Thursday, March 14, 2013

Can you "cook local" in Fairbanks in March? Yes, you can!

At the Sustainable Agriculture conference in Fairbanks a sous chef came out of the kitchen and worked right in front of the attendees.

Joshua Broda (pictured above), who has cooked at Princess Riverside Lodge for five years, declared, "Fresh is the best." Even if he was preaching to the choir (conference attendees are mostly farmers and aggie types) he got the attention he wanted with a quick demonstration of cooking with local foods, even though that is not as easy in March as it is in August.

With root crops from Rosie Creek Farm, specialty vinegars from Basically Basil and fresh Romaine and microgreens from Johnson Family Farms, Broad whipped up a salad and potato medley in minutes.

"Food is better if it's traveled 30 miles instead of 3,000," he said. "Local restaurants can support local farms."

During the summer, the Princess purchases 300 to 500 pounds of fresh produce from local farmers weekly. The effort is met with much praise by guests, Broda said. "Farm to table is increasingly popular. People like to eat good, healthy food and it gives us the edge to use local products. We advertise that and the guests respond well.

Use one part acid (vinegar or lemon) to three parts oil and a smidgeon of mustard. Put the vinegar (such as a blueberry vinegar from Basically Basil) in a bowl and slowly whip in the oil. Experiment by adding garlic or seasonings.

Rustic Potatoes
Blanch local potatoes and cut up. Heat oil in a frying pan till very hot. Add onions, potatoes, lemon juice, basil and fresh lettuce. Add garlic toward the end so it doesn't burn. Saute quickly and serve.

Yes, you can find locally grown food in Fairbanks in March!

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