Commuters Will Be Able to Get Local Produce at Tollway Oases

Article excerpt

Sometimes you just can't make it to your local farmers market. Maybe an early morning commitment prevents you from stopping by, or your meeting in the Loop runs late and you're not back in the 'burbs until the vendors have packed up.

Later this summer you'll be able to access locally grown produce along your daily commute, that is if you drive the area's tollways.

Boxes of produce will be delivered weekly to Illinois Tollway Oases (Des Plaines, O'Hare, Lake Forest and Hinsdale among them) through a community supported agriculture program.

Through a CSA, you purchase a share of a farm and each week get a share of the crops. Oases management, U.S. Equities Asset Management, has reached out to one downstate farmer and two farmers in southern Wisconsin to establish Wednesday produce pickups.

"This program grants commuters a convenient way to support sustainable agriculture and helps remove barriers that CSA farms face in reaching consumers," said Sundee Wislow, director of sustainability for the management company.

To participate in the oases CSA program, customers sign up for shares directly with the farm and select their pickup location. Shares cost between $330 and $695, depending on the length of the drop-off season, generally 12 to 20 weeks. Find information on the farms' websites: harvestmoonorganics.com, scotchfillfarm.com and triplevegetables.com.

"With hundreds of thousands of commuters driving under the Tollway Oases each day, we can reach many without having to establish a drop-off location in each suburb," said Tony Ends of Scotch Hill Farms. "It's really a win-win for everyone."

Best of the Fests: Tickets are on sale now for one of the suburbs' premier culinary events, Chefs Fest 2010, from 5 to 8 p.m. May 11 at Arlington Park Racecourse.

Produced by the Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau, the food and beverage tasting extravaganza features nearly 70 local restaurants and is expected to attract about 2,500 hungry visitors. Participating restaurants include Big Shot Piano Lounge & Restaurant in Arlington Heights, Bob Chinn's Crab House in Wheeling, Chandler's Chop House & Banquets in Schaumburg, Dave & Buster's in Addison and Ruth's Chris Steak House in South Barrington. …