Friday, July 5, 2013

Good Food...It Really is Out There, So Go Look!!

Greetings on a happy 4th of July! Well the title pretty much sums up what I am writing about today. Since beginning my journey on the cookbook, I have begun to travel to different Farmers Markets. Each one is located nearby to home and it has been such fun taking the time to talk and meet many different people. This past Wednesday I paid a visit to the market in Dedham and I have to say that it was a great time with lots of energy and enthusiasm. My oldest son was with me and he had a blast talking to people, grabbing a few samples and watching videos of caramel being made!! An addition to the cookbook that he insists should be included.

Before we get into the fun stuff and learn about the vendors and people at the Market...I have to give you a fair warning that I used my phone for taking some of the pictures and they may not look that hot! I am also going to be going away from the book at the end of the blog because I want to send some love out to Pirate Lemonade...Arghhhhh (that last bit should be read with a pirate voice in your head)

The Dedham Farmers Market is home to many different vendors and I was really impressed with the variety and quality of the products and people. Everyone I spoke with was more than willing to discuss their products and offered suggestions and encouragement for my book project. The ideas and inspiration were flowing all the way around and if you are in that neck of the woods or just want a few hours to visit the downtown area, you  are in for a good time! Visit the Facebook page for the Market by clicking here.

After grabbing some fresh produce and other goodies I would also suggest a trip down High St. to the Dedham Square Artist Guild. You can find one of a kind items at the small store including stunning photography, hand-made pottery, jewelery and glass works! Supporting local artists and craftsmen is something that we should all do and the products are ones which will create memories and last a lifetime. Visit them at www.dedhamguild.com

It is a well documented fact that my sweet tooth was captured a couple of years ago by my friend Maureen and the team of Cupcake Mojo. I came across perhaps the only person who might be able to say that she could match Mojo and pull me away from the cupcakes I love so much! Meet Nancy from Pie on The Fly, this was one of the most interesting ideas I have seen in a really long time! Nancy uses all top notch ingredients to make delicious pie fillings, chills them down and serves it all up inside of a waffle cone! If you want she will even dip the cone into chocolate and coat it with crushed cookies or candy pieces. This is a new idea for Nancy who has only been in business for a short time and she sells out in short order as well. With flavors like Key Lime, Fresh Strawberry, Banana Cream, Chocolate Banana Cream and traditional Apple it is surprising to find anyone who can resist the lure of this tasty treat. Before I forget though, she also has fillings made so that it doesn't stretch the waistline either...because for all you calorie and point counters...it is only 2 points! Feel free to reach out to Nancy with this email address nancy@pieonthefly.net


This wasn't the only sweet treat to get my attention though. I have a few recipes that use caramel as an ingredient and my favorite one, which is slotted for the book is Caramel Crumb Apple Pie!! So imagine my surprise when I came around the corner and found my jaw dropping to the ground at the sight of McCrea's Candies. It is seldom that I am at a loss for words, sadly this is the case here! I find it difficult to express the devotion that owner and Caramel Scientist Jason McCrea has for his products. I spent some time looking over the website (find it by clicking here) and the passion, commitment, and quality is evident on each page. While standing and trying to get my son to stop drooling and rushing forward with a mad gleam in his eye, I met Celia Ho who is described as the companies Caramel Evangelist. Celia explained how the caramel is made from scratch by hand and is carefully rolled out and flavored with some of the finest ingredients around. She wasn't kidding either...with flavors like Ginger Fusion, Highland Scotch, Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt, Basil Cayenne and Vanilla, you are guaranteed to find a flavor or three that will satisfy your taste buds. I am very much looking forward to a chance to visit this particular candy making slice of heaven and exploring the rich and tasty story of their journey to caramel happiness.

Next on my trip through the market was a good sized spread of produce from The Neighborhood Farm. This is not an ordinary farm stand though, describing it is a little difficult so here is an excerpt from their own website which can be found here.

"2008 was our first growing season.  We grew produce in 5 garden sites located in private yards in the  Needham area.  We started The Neighborhood Farm because we wanted to grow local, healthy food for our community and we wanted to encourage others to do the same. However, the lack of undeveloped, reasonably priced land in the Boston suburbs forced us to think of a different way to farm. We were inspired by the victory gardens of WWII and felt that many market gardens might be the most practical way to bring a new “farm” to the suburbs.

Currently, we have about 4 and a half acres of gardens spread across 7 sites stretched in a ribbon through Needham, Dedham, and Medfield.  6 of our sites are located in private yards, and the 7th site is located on land owned by the Trustees of Reservations."

Flavor with room to spare!! Brandywine Heirloom Tomatoes
What really caught my attention was the selection of heirloom tomatoes that were out on display. Heirloom tomatoes are dramatically different from their distant supermarket cousins, who for years have been cultivated and grown to fit a perfect red and round mold. Those same tomatoes, have had over the year the natural flavors diluted and suppressed. A more simple way to define Heirloom Tomatoes would be that they are generally considered to be a variety that has been passed down, through several generations of a family because of their flavor traits. When making traditional sauces, soups, salads and even fresh salsa...the addition of one of these all natural flavor packed tomatoes can make a significant and vast difference in the finished product. I have SEVERAL recipes where I am really looking forward to trying out some of the more than 30 different varieties that are available. When you include some of the other produce that is grown including Heirloom Garlic and several varieties of hot and spicy peppers, The Neighborhood Farm have certainly reached for the stars and grabbed hold with both hands. This should make for a great story and I am hoping that they will also let me grab some fantastic photos as well!

So I think that it is time to wrap things up for today!! Before I leave the blog, I have one more item/place/idea that I want to share with everyone. I head to the different Farmers Markets to talk with people, sample different foods and gain some valuable inspiration for what I love to do. At times though you run into someone who will make you pause and listen. In the case of this next vendor, it is more of an endorsement and a salute to human spirit. Jack & Eric's Pirate Lemonade, a fixture at
the Dedham Farmers Market, this small non-flashy little stand wasn't selling anything...in fact they were giving out free lemonade and looking for any donations both big or small. Two young boys age 12 and 9 are working to raise money for the Dedham Toys For Tots along with helping local families. They give up their time to give back to a community they are obviously very proud of. The reason they do all of this...simply put "because it is the pirate way". Please visit them over on Facebook and give their page a like. If more people cared and followed the pirate way, this world truly would be a different place. Fantastic job guys!! I was both proud and impressed!

That's all for today! I have a bio coming up of the Kitchen Time cookbook photographer, Shannon Libby as well as postings from my upcoming trips to the Weymouth, Falmouth and Roslindale market's!! Much love and get ready for the big launch of our Kickstarter Project.

Find us at the Kitchen Time website www.teachingyoutocook.com or over on Facebook, just click on the link

-Chef Sean






1 comment:

  1. Thank you for including the Dedham Guild in this fun article

    ReplyDelete