I am not a chef but an ordinary guy who likes good food trying to plan, cook, and eat healthier meals. When Sandy has planned a special meal or two for the week, she gives me a list of items to buy at the Farmers Market or comes after she gets off work at 5:00 and selects the items herself. Sometimes, however, I am on my own. My tendency is to buy what is in-season at the Farmers Market because it looks and tastes good without having a plan for the meals I will prepare with or around those foods. As a result, I buy a lot of food that sits in the refrigerator or on the counter until it is no longer fresh. Worst case scenario is that it ends up in my composter and makes fertilizer for my garden. That is not a very efficient use of locally grown food. That experience causes me to buy less from the farmers at the market but to end up having to eat out more or run to the grocer to purchase items for our meals hours before we eat them.
How much more efficient and healthier would it be to plan menus around fresh, in-season, locally grown food and to purchase menu items from the Farmers Market? Therefore, I issue a challenge to other ordinary food consumers, more experienced home cooks than I am, and to chefs and dietitians to develop tasty, nutritious menus using in-season locally grown foods. As a life-long eater and amateur 2nd tier cook in my house, I have developed the following meal ideas to help guide my purchases at the Farmers Market. Until you more creative cooks offer better ideas, when it is my turn to cook meals, I will use the following as a guide to make purchases from the Farmers Market.
- Free range eggs any style, toasted sourdough bread, honey, goat cheese, fresh fruit, served with a strawberry smoothie
- French toast using homemade bread, honey, and organic butter, served with organic milk. Eat along with your favorite organically grown cereal.
- Southwest omelet using free range eggs, peppers, organic cheese, homemade salsa, served with gourmet coffee
- Toasted cranberry-spice bread, organic butter, strawberry jelly or honey, goat cheese, with hot or iced tea. Eat along with organic oatmeal topped with cream or whole milk from an organic dairy.
- Boiled free range egg, homemade pimento cheese on toasted sourdough bread, gourmet coffee. Meat-eaters add bacon or sausage.
- Organic chicken salad using a variety of organic, natural, and hydroponic lettuce and spinach; ice-cream for dessert.
- Wagyu beef burger on homemade bread topped with onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and homemade salsa with sautéed spinach and collards. Strawberry shortcake for dessert using glutton free biscuits topped with custard and fresh berries.
- Cubed steak, collard, spinach, kale boil, sautéed squash-onion-broccoli mix, tomato and organic lettuce salad, sweet rolls.
- Chicken pot pie using organic chicken and broth, carrots, sweet peas, new potatoes diced, on a glutton free pie crust.
- Wagyu sirloin tip roast using 7-up, garlic clove, bay leaves, and seasonings, cooked with carrots, potatoes, and onions; salad of mixed greens topped with strawberries; ice-cream for dessert.
Accept the challenge. Post your locally grown in-season home menu here. It will help all of us, growers and eaters alike, know what to grow, what to buy, and what to cook that we and our households will actually eat.