Healthy Reviews

Get ‘Local Foods’ All Year Long in Chicago

June 16, 2016


I love farmer’s markets. Come summer, you have this short window of opportunity to actually face the people who make your food. The farmers, the gardeners, the bakers and the artisans. They give you samples, they smile, they slip you a tomato on the house, and you can’t wait to go home and take a bite out of the freshest cucumber, peach, or blueberry you’ve had all year. Because it didn’t come from across the country, from some unknown source. It came from a nearby farm. And that makes all the difference.  

Living in Chicago, I have accepted this type of “grocery shopping” experience as a special occasion. Come Labor Day, it’s time to say goodbye to all your local foods.

Or so I thought. Until I discovered Local Foods.


Local Foods is not a grocery store. It’s a public market for local food open ALL YEAR LONG.


It has a sustainable whole-animal butcher shop, tons of local fruits and vegetables – each labeled by their farm and location, a café featuring all local produce and kombucha ON TAP.


You should have seen me on my first visit there. My head was spinning I was so excited. I actually finished shopping, loaded up my car, then upon further thought, went back in to pick up the rest of my groceries that I had originally intended on getting elsewhere.


I could go on forever about the place (and probably will in future posts, and definitely on my Instagram page), but I want to spend some time today telling you about the hidden gem of a butcher tucked inside Local Foods. Just like a Farmer's Market, you can't necessarily go to their website to find out everything you need to know. Your best bet is to ask the purveyors themselves. So that's what I did. Below you'll find everything you need to know about the coolest, healthiest, most delicious butcher shop in town. Exclusive to 🙂

Meet: The Butcher & Larder


On their website, this is how they explain who they are:

Chicago’s first sustainable whole-animal butcher shop, led by Rob Levitt and his crew, produces the best steaks, sausages, charcuterie and other meat goodies the Midwest has to offer.

But there's so much more to it than that. Here's my experience:

All of their beef, lamb, pork and chicken are pasture raised. This means that they are raised out on the pasture (grass), but some are also fed corn for added flavor. A rare, rare find (at least in the Midwest) from a grocery store. Even Whole Foods only has select options for grass-fed meat or pasture-raised chicken. I've written a past post about the importance of grass-fed here. But just know that what your food eats is just as important as what your food is. 

Just like a farmer’s market, you actually get to know where your meat is coming from! Upon special request from the nice people at Local Foods (thank you Michelle and Andrew!), they have provided me with the source of all their meat. 

Ladies and Gentleman, meet your meat…

La Pryor Farm Beef
Ottowa ,IL
**Pasture-raised and pasture grained**
Never treated with any hormones or antibiotics
Mark and Kristin Boe have developed their own breed of cattle – Fleckveih and Black Angus cross. The family grows non-GMO corn on their farm exclusively for feeding their animals. The corn is cracked and mixed with hay and set out in the pasture to give the animals a natural way to eat grain while roaming the pasture.

La Pryor Farm Pork
Ottowa, IL
**Pasture-raised and pasture-grained**
Never treated with any hormones or antibiotics
Mark and Kristin purchased a rare herd of old line Duroc hogs from a family in Texas. Crossing the breed with Hampshire, they have created a unique breed that has “Superior marbling and a flavor like no other.”

Gunthorp Farm
LaGrange, IN
**Day range on grass and clover pastures, supplemented with corn and soybeans**
Never treated with any hormones or antibiotics
Gunthorp Farms raises Cornish Cross chickens on pasture. They have forty-six acres with chickens in the growing season.  A farm in Goshen, Indiana raise the just-hatched chicks in a hatchery, then they spend their first 3-4 weeks of their lives in a brooding barn under Gunthorp family management. They are then moved out to pasture.

Ferndale Turkey Farm
Cannon Falls, MN
No antibiotics or artificial growth hormones
**Free-Range during warmer months**
No shortcuts. Dale Peterson and his wife, Fern, live by these words. With 75 years and three generations of farming, the Petersons take pride in growing turkeys the way their farm’s namesakes (and nature) intended.  Their well-loved animals are fed their natural diet of grains, vitamins and minerals from a local feed mill.

Viking Lamb
Morristown, IN
**Exclusively pasture-raised**
Never treated with any hormones or antibiotics
Viking lamb raises wonderful lambs for meat, but a majority of their focus is specializing their breed and selling them to other farmers.


Because it’s a whole animal butcher, you can get ANY part of the animal. Meaning for crazies like me, I can easily get liver, sweetbreads and heart (GREAT fertility foods, more on that later). But even for the less crazies, it means unusual and custom cuts of meat, along with super decadent options like bone marrow, pates and homemade bone broths.


Did you ever watch the Brady Bunch growing up? Remember Sam the butcher? Alice’s bestie (well, with benefits ;). They’re like the 21st century version of him. Ask them anything about the meat, where it came from, what is a mortadella (Italian sausage made of finely ground pork and rich spices like pepper and pistacios)? They won’t make you feel stupid AT ALL. Plus, they encourage you to call ahead of time with special requests. For example, things like chicken liver and heart (don’t get grossed out; it’s really good for you) are not always readily available. But they will be if you just give them a heads up. 

Overall, this place just gives me happy vibes every time I go. From the bright and sunshiny setting, to the delicious samples handed out by passionate vendors, to the always-smiling bag man at checkout. This is my new happy place, and if you live in the area, I hope it can be yours too.

Local Foods
1427 W. Willow, Chicago, 60642
phone: 312.432.6575
butcher: 312-583-7263 x122

Open Everyday
Weekdays 11am-8pm
Weekends 9am-6pm


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Much Love,


p.s. I did NOT get paid to write this post. I just have a lot of love for this place and want as many people to shop and eat local as possible. 


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