(Photo of Comella Community Garden in Cleveland by Jeff Schuler, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
One of the newest movements in cooking/eating is obtaining food locally — purchasing foodstuffs grown as close to where you live as possible. The Library started participating last year with our herb garden at Lee and, when harvest time came, made the produce available on a table in the lobby and encouraged our customers to take what they needed and bring in what they had too much of for others. It was a big hit. Folks came to get fresh parsley or tarragon and dropped off extra tomatoes and squash.
I myself took the opportunity to use some of our herbs for our Southern Garden Tea. I used collard greens to decorate the sandwich platters, the dill on the smoked salmon sandwiches, the tarragon and parsley on the cream cheese sandwiches. Much more handy, and cheaper, than getting them from the grocery store.
This year, with the help of a grant and a lot of dedicated volunteers, we expanded our efforts to include all of the branches. We are offering cooking demonstrations at all of the branches which will feature Robin Blair, a personal chef, who will show how to prepare meals using home grown produce. We have also purchased gardening books to help those who wish to grow their own food and cookbooks with recipes for those who have started to harvest from their gardens.
If you are interested in growing your own produce, you might try one of these:
- Grocery Gardening: Planting, Preparing, and Preserving Fresh Food by Jean Ann Van Krevelen
If you have limited space:
For cooking the ‘fruits’ of your labors:
- Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian
- Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh by Emeril Lagasse
- Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers by Sur La Table, with Janet Fletcher
- Fast, Fresh, and Green: More than 90 Decicious Recipes for Veggie Lovers by Susie Middleton
- Cooking from the Garden: Best Recipes from Kitchen Gardener by editors and contributors of Kitchen Gardener
These and many other books we have on the shelves will help you grow and cook your own produce. Click on any of the above titles to reserve a copy for yourself. You can take advantage of our herb/produce table when you come in to pick up your books. Happy eating!