Last week I met up with Chef Anne Kearney of Rue Dumaine Restaurant at the Centerville Farmers Market. I talked with Anne about whats in season at the market and finding its way on to her menu. Anne has always been committed to using the freshest superior ingredients. Right now Rue Dumaine’s menu features local peaches, plums, and apples from Downing Fruit Farm’s; salad greens from Hungry Toad Organic Farm; Morning Sun Farm’s eggs and spelt; Tim Downing’s tomatoes; and Brickel Creek Organic Farm’s raspberries, gold beets, and blackberries – just to name a few! What summer crops does Chef Kearney most look forward to? She can’t choose just one: “Beets, tomatoes, greens, beans, oh, the list is long!”
There are countless reasons to shop farmers markets: freshness, flavor, nutrient content as well as economic, environmental, and social reasons. You can simply taste the difference; produce is ripe and fresh because it’s bred for flavor whereas supermarket produce has been bred for shelf life, picked green and gassed to ripen slowly. Supermarket shopping has become a confusing minefield of GMOs, pesticides, and preservatives. When you visit a farmers market answers are just a question away – all you have to do is ask the farmer. If you commit to eating what is in season locally, you’ll learn to handle new ingredients and you may find some new favorite flavors. Supporting the local economy is easy to understand at a farmer’s market, your hard earned dollars stay in our community, with people who support the community. I first met Anne when she and my Husband Joe both cooked for the March of Dimes Celebrity Chef Auction. When it comes to the environment, we can feel a sense of contribution buying local produce since it traveled far fewer miles to get to your plate than supermarket produce. A study in Iowa found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a typical diet based on food shipped across the country.
Dayton area chefs are doing their part as well; local food is a major new trend but it isn’t anything new to Anne Kearney. “Year around I create daily specials that feature our local harvest. Check out the website to see what is being offered every day. Throughout the year I have many local greens and mushrooms that are featured on the core menu.” More and more chefs, like Anne and my Husband, are participating in farmers’ markets. On the second Thursday of each month Anne offers a selection of seasonal artisan soups, salads, and sandwiches to Centerville market patrons.
This year has been brutally hard for our area farmers. Heavy spring rains delayed planting for so long that some crops just didn’t make it into the ground. That rain is still having an impact on the produce at the Market and it will affect the entire season. Despite the spring’s weather-related setbacks, area farmers’ markets are open this summer rain or shine. Remember to make an effort to shop a farmers market even when it’s raining – those are the days our farmers really need support. Make time to shop the market before heading out to those fairs and festivals this summer too. And when choosing where to dine out, consider the area restaurants and eateries that feature local products. Supporting them also supports our area farmers!
I talked with Robert Downing of Downing Fruit Farm and his pride in the quality of their produce was evident. Mr. Downing told me that his apple cider won first place for all of North America in 1999. I tried some of his peaches and the flavor and sweetness were truly remarkable, it’s easy to see why chef’s are selecting them. “We are working hard every day to produce a quality product for our guests while utilizing our community’s bounty. Our clientele knows of the effort it takes and appreciates it.” –Anne Kearney
Don’t miss Rue Dumain’s study of pig, “Tour de Swine” this August. Anne is creating a pork special utilizing a few of the more obscure piggy parts!
As promised, Chef Kearney has written a special recipe for you to try out with some local raspberries and peaches:
The Centerville Farmers’ Market, located at 829 S. Main Street, is open Thursdays throughout the summer from 2:30-6:30 and hosts ten regular vendors. In addition to Anne’s goodies, I saw wonderful tomatoes, peaches, plums, green beans, potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, lettuce, cucumbers and much more. Visit Our Ohio to view a list of what is in season this summer.
Market Walk looks forward to talking with more area chefs to see what local ingredients are sparking their imaginations this summer. Every week The Chef Case Facebook page highlights local ingredients from farmers at the 2nd Street Market and look forward to the next issue of Market Walk which talks with Chef Wiley about Meadowlark’s recent move to 5531 Far Hills Avenue and the farmers from the Yellow Springs Farmers Market that she works with.
See you at the Market!
Photo Credits: Ardently Ohio Photo