Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Opening Day, Plant Swiss Chard!

From a Slow Food Victory Garden.
It's a big day here in Chicago as the Cubs open up at home in front of thousands of soon to be disillusioned fans and the South-Siders trade their mitts for mittens in snow-laden Cleveland.  On this day as the city prepares to argue for the next few months about which team is better, there is one thing everyone can agree on: 2011 is the year Swiss Chard will finally win it all in Chicago

You don't have a clue what I am talking about, do you?  Well that is because you haven't wandered over to
 One Seed Chicago to learn about NeighborSpace and it's efforts to unite this city behind one thing we can all agree is important - great food grown locally.  We at Chicago TomatoFest are supporting Swiss Chard because Swiss Chard supports Tomatoes!  It's true.  Companion planting pairs veggies and flowers that are interact with one another in a small garden and Chard and Tomatoes are an easy and useful pair.  As the link above describes, Chard is attractive to many "useful" insects and repels some of the bad ones so it's a great part of an organic plan, which we of course is crucial for delicious Tomatoes.

On the plate, Chard could not be much easier to integrate into wonderful, nutritious food pairings as well. 
Take a walk with me through this delicious scenario:

1) You volunteer with the team at the preSERVE garden to help prep the garden and plant Sweet Potatoes (next volunteer day is April 16th, 2011 join us!)
2) You come back to help us harvest, just like we did last year
3) You take a few of the Sweet Potatoes you earned home and make this incredible Sweet Potato / Chard Gratin:
Find the recipe and more great shots at

If you don't want to wait until Fall to eat your Chard, and you shouldn't, try one of a hundred fast and easy ways to grow your Chard and eat it too.  Making quiche?  Throw in some Chard.  Making Lasagna?  Add some Chard.  Making scrambled eggs, use Chard instead of Spinach.  Eating at The Publican?  Order the Smoked Whitefish on Brioche with a poached farm egg and pickled Chard stems!  (Editor's Note: Item may not be on the menu anymore, but it's entrenched in my memory).   Don't hesitate to use Chard nearly everywhere in your spring and summer cooking, you can cut and cut, but you will almost never be able to stay ahead of your Chard plant.
Swiss Chard and Cremini Mushroom Lasagna

But wait, there's more!  Swiss Chard is one of the healthiest, nutritionally dense foods we can grow here in Chicago.  In fact, some say that it is one of the top two nutritionally-rich vegetables that can be grown anywhere!  

So don't wait.  Today is the last day to vote for Swiss Chard as the plant that should be supported, shared and widely distributed in town by the good folks at One Seed Chicago.  It's fast and easy to vote - you can do it between innings while you wait on line for the bathroom or another beer...Come on Chicago - VOTE SWISS CHARD!


PS - Here is one more reason to eat Vote Swiss Chard: Do you really think Eggplant has a thong with it's name on it?


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