Thursday, June 20, 2013

A View From The Market

We are currently rocketing through the month of June and this past weekend I paid a visit to the Farmers Market in Hingham, MA. I wanted to see what was available for produce this early in the season and I also wanted to the chance to start doing some research into my book. Making that initial contact with people was making me pretty nervous and as I got out of the car I had a few doubts crowding around inside my brain. I met several people, all of whom were amazing and they each seemed to really like the idea I had come up with for the book. In fact most were openly supportive of the idea that a cookbook should tell a story and promote what I feel is the best way for us all to be eating. Real food, being produced by real people...what else could be better than that? I wish that time and funds would allow me to travel all over the country to experience what different Markets have to offer...but for now I will have to limit myself to being local and hopefully when the Kickstarter project is given the final green light, I will be able to travel throughout New England to see what is really happening and to see what people are really thinking!!

I think that it is important to keep a running record of the people and places that I am able to visit. It gives me a clear picture of what my goal is and allows me to share with everyone just where I am on this journey. It may in fact change as time goes on, I am not really sure of the format that I will be using here on the blog page, inside of the book I plan on linking stuff with lots of recipes and pictures...unfortunately I don't have pictures yet for the people and places I was just talking to and about. Today, we are just going to wing it and I will make some improvements as I go along!!

Fresh Vanilla is something nobody should
ever miss out on!!
Authentically You Powersnacks- Allow me to introduce Lara D. Amaral, Certified Holistic Health Coach and the founder of Authentically You Wellness, LLC. I was able to spend some time talking with Lara about her line of Powersnacks and was even able to try one out. I have to say that I was impressed with the flavor and texture. Lara has gone and combined several all organic components into a very healthy and tasty snack that is bursting with energy. In all my years I have never seen a power or granola bar that could match this. The genius of this product comes from the ingredients which are organic, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, soy free, trans fat free and the best of all...they are GMO free!! Take a look at this line-up of good health, taken directly from Lara's own website.

"The Authentically You! Powersnacks which are coconut based and are essentially raw macaroons, come in varieties such as Vanilla, Almond, Banana, Lemon, Ginger Blueberry, Nutty (which tastes like a peanut butter, but it's not!), Chocolate Cinnamon, Chocolate Vanilla, Spicy Chocolate, Ginger Chocolate, Pinacolada and coming soon...Pumpkin!  Of course all chocolate varieties are made with Organic Raw Cacao Powder!

The Authentically You! Powersnacks which are fruit and nut based come in varieties such as Blueberry Pecan, Blueberry Cashew, Blueberry Almond, Cashew Date, Triple Berry Walnut (Goji Berries, Incan berries and Mulberries), Double Berry Pecan (Blueberries and Goji Berries), Strawberry Cashew, Cranberry Pecan, Cranberry Almond, Sunflower Date (Sunflower Seeds, Coconut, Turkish Apricots) and coming soon...Apple Pecan, Banana Walnut, Chocolate Walnut & Pumpkin Pecan!"

Want to learn more about Lara and what she does? Please visit her webpage by clicking here 

In my mind, these are not just great snacks...but would make excellent additions to breakfast with fresh fruit or yogurt. Lara truly understands what it means to not just eat healthy, but to be healthy as well. Packages were available in different sizes and price ranges so it didn't break the bank and she had samples of everything to try!! I am looking forward to the chance at speaking more with Lara about how these great ingredients can impact our daily lives and trying some of them out in the recipes I am working on in the book. I have a stuffing in mind that I want to try with an Apple Roasted Chicken and I also really love the idea of possibly crafting some of her ideas into baking, desserts and possibly even breads!

I also had a chance to visit with River Rock Farm and Manager, Charlie Sayer!! Now this was something unexpected to encounter at the market. I love the idea of a farm where you can get your hands on quality products and Charlie has that and more. River Rock specializes in beef that is all natural, pasture raised and dry-aged for optimal quality. One of the things which frustrates me as a consumer and a Chef is the quality of meats we purchase at the supermarket. Today, most cattle have been raised with a diet rich in hormones and antibiotics along with being fed grains that are not typical of a cows diet. I mentioned in an earlier blog post about the quality of products in todays market and how to buy organic, take a look at it by clicking here. Getting back towards my original point...Finding quality vegetables and fruits at the market is fairly easy and we have exceptional and hard working people to thank for that. When you are able to find a true source of quality meat though, it is a rare and special treat.

Most consumers are unaware of what dry-aged means when talking about meat. Looking over at the website for River Rock Farm, this is what they have to say...

"Beef is aged by keeping it unwrapped under refrigeration for a number of days. Our beef is aged in USDA-inspected coolers, under the supervision of experienced butchers and a USDA inspector. As the meat ages, natural enzymes are released that help breakdown connective tissue in the meat, producing a more tender meat. As moisture evaporates, the flavor of the meat is concentrated, producing a more flavorful meat. Every cut of beef that we sell has been aged for 21-30 days."
When I think of creating recipes around meats like this I feel a tingle down into my toes, my grill begins to salivate and my brain starts to wonder about making classic dishes such as a Pot Roast with Fresh Rosemary, Grilled Flank Steak Over Sweet Potato Hash and Marinated Steak Tips with Grilled Vegetables.
Doing research never tasted this good. I can't wait for the chance to get out to River Rock Farm and visit with Charlie to learn more about what he does and to see the cattle being raised and cared for the way they should be. For more information about River Rock Farm, the meats and how you can get them yourself please click this link!
As my journey continued around the market I noticed that time was ticking away from me, much like tonight as I am writing! Before I go though, I wanted to mention one last vendor who really made me smile.
Danielle Verzone is the owner and wizard of Sirenetta, Seaside Chocolatier! As I was strolling by I noticed her impressive menu of very distinct flavors and immediately had to stop and see what it was all about! Each season brings about a whole host of new flavors and Danielle makes all of her chocolates by hand using fresh ingredients, flavored with fine herbs, liqueurs, spices and fruits. The rich Swiss and French chocolates are combined to create flavors that are truly one of a kind! With flavors like Hazelnut Rum, Zesty Limoncello, Rhubarb Ginger and Chili Passion as part of her mix it is easy to see how these flavors would pair well with seasonal berries or vintage port wines during the winter months. I think that what captured my attention most about Danielle was her story of reaching out and following her dream. This is one of the reasons that I want to write the Kitchen Time book!! To have a chance at reaching out for the dream and making it come true, this is part of that 'story' I keep mentioning. Hopefully sometime this summer I will have a chance to visit again with Danielle and learn more about her story and her chocolates!
To learn more about Danielle and Sirenetta click this link. If you would like to see the impressive and star studded menu of gourmet chocolates she has available, click here.
OK, that's all I am going to write for tonight!! Coming up later this weekend is part two of my visit to the Hingham Farmers Market. Stick around as I chat about my visit with Copicut Farms and Queen Bee Honey. I will also be heading out this week and next, visiting more markets and getting to know the people behind all the great food! Thanks for reading and I hope to see everyone at the Markets soon.

As always if you want to learn more about Kitchen Time, visit us over on Facebook or our official website which is found at
-Chef Sean