LocalHarvest Newsletter, June 27, 2013

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

We've been hearing from many LocalHarvest users who are facing a new challenge, and this month we hope to help address it. As more and more people sign up for a CSA or decide to shop at the farmers market, they find themselves faced with an unforeseen conundrum: what to do with all the produce! No one likes to waste food, and few people can pull veggies out of the frig and just start cooking, especially when their local farmers are introducing them to members of the plant kingdom that are entirely unfamiliar. ("Errr.... what is this thing and how on Earth do you eat it?") This month we are offering a few resources to help answer two of summer's persistent questions: what else can you do with kale? And, what's for supper?

The first cookbook is a new publication from the creators of the popular From Asparagus to Zucchini, A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce, previously featured here and relied upon by many. The new book is called Farm-Fresh and Fast: Easy Recipes and Tips For Making the Most of Fresh, Seasonal Foods. In addition to all the new recipes, this book is valuable for its unique organization. Fruits and vegetables are grouped by anatomical type (e.g. leafy greens, roots) so that readers can learn how to make appropriate substitutions within like types. Each section also includes several "master recipes" from which home cooks can absorb the basic template for making, say, a blended vegetable soup, and then venture off on their own. If you like From Asparagus to Zucchini, you'll love Farm-Fresh and Fast.

A second cookbook featuring myriad ideas for using fresh produce is Cooking from the Farmers' Market. This one is full of beautiful full-color photos, making the paging through a pleasure in and of itself. Organized by major produce ingredient, sweet recipes are interspersed with savory, so "Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Chutney" and "Tangy Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie" share a page. This arrangement is ideal for those coming home from the market with a couple of bags of produce and no particular plan, as all the recipes for one item are grouped together.

Finally, I want you to know about another great book called Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets, by well-known chef and cookbook author, Deborah Madison. Madison visited markets all across the country and then wrote a cookbook that is as beautiful as it is informative. The 350 recipes are top notch. This is food my family and I like to eat.

If you're taking your commitment to eating local, seasonal food to a new level this year, or need a shot of inspiration after a few years of eating local, set yourself up for success: get a good cookbook. We recommend the ones mentioned above, but also encourage you to look for regional cookbooks focused on the fresh produce that grows in your area; there are sure to be a few excellent ones on your bookseller's shelves. Having appealing recipes at your fingertips takes the intimidation out of working with vegetables that are new to you, and makes the process of cooking even your old standbys something to look forward to.

Thanks to the publishers of the first two books mentioned in this article, we have five copies of each to give away to lucky LH newsletter readers! Sign up for the giveaway by midnight on Tuesday, July 9. If you're one of our randomly chosen winners, I'll be in touch the following week!

Until next time, take good care and eat well.

Erin Barnett


CSA members love it. It smooths operations and saves CSA farmers time and money. What is it?

CSAware, LocalHarvest's CSA management software! If you have a CSA farm and would like to see the software, let us know. We'd be happy to show it to you.

From the LocalHarvest Store:

Many people enjoy a little meat aside their vegetables, especially when in grilling weather. If you're looking for high quality meat direct from a family farmer, look no further.

Green walnuts are a hard-to-find ingredient in some old-fashioned gourmet liquors including nocino and vin de noix. If you like to make such things, LocalHarvest can be your source for green walnuts, for a limited time only.

Planning a summer wedding? Many people are choosing fragrant dried lavender as wedding toss. We have some available here! Going to a summer wedding? A LocalHarvest gift certificate makes the perfect gift!

Farm-Fresh Food: "Orecchiette with Kale, Chickpeas & Sausage"... sort of

Adapted from Cooking From the Farmers' Market

The thing about cooking is that often people don't have the exact ingredients called for in a recipe. As noted above, some new cookbooks set out to help home cooks learn how to make acceptable substitutions. What I've found over my years in the kitchen is that I've become increasingly more comfortable using a recipe as a theme from which to create variations. Recipe...