I spent the early hours of Wednesday in the kitchen at the restaurant baking a few cobblers and icing a cake or two, amongst various other things. I’m slowly becoming more familiar with my little area in the kitchen and everything feels a little more fluid every day. Progress is progress, folks, no matter how small. I’m still so excited and in awe that I’m able to even be doing this in the first place. Oh yeah, I’m the pastry chef for my restaurant. In doing this, I am able to get the hands-on experience I need to take with me further in whatever direction my career goes. I am always learning something new and that is one of my favorite parts of the job. You know, outside of making delicious food for people to enjoy. I am fortunate that what I’ve made has been so well received and that I have the love and support from friends, family and guests.
Going back to where I was originally headed with this, I spent my early hours in the kitchen. I had planned on working as quickly and efficiently as possible so I could get out and enjoy the rest of my day. On a whim, I took a drive down a road I don’t normally use and, to my surprise, I came across the most darling place, ‘Burger’s Market‘. I frequent the area often and I can’t believe I never knew this existed, but I’ll definitely be heading back.
A bounty of herbs, flowers and other greenery greet you at the entrance of the building. I picked up small Rosemary and Oregano plants, as well as a Split Leaf Philodendron for the bedroom. They have a ton of small tomato plants that I have every intention of combing through because I really just love tomatoes so much. Speaking of tomatoes, they have beautiful heirlooms tomatoes. YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE THOSE!! I’m already thinking of new recipes for them, while pining for my Heirloom Tomato Galette I made and snacked on the majority of the summer last year (try it). I splurged on so many different little fruits and vegetables and found their prices to be incredibly reasonable. I walked out with a couple of pounds of snap beans, asparagus, plenty of ‘Silver Queen’ corn, a pungent bunch of garlic (all of which is going into a nice sauté), some pickling cucumbers (my love knows no bounds), green onions, Gala apples and cantaloupe. If you tally all of that up, plus the three plants, I spent just over $20. Not too shabby, if I say so myself.
There are so many benefits to buying locally grown produce, here are just a few:
- You have the opportunity to connect with the farms and people directly responsible for the produce you’re buying. Meeting and talking to farmers gives you a more in depth look at what it takes to produce the foods we eat.
- The fruits and vegetables taste the way they were meant to, having had the time to ripen on site with minimal travel. You also avoid the nasty chemicals, as many farmers practice sustainable techniques and minimally process their foods, so the health benefits are ovbvious!
- Exposure to a wide variety and array of fruits and vegetables your average super market wouldn’t normally carry. This, in turn, broadens both your horizons and palate! Plus, there is a theory I am currently investigating that states its healthiest to eat seasonally, so access to the produce is a huge plus.
- Supporting local businesses allows small, lesser known businesses to flourish and reap the direct benefits of the fruits of their labors. It allows the money being spent to be more efficiently used within the community directly, through the buying of supplies, advertising or or paying employees. With so many big corporations taking over the markets, buying local helps the small businesses who need it most. Many farmers practice organic methods to grow their produce, so it is also much better for the soil, as well as the environment.
‘Farm fresh’ isn’t just a term, it’s a lifestyle. By shopping local, we help preserve that way of life for future generations. Personally, I’ll take local produce over the mass produced stuff any day. I fell like we all feel the same, and yet, more and more small farms and family owned businesses are forced out of the business. I don’t know about you, but going to my local farmer’s market is more than just buying food, it’s taking a stroll outdoors on a nice day and meandering with friends or enjoying a quiet moment alone. It’s about exposing myself to the people responsible for the food in my kitchen and educating myself on what it takes to make it all happen. Who knows, maybe I’ll run off to a farm one day and host dinner parties. Crazier things have happened. Plus, as an added bonus, I always receive the best dinner ideas, tips and tricks from the cashiers at markets. I don’t know what it is, but I soak all of that information up. I love talking about new ways to prepare a well-loved fruit or veggie.
I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind right away, if at all. I have, however, spoken to a few of these farmers and know that the support we show them is felt and appreciated. I know and continue to educate myself about where what I use comes from. If I can help you along the way, that’s an added bonus as far as I’m concerned. The next time you come across a quaint little farmer’s market, I hope you’ll at least give it a try. Your pocketbook will thank you, your body will appreciate it and your community will love it.
My days recently have been busier than ever. From bartending to baking, I know I haven’t left as much time for blogging as I’d like. I promise I’ll be better about it, as soon as I get my schedule figured out. I’ve added another twenty or so hours to my already busy week, so this has all been a huge transition. One big, glorious transition that I am so fortunate to take part in. I told you I was going to move towards what I want this year. This is the first of many steps in what is fast becoming a rewarding experience. I have a few recipes in the backlog that need publishing, so I’ll slowly be working my way through those in the coming weeks. Thank you all, as always, for you continued kindness and support. You are the best. ♥