This is such a great time to be cooking in America. I have long held a belief that our grandmothers did not get up at four in the morning to make biscuits because they loved to bake. The advent of manufactured food, from frozen meals to canned biscuits transformed the way we thought about and cooking - and with our busy lifestyles that can be a good thing. Unfortunately, those futuristic foods also meant we stopped learning how to make things from scratch. Even worse, we started getting our food from factories which are often over a thousand miles away from our homes.
I said this was a good time to be cooking right? As much as it pains me to say, that "fuzzy little Ewok" on FoodTV, as well as many wonder others, have done a lot to raise our consciousness about what we eat. The first time I read Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Vegetables , I was surprised at how simple her recipes where. But when you have access to local, fresh and seasonal veggies, why would you want to do much more than drizzle them with olive oil and sea salt? More and more communities are seeing a resurgence in farmers markets. And what is even better, we are seeing local farms that are willing to sell right to you.
This weekend we had a chance to make a trip to Mountain Run Farm in Sedalia Va (between Lynchburg and Bedford). Ben and Carly Coleman raise the most amazing natural beef, pork and poultry. Its no secret that I have jumped feet first into curing my own meat . To me, there is little that is more satisfying than taking the time to salt and dry a wonderful Saussion Sec sausage then coating it in dried herbs from my garden. It feels artesianal and connected to the food. I love the beef and pork that I get from my local butcher. But what I really enjoy is driving out to Sedalia, seeing the farm and sourcing something local. There really is no better way to get close to your food than getting it from the source*. If you are in the Piedmont of Central Virginia, check out Mt. Run Fram by visiting the Bedford Farmers Market. If you are elsewhere, make a trip to your local farmer's market and get to know the purveyors. Many will be happy to invite you to their farm for a tour and sell directly to you.
* its also a great way to get cuts and parts you may night find in the grocery store.