Think Local!!

June 16, 2009

One of the greatest pleasures of my life is going to the local farmers’ markets. I typically get up very early every Saturday morning (I am NOT a morning person, so this is a big deal) and go to two markets, one on either side of town. When I first moved here, I was introduced to the larger market in Minneapolis. There, one could buy citrus fruits in July and peaches in June…clearly produce that had not originated anywhere close to where it was being sold. While there is something tempting about buying a wide variety of produce, at cheaper prices, from some people who tout themselves as being “farmers,” I have since moved towards the smaller markets that require all sellers grow or create their wares in the area. Last Saturday I purchased locally “grown” Alfalfa honey, gorgeous non-sprayed strawberries, kale, garlic, and spinach. I love the process of thinking what I am going to create with my organic treasures that have been created not too far from my home.

On Sunday morning I found myself in a quandry.  I was getting ready to make ice cream for this week’s TWD challenge. I had purchased 6 large, beautifully fragrant nectarines at my local Whole Food Market late in the day on Saturday. While they were quite hard, I was certain that they would be ripe in time for me to churn them into ice cream. However, by the time I was ready to go, they would still not give to my touch. What to do? I began to worry at the thought of altering the recipe too much. Would it “count” if I used my beautiful, local strawberries in a recipe that said nothing about berries? Was I being too radical in my approach to the ice cream? None of the other TWD bloggers seemed to be considering any other fruits besides peaches, nectarines, or apricots (until yesterday, anyway). I decided to take a risk and move forward with my plans! I would make ice cream that honored the fruits that are grown here, rather than those from thousands of miles away. My risk turned out to be successful. I used a quart of strawberries, heated them with the honey (the local alfalfa honey purchased at the market) and followed Dorie’s recipe, for the most part, from there on out (I confess, I added a half teaspoon of kirsch to keep the ice cream from getting too hard). The results were luscious. The honey and strawberries seem to combine perfectly, with neither out-singing the other. The texture was smooth and creamy and we have enjoyed the ice cream over three days. Often I find that homemade ice cream loses its allure after the first day and I will throw out a previously made batch that has sat in the freezer for several months with no takers, completely covered in ice crystals. Once again, my TWD “baking” has taught me a lesson…trust your intuition and think local!


One Response to “Think Local!!”

  1. Mary Says:

    I’m glad you tried strawberries. I told a coworker I would bake him something with strawberries, and now I am thinking of doing this ice cream instead. Thanks for the inspiration!

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