A fresh, local cookbook for Farmers Markets

Laura Kenny and Joanne Neft
Food awareness is booming, now more than ever. More people want to know where their food is coming from, how it’s grown and how it’s transported.

Farmers markets are popping up all over. In the foothills and Sierra, we have farmers markets in Auburn, Truckee, Tahoe City, Grass Valley and more recently, Nevada City. In Auburn, the market is open year-round, not just in summer.

Expanding on the trend, two foothill food devotees have written a cookbook that shows you how to eat nutritious, locally grown food year-round. Called Placer County Real Food from Farmers Markets, its mantra is simple: “Healthy soil. Healthy food. Healthy people.”

“This cookbook shows that if you go out to farmers markets, you can enjoy real food every week of the year,” says Joanne Neft, founder of the Foothill Market and co-author with local Chef Laura Kenny.

One of the barriers to eating seasonally is that we can have everything all the time, which is how America eats from the supermarket, Joanne explains. Eating locally, which means seasonally as well, is about feasting on foods as they come and go.

“This book is a witness to the seasons progressing bit by bit, week by week,” Joanne says. “When there are surpluses, there is freezing, drying and canning foods.”

A similar cookbook could be written for every region in the country, highlighting what we can eat during the year in a particular food-shed, according to Joanne and Laura.

Placer County Real Food’s recipes are based on both women’s experience from shopping at the Foothill Farmers Market and cooking meals from what they found fresh for a full year. More than 300 guests dined with them at family-style dinners, providing feedback.

Local farmers can benefit from year-round farm to table cooking too.

They make the majority of their incomes between May and October. If the farmers could sell more during winter, they could afford to grow morefresh, local food year-round.

Placer County Real Food (from In Season Publishing in Loomis) will be sold at produce and book stores throughout the region. The book debuts in April at Blue Goose Produce, located in the historic Blue Goose fruit packing shed in the quaint foothill town of Loomis.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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