The minute the air gets crisp and summer segues into fall, we start thinking soup. A tasty showcase for locally grown, organic, and other impeccable produce, soup is truly the gardener’s (and the gardener’s friends’) friend, an easy way to enjoy the bounty of the harvest.

With visions of bisques and broths dancing in our heads, we invited a dream team of some of the city’s most environmentally conscious cooks, bakers, sommeliers, and grocers to put together a green-spirited party for us. Soups were provided by North Pond’s chef/co-owner Bruce Sherman (a founding member of Chicago’s Green City Market, he receives farm deliveries daily at his restaurant) and Michael Altenberg, chef/owner of Bucktown’s trendy pizza joint Crust (the first certified organic restaurant in the Midwest) and of Lincoln Square’s cozy Bistro Campagne (where his executive chef, Daniel Jacobs, uses organic ingredients whenever possible for his classic French fare).

(left) Save a tree: Make your own invitation (like this one); take a digital photo of it, and email it to your friends.(right) Pick up some crisp vanilla and chocolate Busy Bee cookies, $2 each, from Bleeding Heart Bakery, 1955 W. Belmont Ave., 773-327-6934.

Michelle Garcia, owner of Bleeding Heart Bakery, the first certified organic bakery in the city, brought the most stylin’ and delicious cookies we’ve had in a while. And finally, the folks at Pastoral (312-658-1250;, an upscale cheese and wine shop with locations in the Loop and in Lake View, contributed organic cheese, bread, and wines. We kept the table rustic, decorated with just the sort of berries and twigs you’ll readily find outside your door this fall, with brown butcher paper for a runner.

Our goal was to be mindful: to use seasonal ingredients purchased from independent farmers and shops, and to avoid waste. And to be delicious!

Click on the menu for three recipes to help you construct a special evening that’s focused on being respectful to the planet—and purely enjoyable for your guests. 

The Menu

Late-Season Roasted
Tomato Soup

Clos Chanteduc, Côtes du Rhône, 20

Apple-Leek Soup with
Herbed Goat
Cheese Gnocchi

Pairing: Milton Chenin Blanc, 2005 

North African–inspired Sweet Potato Soup
Pairing: Two Brothers’
Domaine DuPage
French Country Ale

Additional Ideas: Organic peasant
loaf and multigrain
wreath bread and
Busy Bee cookies



Photography: Tyllie Barbosa
Styling: Barri Leiner