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5 Ways for Food Lovers to Prepare for Spring

By Molly Durham in Food on Feb 24, 2012 7:00PM

These are the dark days of winter, when we dream of produce being a-plenty, outdoor happy hours and not freezing our asses off. As of this Monday, it was one month til the first day of Spring. Here are a few ways you can remind yourself of the joys to come and be prepared to take full advantage of them once they're here.

Countdown to Farmers Markets - Any cook likely lives for the season where your biggest challenge is trying to not buy more awesome produce than you can use in a week. Green City Market and Daley Plaza Farmers Market both head outdoors in May, and Glenwood Sunday Market and Logan Square Farmers Market do the same in June, just to name a few.

Drink drinks that taste like a vacation - Who says it's not the time for margaritas and mojitos? In fact, Wednesday was National Margarita Day. If you missed it, make up for it by making a batch of your own. Or try our recipes for ramp-infused vodka, a meyer lemon smash, or a Hemingway daiquiri.

Plot picnic spots - Pick new parks to hit that aren't your same ol' same ol'. On one of the first actually nice days, head south and grab some real BBQ at Lem's and go eat it in Jackson Park. Or head north and grab a 12-inch sub for $6 at Piatto Pronto in Andersonville and head to Hollywood Beach with your serious deal of a sandwich that'll sustain you for hours.

Research home garden possibilities - Figure out if you get enough sun in one of your windows to grow a plant like basil, or plan out your yard of produce. Stop by Brew & Grow, a one-stop shop for all the equipment and info you need to get growing (or brewing) at home. Vote for your favorite seed with One Seed Chicago, and you'll get some free starter seeds sent to you for free!

Save up for a farm dinner- They always sound intriguing and delicious. They also always require a hefty chunk of change. Remind yourself now how much you're going to want to jet out to the burbs to chow down on a gourmet dinner while being surrounded by its ingredients, and start saving. Farm dinners are usually hosted by Slagel Family Farms, Outstanding in the Field, Dietzler Farms and City Provisions, and we're sure to give you more updates on these as they grow nearer.