August 2012
Volunteer Requests
Featured Recipe
Welcome Note
Head Spear
Corks & Crayons
Harvest Moon Farms
Donor Highlights
Volunteer Spotlight


If you've visited the new
lately, you'll find that we've underdone a redesign to make finding information even easier. Purple Asparagus is looking for a volunteer with Word Press experience to help us customize some of our pages and tweak a few things on our all-new site. This would be a one-time project that can turn into an ongoing relationship.



For every Nutritious Delicious Adventures classroom session, we distribute recipes with a nutritional analysis of the snack of the day. We are looking for a volunteer with a background in nutrition or dietetics to help calculate nutritional values for some of our most popular snacks.


If you are interested in either of these positions, please email to find out more information.



What: Corks and Crayons

When: August 26, 2012 from 4-7 p.m.

Where: The Greenhouse Loft, inside The Green Exchange at 2545 W. Diversey Ave

Why: Eat, drink, mingle and take advantage of activities for the whole family like a mini farmers' market, tours of the LEED-certified Green Exchange building, a photo booth, live music, a silent auction and prizes.
Cost: Tickets are $70 for adults, including all food and drink, and $15 for children ages 5-18. Children 5 and under are free.
More info:    


What: Corks and Crayons Goodie Bag Stuffing

When: Thursday, August 23rd from 10 -11:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m (two shifts)
Where: Green Exchange, 2545 W. Diversey
Why: Help  More than Milk prepare Purple Asparagus for Corks and Crayons with last-minute touches like stuffing goodie bags. UrbanSitter babysitters will be on hand to help out, and moms will rotate among stuffing and playing with little ones.
Cost: Free
More info: More than Milk 


What: Chef Demonstration at Green City Market

When: Saturday,September 8th from 10 a.m.-noon
Where: Club Sprouts at Green City Market at 1790 N. Clark St.
Why: Join Head Spear Melissa Graham in a chef's tasting encouraging young people to try new, locally grown, sustainable food. At each market, children are given the opportunity to taste a different market item. Those who sample one of the treats receives a stamp on their Club Sprouts membership card. Once the card is filled with eight tastes, the child takes home a certificate of accomplishment and a special prize.
Cost: Free  


What: Kids' Cooking Class at Hinsdale Whole Foods Market
When: Saturday,September 15th from noon-1 p.m.
Where: Whole Foods Market parking lot at 500 E. Ogden St. in Hinsdale
Why: Join Chef Melissa as she returns to the Kids' Fair to show kids and parents how to exciting lunches for lunchboxes or at home.
Cost: Free 


A few months ago, a feature in Daily Candy caught my eye. It highlighted a new non-profit called More than Milk that organized opportunities for new moms to volunteer with their children. Founded by former teacher, Amy Cahill, More than Milk partners with a different non-profit 4 times a year. More than Milk highlights the Read More

There is perhaps no greater love-hate relationship than with the month of August. As the summertime comes to a close, there are long days, warm nights and a low-key, relaxed vibe, but also sweltering humidity, bored little ones and the mixed emotions knowing that another season is rapidly coming to a close.


Personally, I get antsy for August because it coincides with our annual fundraiser, Corks and Crayons! During the winter months we Chicagoans tend to hibernate inside, but summertime in the city means it's time to get out and socialize with friends and neighbors. So it's only fitting that August is the month for our biggest benefit, where you can taste seasonal treats, drink local spirits and mingle with likeminded folks in a family-friendly environment.


This month, while we soak up the last lazy days of summer, we're eager to share some new ways you can support us through volunteer positions, donations and, of course, by attending Corks and Crayons. We also wanted to pass along some recent news and upcoming events. Hope to see you soon!  

Melissa Graham
Head Spear, Purple Asparagus
Our own Head Spear Melissa Graham was listed as one of the top 15 Crusaders for Health in the Food Industry. The list was published by healthy living blog Greatest, which named Melissa alongside big names like Jamie Oliver, Eric Schlosser, Mayor Bloomberg and Michael Pollan! These health heroes were chosen for devoting themselves to improving America's relationship with food.

Melissa was chosen for her work as a sustainable chef, locavore blogger and, of course, her work with Purple Asparagus to teach children and families about healthful eating.

To see the full article, click here.

C&C Program

Our annual celebration and fundraiser is back again with fun for all ages. Corks and Crayons will take place on August 26, 2012 from 4-7 p.m. All proceeds from the event benefit Purple Asparagus.

What you'll find: Tasting stations from 12 of Chicago's top chefs, Three Floyd's brews, artisanal wines from Candid Wines, cocktails from Templeton Rye and delicious non-alcoholic beverages for kids.

