Farmers’ markets are more popular than ever these days, and wandering along from tent to tent looking at the dazzling array of fruits, vegetables, fresh eggs, seafood, and even artisan breads and jams, can quickly go from inspiring to overwhelming. These sites will help you make the most of the local harvest, year-round and by doing so, be healthy. What can you do with five pounds of rhubarb?
cook eat live local
Seattle couple, John and Patricia Eddy, spearheads this lovely site dedicated to an almost exclusively local diet. While not all of us are lucky enough to live in areas where a wide variety of food grows year-round, this blog might just prompt you to explore your own community, where you’re likely to meet goat farmers, beekeepers, and more. The two are honest and enthusiastic about their inspiration: the pursuit of crisp Tsugaru apples opened the doors to a world of fresh veggies, meats, fish, and dairy, all grown within a hundred miles of their home. The recipes are organized by ingredient, and there are typically several ways to prepare each dish, ranging from the traditional to the downright innovative: the Tomato Upside Down Cake seems right on time for our bumper crop, while the zucchini chips, fritters, and bread recipes relieve the feeling of panic that washes over me each time a well-meaning neighbor drops by with a bag full.
Cook Local Seasonal Recipes>>cooklocal.com
Check out their sister site as well>>seasonalcornucopia.com
Deb Perleman is one of those rare gems who seems to lie awake at night, plagued by thoughts such as: “Packaged breakfast foods are frightening. I wonder if I could make my own toaster pastries out of fresh fruit, real butter, and unbleached flour.” Then she gets up and makes it happen, takes gorgeous photographs of each step, and records with candor what went right and what went wrong. While she may have the advantage of perusing New York City’s vast farmer’s markets for ingredients, her teensy kitchen and her disdain of overly fussy, fancy dishes keep things down to earth. The recipes on her site are searchable by season, ingredient, type, or course, and generally riff on the traditional: think pesto potato salad with green beans for summer, sweet potato and sausage soup for fall, and a winter fruit salad that you’ll definitely want to include in your New Year’s Day brunch plans.
Avoid packaged food>>smittenkitchen.com
seasonal cooking made easy
Although the first thing you may notice on this site is the “Join” button on the top left side, many of the recipes are browse-able without having to sign in or give up your email address. Joining will give you access to the “members only” recipes. There is a free limited access membership in through which users can access the wide array of articles, the sites newsletter and podcast, and tutorials. This site’s greatest asset is the HUNDREDS of videos. Anyone can view them, and, while buying a membership will get you access to the written recipe, watching the videos should provide the novice cook with all the necessary information. The videos range from basics like how to make a béchamel sauce to elegant showstoppers like chocolate espresso pots du crème. Thrifty cooks, and domestic divas will love the “Cookonomics” section where Chef Snow demonstrates the ease of making recipe staples from scratch: everything from vinaigrettes to hand-rolled tortillas. The articles also cover a broad range of topics including gardening, food allergies, and press releases. There are also links to shop Harvest Eating’s line of culinary products like spice blends and barbeque sauces. This site is also an asset for anyone looking for special recipes to accommodate a dinner guest with special dietary needs, or simply creating family meals that everyone can enjoy: wheat and gluten-free recipes, low-fat and diabetic recipes, and vegetarian and vegan recipes abound at Harvest Eating.
hundreds of cooking videos>>harvesteating.com
Edible Paradise is a site created by members of the Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Certified Market, and the site is linked to the many participating local farms, featuring in-depth “Market Spotlight” articles showcasing local growers’ histories and specialties, complete with breath-taking photography. Each month is heralded by the pronouncement of a star ingredient, such as broccoli for March, several recipes featuring that ingredient—check out the dozen vinaigrettes to complement the late spring lettuces. An accompanying article that will answer questions you never knew you had about produce, for example, pak choi is Cantonese for “white vegetable.” The recipes are generally very fresh, relying on the quality and character of each ingredient to speak for itself, and are searchable by course and by type. A canning and preserving section will be a boon to anyone who finds herself neck-deep in figs or cucumbers, or to the cook who simply wishes to hang on to summer with sparkling jars of strawberry and peach jam.
farmers market recipes>>edibleparadise.com
The Seasonal Chef
finding and using locally produced food
Mark Thompson is the Seasonal Chef, and because he spends his time on both coasts, his site features articles, photos, and recipes from all over the country. This passion for scouring farmers markets began when, as a journalist, Thompson was reporting on a rift in the Santa Barbara farmers markets. Farmers were protesting the presence of vendors who were selling produce they didn’t grow. These sellers felt they had the right to offer whatever they liked, but eventually the farmers triumphed. The people who frequented the markets were there for the fresh, local goods. Thompson’s aim is to help keep farmers markets honest. His articles cover 26 states and parts of Canada, but the real reason to visit the site is the food. Here you will find practical and diverse recipes that will help you take advantage of each season’s bounty without fatigue. Try out the seven recipes for kale.
Cook Local Think Social
This blog has moxie. Kelly, the backyard gardener and culinary adventurer behind it can certainly turn a phrase. Her passion for good food comes to her honestly, and she reminisces about growing up in her grandmother’s kitchen, then spending two years in China. She makes no attempt to hide the fact that she has a hidden agenda: there’s even a heading for it, so it’s not very hidden at all. She wants to see Americans change the way they eat. Hers is a love for the fresh and simple, although complex flavors may be found in dishes like the ginger crab cakes with wasabi-cilantro aioli. Visit for the good-humored accounts of kitchen disasters, like this weeks eulogy for a failed sourdough starter. Stay for dinner.
social local food >>cooklocalthinksocial.com
The Sustainable Pantry
waste not want not
The Sustainable Pantry is a food blog based on the principle of “waste not, want not,” and on the idea that a well-stocked pantry is the key to getting the most bang for your buck with fresh seasonal produce. Alexa and Matthew are a New York couple who practice acupuncture and Chinese medicine; and while many of their recipes are vegetarian or vegan, there is a focus on local, sustainably farmed meats. Some of the recipes are very grassroots, like homemade ketchup (if you give it a try, you might find it’s well worth it). Some are fiscally modest to say the least—there’s a heading for budget, under which you will find a recipe for “leftovers pancakes,” a sort of stir-fry and egg scramble. Others are downright seductive: “L’Shana Tova Vanilla Peaches,” say it out loud. It’s poetic. And if that weren’t enough, this site might finally help you get to the bottom of a question that continues to plague health nuts an gourmands alike: what the heck is macrobiotic cooking?
waste not want not>>sustainablepantry.com