December 2015
Looking for an unusual food gift that the kids can help make. How about mustard? Sweet gifts are great, but they tend to have limited utility. Thor's Spicy Mustard will provide months of tasteful joy for its recipient.

Thor's Spicy Mustard
Makes 6 4-ounce jars

1 cup brown mustard seeds
¼ cup yellow mustard seeds
1 ¼ cups white wine vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup mustard powder
1 cup water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the mustard seeds in a medium bowl with the white wine and vinegar. Let sit, covered, at room temperature for 2 days. Whisk together the mustard powder and water and let sit for ½ hour. Scrape the soaked seeds into the bowl of a food processor, add all the remaining ingredients, and puree until the mustard is creamy. Package in 4 ounce jars.
The holidays are always busy here at Purple Asparagus, as I'm sure they are for all of you. From giving demonstrations at classrooms around Chicago to baking treats and connecting with friends and loved ones, it can be a bit hectic. But we always try to build in a little bit of time for relaxation to close out 2015, and hope you'll remember to do the same.
Achieving this balance also inspires us to slow down from the day-to-day hustle and focus on the goals we envision for Purple Asparagus 2016. We made so much progress last year with our strategic planning efforts and look forward to implementing them and taking our organization to the next level in the coming year. We have some new opportunities and partnerships coming in the works that are sure to reach even more students in 2016.

While we enjoy the stillness - and craziness - of the season, we wanted to share with you some recent news and upcoming events. We also hope that you'll consider supporting our annual appeal by making a year end donation here. No gift is too small and ANY amount makes a difference!

Hope to see you soon!  
Melissa Graham 
Head Spear, Purple Asparagus


Save the date! The next Corks & Crayons event will take place on June 12, 2016. We're moving back to Uncommon Ground and including all of the favorites you've come to know and love with a silent auction, live music and activities for kids. All proceeds from the event benefit Purple Asparagus.
Also, stayed tuned for a new adult only fundraising event for Purple Asparagus at Revel Downtown on February 3, 2017.

If you'd like to help with either event, please email us at

Volunteer Spotlight: Laura Mueller

One of our newest board members is Laura Mueller, who has been tapped as the fundraising events committee chair. With a background in marketing and events (as well as a natural-born party planner) Laura will help guide Purple Asparagus as it transitions its fundraising efforts in 2016 and beyond.
While the Purple Asparagus mission remains the same, how we function as an organization and raise funds is evolving. Laura has been tasked with planning Corks & Crayons in June 2016, as well as an all-new, adults-only fundraising event on February 3, 2017 to expand Purple Asparagus' donor base.
For years, Laura worked in cruise ships, on land and as the fundraising chair for Chicago Public Schools where she organized major fundraising events such as Yogapalooza, Casino Royale, etc. With an extensive knowledge of and relationships with venues and vendors in Chicago, she brings a wealth of experience that will help Purple Asparagus expand its reach into more schools and into other organizations that need help.
"I love the concept of Purple Asparagus, and think it's so important," said Laura. "There's no longer home economics in schools anymore, but learning what to do with food and how to cook is never outdated. This is a big hole that Purple Asparagus fills."
Laura grew up on farm, where her mother grew much of what they ate in the backyard and thrived on seasonal cooking and getting fresh ingredients from the nearby farmers markets. So her involvement with Purple Asparagus was naturally a good fit.
"I love that kids learn cooking is not a chore, it's not just in a microwave, and it doesn't have to be complicated transforming things into something that tastes great and makes their body happy. These are skills they'll have for the rest of their lives." 

Donor Spotlight

Name : Jessica Schultz
Senior Manager, Community Engagement, Hyatt Hotels

How did Hyatt become involved with Purple Asparagus?

One of Hyatt's colleagues at the corporate office is a volunteer for your organization's annual fundraiser and brought the opportunity to work with Purple Asparagus to our Corporate Responsibility Team. We then scheduled a time to job shadow one of the classes at Horace Greeley Elementary School back in April, and we were inspired by the engagement and excitement of the first grade students. We knew that this could be a great program for Hyatt's adopted school, Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center.
What do you like about the Purple Asparagus mission?

We like the Purple Asparagus flagship program and its focus of bringing healthy foods to life for kids in elementary school classrooms and at home. Additionally, we thought the program would be a great extension of the Learning Garden we built at the school and help promote healthy eating habits in the Back of the Yard's community.
How do you partner with Purple Asparagus?

We are partnering with Purple Asparagus for the first time to offer the Delicious Nutritious Adventures Programming at Cesar Chavez for the 2015/2016 school year. This nutrition program will be offered to the first grade classrooms so the students can learn about healthy eating and nutrition and engage their families in eating healthier foods.
How does Hyatt's brand aligns with Purple Asparagus?

At Hyatt, we are dedicated to the people in our local communities and want to help them be their best. We encourage our hotels to work closely with local farmers and suppliers. In addition to supporting our neighbors, this provides our guests with the freshest seasonal ingredients and minimizes our impact on the environment. We also take an active role in our communities by sponsoring, hosting and participating in farmer's markets. We donate to schools, as well as visit them, sharing our knowledge on healthy food and healthy living. 

Thank you   Hyatt Hotels!

If your company would like to support Purple Asparagus in a similar manner, please contact us at

Looking for a Few Good Spears
LEAD INSTRUCTORSWant to step inside the classroom to take kids on Delicious Nutritious Adventures?  Purple Asparagus is always looking for a few good spears to join us in the classroom as lead instructors who can commit to spending a half-day in the classroom once a month. If you are a chef or a good home cook who loves to work with kids and have even the slightest interest in this role, please contact Stephen Landfear at
or 312.906.7622 for a more detailed discussion.
GIRL SCOUT ASSISTANTS: Purple Asparagus will begin a collaboration with Girl Scouts during the school year to offer cooking programs for second-and third-grade Brownies. Please email if you have interest in helping us with this pilot program from January through early June.
EVENT COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Purple Asparagus is seeking fun and creative individuals to serve on its event committee members, which will plan both Corks & Crayons 2016 and our new fundraiser on February 3, 2017. If you're interested in learning more, please contact us at

Thank you for your continued support! Sincerely, Purple Asparagus
The Green Exchange Building | 2545 W. Diversey Ave. | Suite 203 | Chicago, IL 60647 | | 773.991.1920

Thank you to Erin Sarris of Spun Copy