Free food & drink festival at Chicago French Market includes stage program featuring four renowned James Beard-nominated Midwest chefs

Chicago, Ill. – (April 5, 2016) – Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, together with Chicago French Market and presenting sponsor Specialty Food Association, will host the 6th Annual Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival, on Saturday, April 30 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Chicago French Market (131 N. Clinton Street).

One of the largest free events of its kind in the Midwest, the culinary affair celebrates nearly 100 talented and award-winning artisan producers and vendors of high-quality food and beverages. Participating cheesemakers, charcuterie and confection producers and other featured purveyors will meet and interact with guests and offer samples of small batch food, beer, spirits and wine throughout the day. The festival will accept a suggested $5 donation at the door with proceeds to equally benefit the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award, a scholarship fund for aspiring cheese professionals and Purple Asparagus, a Chicago non-profit that educates children, families and the community about eating. Featured producers include:

  • Food – Avalanche Cheese Company (CO), Boxcarr Handmade Cheese (NC), La Quercia Cured Meats (IA), Lemon Bird Preserves (CA)
  • Wine – Alloy Wine Works (CA), Firelands Winery (OH), Giornata (CA)
  • Beer/Spirits – Ale Syndicate (IL), CH Distillery (IL), Half Acre Beer Company (IL), Letherbee Distillers (IL)

In honor of the James Beard Awards Weekend, this year’s stage program will feature four renowned James Beard-nominated Chefs from the Midwest. They include Chicago’s own Chef Erling Wu-Bower of Paul Kahan’s Nico Osteria and Chef Tori Miller of Madison’s renowned L’Etoile. Guests will have the opportunity to hear these culinary thought leaders discuss their approach to sourcing product and their appreciation of artisan producers. The program includes:

  • 11:15am, Two-time James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes Finalist Chef Erling Wu-Bower of Nico Osteria with Shepherd’s Way
  • 12:00pm, Two-time James Beard Best Chef: Midwest Award Semifinalist Chef Dan Fox of Heritage Tavern with ‘Nduja Artisans Salumeria
  • 12:40pm, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, The Perfect Wisconsin Bite
  • 1:05pm, James Beard 2012 Best Chef: Midwest Award Winner Chef Tory Miller of L’Etoile and Graze with Landmark Creamery
  • 1:50pm, Four-time James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes Award Semifinalist Chef Paul Fehribach of Big Jones with Capriole Cheese
  • 2:30pm, Sarah Weiner, Executive Director, and Christina Schanz, Managing Director of Programs & Community, of the Good Food Awards, What IS Good Food? Panel Discussion

Greg O’Neill and Ken Miller, co-founders/co-owners of Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, created the annual event to shine a light on the Chicago French Market and all the great products available year-round from high-quality producers. Said O’Neill, “the festival is the perfect opportunity for guests to meet the passionate, talented producers who make these amazing foods and libations and to truly understand their stories and the hard work and passion that goes into making them. This year, we’re honored to have several James Beard Nominated Chefs attend to share their approach to sourcing product and their appreciation for artisan producers.”

Two-time James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes Finalist Chef Erling Wu Bower of Nico Osteria underscores the importance of the connection among the chef and artisan producer stating, “The personal relationship with the farmer, the artisan and the vendor is such an important part of the exchange. I love that I can affect the end product and that there is a belief, a philosophy, effort, sweat and blood behind it all. As a human being and a chef, I appreciate that there’s a face behind the product, and it’s such a happy convenience that the product ultimately tastes better.”

For those unable to attend this year’s festival, Pastoral will make the following gift collections available for purchase online at, in-store or by calling 800.721.4781. A full list of contents in each medley is available upon request.

  • Artisan Producer Festival Collection ($49.99), an impressive selection of some of the Festival’s most delicious treats
  • Artisan Producer Festival Deluxe Tour ($109.99), a selection of artisan cheeses, scrumptious confections and delicious accompaniments from the Festival

Metra will offer an $8 pass that includes unlimited rides for the weekend. Kids under 11 ride free. Parking lot is adjacent to Chicago French Market, with entrances at 164 N. Canal Street and 165 N. Clinton Street. Limited space available.

Pastoral and Chicago French Market are pleased to have the support of the following key sponsors:

  • Presenting Sponsor: Specialty Food Association
  • Partner Sponsors: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
  • National Media Sponsors: Edible Chicago and Culture Magazine
  • Supporting Sponsor: Zuercher & Co.

Participating Chicago French Market Vendors include:


For more information about the festival, including a complete list of participants, visit the official APF website #APF2016

About Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival

Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival is an annual culinary event in Chicago that gives guests the chance to meet artisan producers from around the globe, taste their products and celebrate small batch food, beer, spirits and wine. Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival is distinctive from most national and international culinary events of its kind because it is entirely free and open to the public. Pastoral created Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival as part of the company’s mission to make shopping for and consuming high-quality artisan goods enlightening, approachable, fun and delicious. Many of the products featured at Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival are sold in the Midwest exclusively at Pastoral. For more information on Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival, visit

About Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine

Founded in 2004 by Ken Miller and Greg O’Neill, Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine is a group of national award-winning neighborhood cheese, specialty food and wine shops offering the highest quality, cut-to-order domestic and international specialty cheeses, freshly baked breads, perfectly chosen accompaniments and small production wines, along with hand-crafted, cheese-loving beers and spirits. Pastoral also offers custom gift collections, gourmet sandwiches and salads, picnics and catering. Pastoral is committed to providing the highest level of service and education for customers, striving to make shopping for and consuming artisan goods enlightening, approachable, fun and delicious. Pastoral welcomes customers at four Chicago store locations, and ships nationwide at The Specialty Food Association named Pastoral “Outstanding Retailer of the Year” in 2007 and 2012. The Company’s first restaurant, Bar Pastoral, opened in 2012 and is an award winning, Michelin Guide recommended cheese & wine bistro located in Lakeview’s cozy neighborhood setting. In 2015, Pastoral opened Appellation, a wine bar and restaurant in Chicago’s vibrant Andersonville neighborhood.

About Chicago French Market

Chicago French Market is the City’s only year-round, European-style market offering fresh food, produce, flowers and international cuisine from more than 30 local vendors. Chicago French Market offers grab-and-go dining options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, light snacks, fruits and vegetables, picnics, easy party planning and catering options for home and office; a dining area for customers who wish to explore and relax at the Market; daily Happy Hours with food & drink specials and live music; groceries with fresh ingredients for cooking at home—plus flowers and gifts—all in one convenient location. The Bensidoun family, market operators in France since the early 1900s and now the largest market operators in Paris, operates and manages Chicago French Market. For more information, visit

About Specialty Food Association

The Specialty Food Association is a thriving community of food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs, who bring craft, care and joy to the distinctive foods they produce. Established in 1952 in New York, the not-for-profit trade association provides its 3,000 members in the U.S. and abroad the tools, knowledge and connections to champion and nurture their companies in an always-evolving marketplace. The Association owns and produces the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, and presents the sofi™ Awards honoring excellence in specialty food. Learn more at

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