema, grilled South Pacific salmon with green papaya salsa, roast suckling pig “Cubano,” farm-raised chicken mole verde and gaucho marinated skirt steak.