We will get to that in a bit…
Almost every Friday for the past 6 months I have been driving to Chicago and delivering to our many and varied wholesale accounts. While we are still looking for a regular delivery driver I really enjoy the opportunity to directly connect with so many of our partners on a weekly basis.
This week I started extra early (up at 3:00 AM ET) so that I could make it to the birthday celebration of our great friend – Jamie S. The sacrifices we make….
3:00 AM ET – Wake up and make coffee!
3:45 AM ET – Arrive at the farm and load up the truck. Check the delivery schedule – 19 stops today. I realize that I will arrive at Beans & Greens in Homewood an hour before they do! Quickly reorder my delivery schedule and hope it works out.
4:45 AM ET – Reach my first stop of the day 15 minutes before they do! Double check my email for any additions or changes. Still too early for photos, but Eleventh Harvest Cafe between Niles and South Bend is one of our newest partners. They just opened and are really working to bring good local food to the community.
5:15 AM CT – Dropping off pork sticks at one of our distributors – Forage & Foster. Brad, Holly, and their team are focused on connecting local businesses with local producers. How great it that!
6.45 AM CT – Again, pull in 15 minutes before the doors open. The Sugar Beet Food Co-op in Oak Park was celebrating their 2nd anniversary the next day – couldn’t let them be low on anything! As they like to say – #kaleyeah
8:00 AM CT – Finally enough caffeine and light to take a couple pictures. Yes, that is a giant carrot carved out of an old tree. You can see this giant root as well when you visit Radical Root Organic Farm in Libertyville, IL. In addition to amazing locally raised organic veggies they offer a wide range of meats – like Jake’s!
8:50 AM CT – During the market season Ryan and his team at Gotta B Crepes create amazing crepes at many Chicago area farmers markets. We meet Ryan at the Green City Market years ago and are proud to partner with him. #thewayitsgotteb
9:30 AM CT – Have you tried Co-op Sauce? Why not! Co-op Sauce still donates half of its profits to Co-op Image and employs former program participants in the making and sale of the sauce. Sauce and Bread Kitchen is a cafe and market where fresh local goodness can be purchased to eat in or take away. Cooks Mike Bancroft Co-op Sauce (Sauce) and Anne Kostroski Crumb Bread (Bread) run the joint and employ neighborhood youth in the process. Plus a cup of coffee today!
9:50 AM CT – Cellar Door Provisions – Ethan and his team are always ordering something interesting… this week it was pig tails. Can’t wait to see what they create! Plus they are often kind enough to offer me coffee and a treat, although there is often discussion which is the real treat – the baked good or the coffee!
10:00 AM CT – Dill Pickle Food Co-op – One of our longest and largest accounts. Did you hear they are moving to a newer and larger location? Can’t wait to visit!
10:15 AM CT – I mustache you a question, but I’ll shave it for later…. Cafe Mustache definitely makes Jake’s cooler than without them.
10:30 AM CT – Never thought of opening a Bed & Breakfast in Chicago – but I guess that is what make’s Ray Bucktown B&B so unique. Honestly, there isn’t a better place to spend a weekend in Chicago.
10:40 AM CT – As I told Armando when I delivered on Friday – Olivia’s Market is the best looking retailer that we work with. Their shelves are always perfectly faced and there is a great floral selection at the front. Now if only I hadn’t left my 2-wheeler there this week….
11:00 AM CT – Down on Randolph St. there is an amazing collection of new and old food locations. Really, so many spots. But Grange Hall Burger Bar, I think they should change that to Barn…. does hold a special place in my heart.
11:15 AM CT – Driving north on Dearborn, between Washington and Randolph, I get to take a right and proceed below some of the busiest shopping in the world. The first time you descend can be a rather frightening experience, but once you are used to it the quiet nature of delivering to Gayle’s Best Ever Grilled Cheese is a relief. What started as a great name and a market tent has quickly become a quickly growing force in Chicago!
11:25 AM CT – One of our newest partners is Chef Bob Broskey at Beacon Tavern . Seriously, how great is that name? Basically chef has said that he will take any and all of our spare ribs. So go there and let me know what you think!
11:35 AM CT – Rock It Bar & Grill – this brings me to the darker side of city deliveries – literally, it can get really dark in city alleys even during the brightest summer day!
12:00 PM CT – by this point I’m getting close to the end of my delivery route and it is only noon – at least on this side of the lake. The Spoke & Bird is one of the only locations in Chicago smart enough to carry our hot dogs!
12:50 PM CT – Now back to the place that I had to skip since I was an hour early. If only everyone ran their schedule according to mine it would be so much easier…. South Suburban Co-op; also known as Beans & Greens – is our newest co-op!
3:30 PM ET – Note the time change! – Bartlett’s Fish Camp in Michigan City, IN just opened and is literally steps away from the water! Look for our Thick Chops there along with fresh sea food and many other options!
5:00 PM ET – Finally back to the farm just in time to meet the family and head to a birthday celebration!
420 miles traveled! 11 hours of drive time!
But just in case I started to miss Chicago, I do get to head back the next day for the Green City Market – 3:00 AM is gonna come soon….