Imagine this scenario. Your Nana calls and tells you she’s coming over to drop off a freshly made peach pie still sizzling from the oven and to stay put while she gets there. You agree and wait, drooling to sink your teeth into her world-famous pie.
Then imagine this. While at work, a colleague whom you barely know approaches you and others in your area and asks generally whether anyone wants a pie made by another acquaintance of his. How would you react? “Mmm…peach pie…my favorite…ok!” Or “hmm…dunno this dude…he looks professional, so maybe the pie tastes fine. Wait, but why is he giving it away? Does it taste bad?”
There are plenty of reasons why you react differently, even if both pies are equally delicious. One that comes to mind for me is the relationship. You know your granny. She’s a fabulous baker. She’d make the Two Fat Ladies look like dieters. If she had stock in Krispy Kremes, she would have invented the Luther burger. (OK, maybe not.) Your colleague’s friend on the other hand…who knows what kind of baker he or she is. The next Julia Child? Or your college roommate who set a muffin on fire in the microwave?
Relationships let us find out more about people—what makes them tick, what they value, and more. Dorothy Lane Market, a local grocery store in Dayton hosted its first ever Honestly Local Dinner on Wednesday. They provided an opportunity for their customers to meet some of the local vendors in a casual setting that featured the vendors’ products.*
It was a 5-course meal of taste explosions, beginning with salads. Zucchini, cucumber, and beets—all in season.
Next was a bowl of tomato soup garnished with uncured bacon and a slice of cheese toast.
The main course featured organic chicken with sage-infused sweet corn and green beans.
Afterwards came a cheese dish pairing brie, honey-topped ricotta, and chevre with biscotti and bread.
Dessert. Yum. The only thing I can say is that I’ll either have to learn how to grill or find a guy who’s a master at grilling. Grilled pound cake drizzled with caramel sauce paired with pecans, fresh (in season) blackberries, and grilled (in season) peaches. And yes, they all tasted better than they looked.
The stars of the event, though, were the farmers and producers who came to rub elbows with us plebeians (who paid to eat and rub elbows with them). I met a young couple that drove three hours to attend the dinner who are part of a USDA-certified organic co-op, Green Field Farms. The wife, Ruth, told us they were lucky that the rains didn’t affect their fields too much so they were able to plant their crops somewhat on time despite the heavy rains. And I learned that zucchini plants are annuals. She also told me how to make sauerkraut (a key ingredient to my all-time favorite sandwich, the Reuben). I also met a young entrepreneurial couple that started their own food business called Fab Ferments, specializing in all things fermented. Kumbucha. Kvass. Kimchi. Kefir. Natto. Sauerkraut. They had me at sauerkraut. They exuded passion for making food using old fermenting techniques. I learned much about their philosophy in creating great food from their stories of travel, descriptions of the techniques employed in their kitchen and the local farmers with whom they work. More art; less scientific method. One hundred percent TLC.
I walked out five pounds heavier from the smorgasbord of local food and with a few new connections. Next time I see beets in the market, I know just how far it traveled to reach my grocery basket. A hop, skip, and a jump. And just hours ago.
* Many of the vendors are listed in this brochure.
Feeling inspired to create deliciousness in your own kitchen? Try these recipes.