Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

March 13, 2014

From The Farm: Learning to love local produce

“What do I do with that?”

It's the question my business partner, Jess Piskor, and I most often answer at farmer's markets.

Be it beets, fava beans, greens or yellow carrots, I love that question. It gives me an opportunity to wax poetic about a dinner that I made in the past few weeks. What I ate, how I would have changed it and how I hope the market goer will take it for a spin.

And that question is the impetus for this column, to explore the foods available at local markets and hopefully to excite people into shopping locally and creating dinner from the best of our agricultural community.

Knowing where your food comes from and whose hands grew it, makes me excited to eat it and share it with my family and friends. I’ve often found myself announcing before each dinner, which foodstuffs came from our farm and have yet to receive an eye roll for my pride.

The second goal for this column is to do a little showing — showing different cooking techniques applied to the same piece of produce to yield a different result.

We have a finite number of fruits, vegetables and proteins locally produced. For me the glory of food is not in the sheer number of raw inputs, but in how you can take the best of what’s around you and reinvent it time and again. And understanding basic cooking techniques makes creating dinner easier, faster, more fun and tastier.

Tastier not because you found the perfect recipe — perfectly memorized and perfectly cooked — but because you learned how to make the food bend to your tastes.

You’re in charge — not the cauliflower.

Cooking can be intimidating and it is embarrassing watching a loved one swallow hard and claim "I'm not that hungry anyway."

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