Heirloom Radishes and Leaning Shed Farm

I bring to you another awesome story of the farmers of the Green City Market. I wish everyone could come with me on Saturday morning to see this wonderful market. Because if you are reading this blog, chances are you love food (or you just love me), and if you love food you would love the market. Fresh baked breads, creamy cheeses, bright and juicy berries and all sorts of leafy greens. Not only that, but you have the smoothie guy, the tamale girl, the breakfast sandwich people.... the list goes on. A fabulous way to begin your Saturday morning. Each week you see the variety of fresh produce change as the summer progresses. These past few weeks, the radishes have been popping up, and it was time to stake my claim.

The folks at Leaning Shed Farm were my victims this week, and what an awesome story they had to share with me. Dave Dyrek and his wife Denise live in the Humbolt Park neighborhood of Chicago, and own a 30 acre farm in Berrien Springs, MI. Mark and Denise bought the farm in 2004 as a vacation home with a small garden, which quickly turned into an all out farm. The Dyrek's owned a heating & AC company for 21 years, and when Dave started it he pledged that he would move on when he was 45. When Dave turned 47, he sold the company and now works full time on the farm when in season. I hope my life planning goes that well.

The small farm usually has about 4 helpers, and grow an heirloom variety of vegetables. When I think of heirloom I think of tomatoes, but didn't really know what it meant. An heirloom variety is sometimes defined as a variety grown for 50 years or more, and non-hybrid. Unlike hybrids, heirlooms have often been selected for flavor potential and eating quality.

As for the Leaning Shed's list of celebrity buyers?? The Alinea team! And I just missed them by 15 minutes. So close to fame...... Rats! They provide for some of the most amazing restaurants Chicago has to offer. To see the full listing of restaurants where you can find some serious heirloom goodness, check out their website here.  And for an even more delicious variety of recipes (yea even better than the food at Alinea) check out my recipes for radishes!

Fresh Radish Baguette with Genoa Salami

5 radishes (your favorite variety, rinsed, trimmed, and thinly sliced)
1 fresh baguette
1 brick Neufchâtel cheese (or cream cheese)
1/4 lb Genoa salami (thinly sliced)
2 tsp celery salt
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice baguette in half and place on baking sheet. Toast in oven for 10 minutes, until it just starts to crisp up and brown. Smear the whole block Neufchâtel cheese over the 2 baguette halves. Sprinkle sea salt, pepper and celery salt over the cheese. Next, push the radish pieces into the cheese, covering the bread. On top of all the ingredients, fold the salami slices in half over the whole loaf. That's it! Simple and delicious.

You could easily leave off the salami to make it vegetarian friendly. Make sure you use lots of radishes to give it a crunchy and bright flavor. I served this meal as an appetizer at a cook out party and it was a hit. The recipe highlights the fresh spiciness of radishes, but tames the heat with the creamy cheese.

Roasted Radish and Potato Salad

10-15 radishes  (your favorite variety, rinsed, trimmed, and halved or quartered depending on size)
3 medium Yukon potatoes (rinsed and cut into bite size pieces
1/4 red onion (thinly sliced)
2 tbsp prepared horseradish
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. Empty potatoes onto a foil lined baking sheet, and place in the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes. In the same mixing bowl, toss the radishes in olive oil, salt and pepper. Empty into an oven-safe saute pan, or another foil lined baking sheet, and pop into the oven for about 10 minutes, or until radishes are softened.

As the potatoes and radishes are roasting, mix together your dill sour cream sauce in a large mixing bowl. Follow the recipe from the linked post. The only variation is to add the 2 tbsp of horseradish to the sauce.

Remove the potatoes and radishes from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, add the roasted vegetables and fresh onion to the dill sauce. Let cool in a refrigerator and serve on a nice summer day!


  1. Katie,
    When you guys are ready to start a farm, we will come and help. Only you have to let me start a farm school for nearby children (education + free labor = end of world hunger.) And also I want to grow flowers that we can use to dye our own wool, from our farm sheep!!!

    Cousin Mandy

  2. Mandy- You will be the first to know. Every community needs some natural clothing dye.

  3. Hi-love your radish post! I just started roasting radishes this summer and am intrigued by using them in a potato salad. I'll have to try that!


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