Sugar Beet Gets Sweet in July

 Senator Don Harmon and Sugar Beet Founder Cheryl Munoz at the Hard Hat Open House in May.

Senator Don Harmon and Sugar Beet Founder Cheryl Munoz at the Hard Hat Open House in May.

By Laurie Casey

After several years of very hard work, the Sugar Beet Co-op is ready to host its Grand Opening on Friday, July 31. The Sugar Beet is a cooperatively owned, full-service grocery store at 812 Madison St., in Oak Park.  The store will be open to everyone for shopping and special tastings from local vendors and farmers on July 31, starting at 8 a.m.  Sugar Beet Co-op owners can also participate in behind-the-scenes tours and take advantage of special offers and give-aways from Friday, July 31, to Sunday, August 2.

The mission of the co-op is to support locally grown foods--by area farmers or residents in their own backyards. Why is it so important to eat local? Fresher taste, better nutrition and less packaging are just a few reasons.

Learn more about the Sugar Beet Co-op and the benefits of eating local at http://sugarbeetcoop.squarespace.com.

Edible Garden Tour

One of the Sugar Beet's main objectives is to teach people about the health benefits of fresh, locally grown produce. The Sugar Beet Edible Garden Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 25.

It's your chance to peek into the edible gardens of neighbors in Oak Park, River Forest and Austin. Explore 14 private gardens to find knowledge and inspiration to grow your own food. Cycling from garden to garden is encouraged. Kids are FREE, but no dogs, please.

New this year: order delicious boxed lunches in advance with your tickets. Pick them up at the co-op or at beautiful Cheney Mansion in Oak Park, where you are welcome to picnic on the grounds. Choices include: Vegan, Vegetarian or Chicken. Each box includes a drink and dessert.

Register for tickets here: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1726584. You may also purchase tickets and pick up maps the day of the tour from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Sugar Beet Food Co-op at 812 Madison St., in Oak Park.

All Green Community Connections friends: come out and support Oak Park's new co-op! Not a member yet? Contact Cheryl at the Sugar Beet: cheryl@sugarbeetcoop.com

Thank you to Susanne Fairfax Media for photography.