Back in early spring, not long after Andrea and Scott Robbins opened their Urban Stead cheesemaking facility and tasting room in Evanston, I stopped in to check it out. I was totally hooked on the product. Then Andrea started chatting us up at the bar, and I was even more hooked on the story.
The Robbins and their farmer and chef partners have created the sort of Platonic ideal of local food, a closed loop of collaboration, support, and sustainability that not only yields great product, but a virtuous cycle. I’ll stop short of spoiling the story about Urban Stead, and simply say that I admire what they’re all doing together. It’s not easy. Producing food in this harmonious way requires intention and resources and extra effort. But it’s so, so worth it—for our communities, our planet, and not incidentally, our tastebuds.
Speaking of extra effort, I’m not sure there’s a more dedicated market vendor than Kim Callahan of Lobenstein Farm in St. Leon, IN. She’s out at farmers’ markets seven days a week, selling produce and meat that her family members have tended, raised, and harvested. Seven days a week. And I’ve yet to catch Kim without a sparkle in her eye.
In this issue, we’ve retooled our One Ingredient column, and we’re super excited about its new direction. We’re partnering with a local chef to explore a key ingredient or technique that you can use in your kitchen at home. It was so fun to meet my Edible colleague and food photographer extraordinaire Julie, along with chef Derek dos Anjos of The Anchor, for a lesson in cooking whole fish. Karen and Brad Hughes hosted our culinary session at their Artichoke shop at Findlay Market. A great way to spend some time.
We’re all in this local food thing together: you, us, our farmers, chefs, artisans, and producers, all working in harmony to improve our corner of the universe.
Bryn’s long career in publishing took a left turn sometime around 2010, when she discovered the joy of food writing. Since then, she’s found professional nirvana as the editor of Edible Ohio Valley, author of The Findlay Market Cookbook, and occasional instructor at The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s. Find her seasonal recipes at writes4food.com.