What you'll do: Eat, drink, mingle and take advantage of activities for the whole family like a mini farmers' market, tours of the LEED-certified Green Exchange building, Art Party, a silent auction and prizes.

Who you'll see: About 250 attendees of all ages and chefs from Mindy Segal, winner of the 2012 James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry, Top Chef Contestants Heather Terhune of Sable and Richie Farina of Moto, Floriole, Hot Chocolate, Farmhouse, Uncommon Ground, Pleasant House Bakery, Trattoria No. 10, Tipsy Cake, Katherine Anne Confections, Big Jones, and the Peasantry!

If you are interested in lending your support to this fundraising event, please contact Stephen Landfear at All contributions will be acknowledged in our event program, and all donations are fully deductable to the extent of the law.

Event details: Corks and Crayons will take place on August 26, 2012 from 4-7 p.m. at the Greenhouse Loft (inside The Green Exchange at 2545 W. Diversey Ave.). Tickets are $70 for adults, including all food and drink, and $15 for children ages 5-18. Children 5 and under are free. Find out more, bid on silent auction items or purchase tickets at: 

How to Bid: If you can't make the event, you can still join in the fun. Our online auction with items from Le Cordon Bleu, Irv & Shelly's Fresh Picks, and Destination Fitness is LIVE. Click here to start bidding. Check back frequently as more items will be added daily.


Those of you who were at our Friendraiser breakfast at the Signature Room last summer will surely recall the bounty of yummy goodies from Harvest Moon Farms. This year, they're reached out for help in the face of one of the worst droughts since the 1930's Dust Bowl.


In a letter to friends and shareholders, farmers Bob & Jen Borchardt wrote:


"Our wholesale business centers around leafy greens like chard and kale. The lack of rain, combined with excessive heat, killed many of our crops, limiting what we could bring to market. To date, we have shipped only 20% of what we projected. The anticipated funds we've lost were designed to cover our daily farm operations, as well as to make some key equipment acquisitions..22"

Part of committing to local, seasonal eating means sharing in nature's bounty during good times but also in tough times being willing to sustain those who grow our food. Please consider making a donation to our partner Harvest Moon Farms, who has in the past been so generous to Purple Asparagus.


For more information, visit Harvest Moon Farms 


Damien Casten

Partner, Candid Wines - wine sponsor of Corks and Crayons


If you're sipping a glass of artisanal wine at this year's Corks and Crayons event, you have Damien Casten to thank. He's the owner of Chicago-based Candid Wines, a wine distribution focused on small-production family-owned estates with an emphasis on organic sustainable wines. Candid Wines will be Corks and Crayons 2012 wine sponsor, as it has for the last six years.


Damien was bitten by the wine bug while living in Paris as a twenty-two year old. At a meal where every bite was fantastic, a 1985 Hermitage paired with venison was out of this world. After attending the New England Culinary Institute, he returned to Paris and worked in kitchens for two years including the Michelin three-starred Lucas Carton, known for its remarkable food and wine pairings. In his spare time he traded labor for wine and knowledge at one of Paris' best wine shops, cooked with friends and traveled.


A decade later, Damien is endlessly impressed with just how much there is to do, to eat, and to discover in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. He's come to believe that if you can't find a "best in the world" example of just about anything you'd like to put in your belly here in Chicago, you should look again.

Kristin Barbour

Event co-chair for Corks and Crayons 2012


If you would have asked her where her food comes from a few years ago, Kristin Barbour may have given you a blank stare. But these days she's passionate about eating healthy, whole foods and building relationship with her food suppliers.


"It's hard to change your own eating habits, let alone someone else's," said Kristin. "That's why I am so thrilled to be part of Purple Asparagus - which introduces new foods but doesn't push it - making it fun and interesting to eat healthy."


Along with fellow co-chair Stephen Landfear, Kristin is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the 2012 Corks and Crayons event. After reconnecting with Melissa Graham earlier this year after a career change, Kristin wanted to bring her expertise of event planning (in the past she was the coordinator for the Flower and Garden Show) to Purple Asparagus' annual fundraiser.


Kristin, who lives in Ukrainian Village, is most excited for the bigger, more open venue at the Greenhouse Loft, as well as the day-of activities. "Even if you don't know anyone, the event will be interactive," she says. "It's not just music, or just food and drinks - the activities we're planning will appeal to both kids and parents."


Her personal goal is to put on a sell-out event (which is looking likely), but either way she is proud to be part of the team that will set the foundation for future Corks and Crayons events and attract a wide-ranging audience of dedicated people.

Thank you for your continued support! Sincerely, Purple Asparagus
The Green Exchange Building | 2545 W. Diversey Ave. | Suite 203 | Chicago, IL 60647 | | 773.991.1920