We all know that stopping by the grocery store is the easiest way to get produce. But ask yourself “Where was this grown? – Who grew it? – When was this picked?”
Farmer’s markets are a good place to start
The best way to find out what vegetables are in season is to ask! Go to a farmer’s market to find out what they picked the day before or even that morning. Different vegetables are best in different parts of the year. For example, asparagus should not be eaten in the winter in North Carolina because it’s not a winter vegetable. Find a market near you in the North Carolina Farmer’s Market Directory or see our article on the Bradford Farm.
When planning meals I always talk to different farmers. Whatever they have in season is the basis for a delicious meal.
Support your community
Another reason that it is important to work with your local farmers is that you’re giving back to your community, not big businesses from far away. Our local farmers live and breathe growing awesome produce. They have dedicated their lives to this industry.
I shouldn’t just talk about produce because there are so many different types of farmers—animal farmers are equally important. Better quality of feed and of life for the animal produces a better quality product on your plate.
The best part is when you go to a farmer’s market you can find all of these different farmers waiting to share their story with you. To me, listening to their story gives me more motivation to use these amazing products in the best way possible.
Vegetable demi glace
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees on low fan (convection ovens)
- With a mandolin slice all of the vegetable into a big bowl. Thin slices work best. Its okay if there is a little skin on the vegetables, they are going to add another rich flavor profile to the sauce.
- Cover the vegetables with the tomato paste and olive oil until even coated.
- Place on sheet tray and slowly rotate in the oven. Every 20-30 minutes rotate and mix vegetables to evenly caramelize.
- Vegetables should almost look burnt (but don’t worry its not!)
- Once all vegetables are crispy and have a deep roasted color, remove and place into a sauce pot.
- Cover with cold water and turn on low to medium heat.
- Steep for 30 minutes, then strain out vegetables, keeping the dark liquid.
- Continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Check for flavor and continue to reduce further if you want a more concentrated flavor.
- To thicken the liquid, mix a little cornstarch and water together in a separate bowl to make a slurry. Add to liquid and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened to your liking.
2 lbs eggplants
2 lbs cauliflower
5 oz celery
12 oz carrots
5 oz golden beets
5 oz red beets
1 lb shiitake mushrooms
8 oz broccoli
10 oz yellow onions
8 ea garlic cloves
2 oz tomato paste
3 oz olive oil
TT corn starch (TT = To Taste)
TT salt and pepper