We’re lucky indeed here in central Illinois - our local specialty crop farmers grow gorgeous produce that lends itself for preservation so we can enjoy it year-round. In this episode of In My Backyard, Lisa Bralts talks pickles, preserves, and aigre-doux with Vie Restaurant’s Paul Virant - also known as "The Jarring Chef".
True autumn is just a couple of weeks away, and the cool nights mean the earth is about to offer up its bounty of cucurbits - pumpkins, squash, and gourds - for our eating and decorating pleasure. In this episode of In My Backyard, Lisa Bralts heads south to Arthur, Illinois, and learns that there’s a lot more to a pumpkin patch than prizewinner pumpkins and jack o’ lanterns.
New to town? Wondering a) what the heck there is to eat around here, and b) if there’s any place that’s recognizable to you that can make you feel a little more at home? Try one of our local farmers markets. In this segment of In My Backyard, Lisa Bralts talks to a farmers market fan who literally wrote the book on Midwestern markets, and ponders how new residents from anywhere can help create our ever-evolving local food culture right here.
While the natural world can make a huge impression on people of all ages, there’s something about being a kid that makes even the simplest things in the yard interesting and even magical. In this episode of In My Backyard, Lisa Bralts takes some of the small set on a neighborhood tour, starting… in HER backyard.
Fresh produce usually travels from farm to market in a van or truck. Agriculture and architecture usually seem worlds apart. In this episode of In My Backyard, Lisa Bralts learns about a way urban farmers can get produce to market with a smaller carbon footprint, thanks to a collaboration between the U of I’s Sustainable Student Farm and a group of Architecture graduate students.
In this episode of In My Backyard, decidedly amateur egg-poacher Lisa Bralts gets a lesson from cook/author Millicent Souris that starts at a local farm and ends in the kitchen.
For many of us, “eating local” means buying locally-grown produce and supporting local producers. But what about eating? Locally-developed cuisine - especially the comfort foods from last century that are specific to a region or sometimes just a town - is making a bit of a comeback, but with a bit of a twist. Lisa Bralts investigates one of Central Illinois’ specialties on this episode of In My Backyard.
After seeing a photo of a friend’s DIY garden in Sweden and refusing to let a broken hose get her down, Lisa Bralts became re-inspired to stay away from the garden store, get back into the yard, and take some serious gardening inventory. In this segment of In My Backyard, she heads into the garage to make do with what she has - which, as it turns out, is more than she thought.
Weather and insects can influence what we have to eat locally during the growing season. In My Backyard’s Lisa Bralts discovers that while they’re two distinctly different issues that farmers must wrangle, they’re much more closely related than she realized.
While we're babying our seeds in the garden or waiting for the farmers markets to open, it's easy to forget there are plenty of fresh things to eat that just kind of show up in the most obvious of places. Some call them weeds, but others call them dinner. In this episode of In My Backyard, Lisa Bralts discovers she doesn't have to go far to find food. She also learns why time is of the essence.
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