The 21st Show

ENCORE: Chinese-American Food In Chicago; The Changing CSA Market


Robin Linn

This week, we're re-airing some of our favorite conversations about food. Today: Monica Eng and Louisa Chu join us to talk about the history of Chinese-American food in Chicago. Plus, why the market for Community Shared Agriculture (or CSA) farmers has gotten increasingly difficult in recent years.

Food writers and radio hosts Monica Eng from WBEZ Chicago and Louisa Chu from The Chicago Tribune talked with us about Chinese food in Illinois. Both co-host the podcast Chewing, and they also both grew up in Chicago in the world of Chinese restaurants.

Both Monica and Louisa’s families owned and operated Chinese restaurants, and both journalists recently wrote pieces about their food heritage for The Chicago Tribune. So, we wanted to invite them to sit down to eat at a quintessential Chinese-American spot to talk about different styles of Chinese cuisine, whether or not chop suey is authentic and of course - what makes a good egg roll.

We met at Lee’s Chop Suey, which opened in 1968 in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.

Plus -

CSAs (community supported agriculture) allow consumers to buy produce directly from small farmers. But times are actually pretty hard for CSA farmers. The market has gotten a lot tougher in the past few years, and it's led CSA farmers to try and adapt in order to stay competitive.

Shea Belahi is one of these farmers. She’s part owner and farm manager of Blue Moon Farm in Urbana. Simon Huntley is founder and CEO of Harvie, a company that helps small farms with marketing and technology. And Guillermo Payet is founder and president of Local Harvest, a database for CSAs and farmers markets.

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