I have been an advocate of buying fresh, locally grown produce for many years. I shop at local farmers markets around the Bucks County area in Southeastern PA. Ten years ago there were two markets, now there are close to ten. We call it being “locavores” in my food club, which purchases items from local farms and has a location for members to pick up bi-weekly orders. It is soon to be the Doylestown Food Co-op, with the current popularity of buying local in my area.
Once I select the freshest foods to buy, I used to go home and search through my cookbooks and magazines for the best recipes to use these foods. I wouldfeed my family these fresh creations and share new items with dinner guests. But then, one day I thought it, “wouldn’t it be great if I could bake using these fresh, local ingredients and sell them to the locavores in my club?” It would be another way of promoting local, in-season produce in ready-to-eat form.
It was out of my love for fresh food, local businesses and baking that Fruitful Baker was born. As a marketing and graphic designer, I wanted the name to promote itself. It conveys what I use, what I do, and my main ingredient – fruit. I deliver an excellent product with mostly local organic fresh ingredients, from flour to honey. At Fruitful Baker, I don’t have one year-round signature pie because pies are made only with in-season fruits.
It’s best to buy in-season produce when the farm markets are overflowing with fresh produce. Starting in the late winter into spring, in my area, I can buy greenhouse lettuce and tomatoes, which are way better than the dull looking produce at the grocery stores. This local buying saves gas and cuts down on pollution from trucking long distances.
Starting in mid-May, I can buy strawberries or go to nearby fields and pick them myself. I end up with red fingers and lips as the occasional berry finds its way into my mouth! Flowing into the summer season, there are cherries, apricots, peaches, pears, plums and a plethora of berries. I’ll drive over an hour to the New Jersey Pine Barrens to stock up on fresh blueberries. I buy buckets full and freeze them for later in the year when someone orders a blueberry pie or I have a craving for a good blueberry muffin in the dead of winter.
The fall season ends most markets with apples and pumpkins. Since apples store well in the correct refrigeration temperature, my local orchard, SoleburyOrchards, makes them available until the end of March.
It’s hard not to eat well this summer as long as you shop at your local farm markets. In fact, you can eat well year-round by freezing or canning in jars what you can for use in the gray winter months. There’s nothing like a hot fresh pie with berries from the freezer in the dead of winter!
“Buy local, eat local, live local” is my motto on my Fruitful Baker banner that I’ll be hanging at my local farm market. I’ll be selling pies, cobblers, cakes, and other fresh baked goods at the Plumsteadville Grange Farm Market, located in southeastern Pennsylvania starting in June, and I can’t wait. Hope to see you there!
Eat well, live well,
Sue Ann Rainey