Community Philosphy Blog and Library

The Great HOMEGROWN Cook-Off of 2011

What’s cookin’, HOMEGROWNers? It’s peak growing season and these days local food is being celebrated across the map! From food co-ops, to farmers’ markets, restaurants to home kitchens, folks are foraging for their favorite seasonal goodies and whipping up homegrown recipes that embody the freshness of the summer. In Massachusetts, June brings a cornucopia of beets, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, peppers, radishes, scallions, spinach, strawberries and kale.  And, we’ve got blueberries, corn, summer squash, melons, peaches, raspberries, and tomatoes coming down the pike!  These foods provide a veritable feast of good eating for summer picnics, and many can be preserved for annual enjoyment and nourishment.  Paired with proteins and grains, this produce provides a base for a delicious and wholesome homegrown meal.


(Photo Credit: Cornelia)

Cooking with local foods and attempting to “eat your zip code,” not only promotes sustainable living, growing and eating, but it provides a real opportunity to flex those creative culinary muscles.  While I may not be the next Food Network star, I am learning to avoid the far-traveled supermarket fare and choose fresh, local food straight from the source.  Since my neighborhood farmers’ market has opened, I have experimented with pickled daikon, baked kale “chips”, sautéed beet greens with garlic over chicken, roasted beet and chevre salads, and my fair share of sauerkrauts and coleslaws.


(Photo Credit: Cornelia)

By committing to eating locally, I am recycling old standby recipes, learning more about combining flavors and textures, and creatively reconstituting and stretching my meals into leftovers until the next market run. Inspired by Kerry’s successful attempt to stretch one organic chicken into 22 meals for $49 bucks, I have kept my wallet and my eating healthy, and my recipes unique with each home-cooked meal.

Lots of my inspiration and knowledge has come from you – the members who have mastered the arts of living homegrown, and the newbies who are sharing their experiences as they commit to the HOMEGROWN lifestyle.  I find myself utilizing our search box when I buy an unfamiliar ingredient, or when I am at my wits end with the pests in the garden.  You folks come through with helpful tips and tricks, recipes and resources that run the gamut of homegrown living.  Groups like Hunting, Gathering, Foraging, Food Preservation, Urban Gardeners, and Favorite Farmers’ Markets provide a community of like-minded individuals to bounce ideas off of; discussions such as “Urban Food Co-ops” and “Farmers’ Markets Are Open!” keep the conversation flowing; blogs like “Is There a Crisis in Home Cooking?” and “Farmhouse Scramble” explore and celebrate good eating and local living; and our growing photo and video collections illustrate the importance of CSAs, farmers’ markets, and backyard agriculture.


(Photo Credit: Ross P)

So in the spirit of the season, we have a little competition brewing!  Last year we hosted a CSA Cook-off.  As a result of this challenge, we now have a library of beautiful photos and lots of delicious recipes to sift through when we need a little dinner inspiration.  This year, we want to give the cook-off a little twist:

  1. At least 50% of your ingredients must come from all or any of the following sources: A CSA share, Farmers Market or your garden (of that of a friend/neighbor).
  2. Post your recipe (each week or however often you like) as a member blog for all to enjoy. Bonus points for naming the farm, photos or video in your recipe.
  3. A weekly prize will be awarded for the best overall recipe, judged on the basis of ingredients, creativity, and presentation. The prizes include: a HG T-shirt, a mix CD curated by our HOMEGROWN Shepherdess and Flock-Tender, the honorable title of HOMEGROWN Chef-herd / Chef-herdess, and immortality in the end-of season HOMEGROWN Cook-off Cookbook.

Please keep in mind when submitting your dishes that we can only put original recipes in the cookbook.  The weekly deadlines for entries is every  Monday through August 30th!

Show us the bounty of the season in your neck of the woods!  Find a farmers’ market, co-op, or family farm through the Eat Well Guide, then post a member blog of your recipes, photos, videos, and experiences with local foods this summer by August 30 – we can’t wait to see what you’ve got cookin’!


(Photo Credit: Cornelia)

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7 Responses to “The Great HOMEGROWN Cook-Off of 2011”

  1. Awesome. Need to start planning some recipes.

  2. Sounds great, is it open to Australians too?

    I have been incorporating SOLE Food (Sustainable, Organic, Local, Ethical) into our meal plans more lately:

    What is SOLE Food?

    SOLE stands for Sustainable, Organic, Local and Ethical… simply put, SOLE food is good for the planet & creatures, good for the people, and good for your tastebuds!

    Sustainable – this applies not just to the farm or production methods, but the least negative impact possible from the processing, storage, distribution, and packaging options, as well as energy efficient when it comes to home storage and cooking too, plus use of waste and leftovers too!

    Organic – grown and processed without nasty chemicals, may be Certified Organic or In Conversion, or perhaps just state they are chemical-free

    Local – depending on where you live and how strict you want to be, anything grown within Australia is a good start, and then the less km’s away from you, the better! Try this interactive map on the 100 Mile Diet website, just type in your town & country, and it will show you a red circle that covers a 160km area, just to give you an idea!

    Ethical – this can be such a grey area, because everyone has different ideals, and it can include any criteria you feel strongly about, including free range, fair trade, animal welfare, vegetarianism, veganism etc..

    More here:

  3. Yes, Dixiebelle – we love your posts and your recipes are always welcome! The Cook-off is open to everyone!
    Thanks for the SOLE post – very informative!!

  4. Yay! Can’t wait! The potatoes should be ready soon and my co-worker has been making mayo with the eggs from our backyard barnyard… I’m hoping for a yummy potato salad soon!

  5. Do we need to tag or identify our posts in any certain way to be considered for the cook-off? This is such a great idea!

  6. Hi Christine! Just make sure that Cook-Off is in the title of your member blog. Can’t wait to see your recipes!

    Aliza – an all-local potato salad sounds incredible this time of year — I’m just as anxious as you are for the potatoes to be ready so that I can try your recipe!

  7. […] a recipe or link to one of your recipes, which we’ll also consider for the last week of The Great HOMEGROWN Cookoff of 2011. One lucky person will get a copy of The Cleaner Plate Club book, too! Happy cooking and […]

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