We recently got a new local foods cookbook. The author is Elizabeth Bailey who happens to be one of our former farmers’ market customers (back when we were attending the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market). It’s called Maritime Fresh: Delectable recipes for preparing, preserving and celebrating local produce.’
Elizabeth was always the perfect market customer: enthusiastic about eating seasonal foods and kind and supportive to us as young farmers! It’s no surprise that she’s come out with a book that could be subtitled ‘How to be an awesome farmers’ market or CSA customer.’ I love how she lays out good information without overwhelming while definitely inspiring. One secret she shares which is so true is that “some of the most exciting, unusual, and delicious items come to the market in small amounts and, if the market begins at 8:00, they are gone by 8:10, the farmer will have filled in the spaces they occupied on their tables, and you’ll never even know what you missed.”
The recipes are organized by produce type which is very useful. For example, right now at the farm, we have lots of radishes and greens (I think having a section on Greens rather than each individual green was a smart one since they are so interchangeable in the kitchen) as well as some frozen peas and rhubarb from last year’s harvest so we’ve been able to just flip to those sections. There are no awkward moments in the radish section where you realize you’ll also need eggplant for the recipe, but it’s not that (wonderful) eggplant time of year. Elizabeth really understands seasonal, local foods. She understands the growing of them and preparing of them. And she also gets being busy. This is one of those books I think every CSA member or farmers’ market shopper should have in their house. I think our Market Food Club members would love this book. I think all gardeners and farmers should have a copy.
Elizabeth writes “this book is designed to help you cook with what you have, rather than purchase what you cook” which is one of the most useful skills to cultivate for local food lovers. I love seeing people at the market choose foods that catch their eye rather than follow a grocery list.
The recipes we’ve tried have been amazing (Pan Fried Radishes on page 183, Caramelized Rhubarb Jam on page 187, Sesame Garlic Greens on page 116, and Dilly Peas on page 163). They’ve all been simple and delicious. They’ve really all been about celebrating the vegetables…not trying to hide them amongst a jumble of ingredients and sauces.
I love that this book has a Maritimes focus and was written by someone we know and admire.
Another thing I love about this book is the pictures! It’s hard to take really great pictures of prepared dishes and make them look as amazing in the picture as they do on the table (too bad you can’t capture the wonderful kitchen smells too…). Of course, pictures of fresh fruit and vegetables really get you excited about eating them (which is helpful for those who struggle to eat their recommended 10 fruit and vegetables per day). The photographer Kelly Neil did a great job! Her photos have inspired me to try to take better pictures of the meals we create and of course of our vegetables in the fields and at market.
As this season progresses, I’m looking forward to each new vegetable being ready to harvest and finding the accompanying recipes to try out.
The book’s publisher, Nimbus Publishing, is also local. This book which focuses on local food from local farmers, written by a local author, with a local photographer and published by a local publisher is a wonderful example of the kind of world I want to live and farm in.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have.