How to Put Some Local Into Your Cooking This Fall

Posted September 12, 2014 by Cheryl Fenton in Downtown Boston

I become quite the foodie in the fall. When the farm stands are covered in luscious peaches, hearty squash and crisp apples, how could I not? The question then becomes, what to do with all this bounty? I usually revert back to my usual – crockpot apple butter, pumpkin lasagna and peach jam. Tasty but predictable.

This year I’m getting a few new ideas at the 5th annual Boston Local Food Festival. Hosted by The Sustainable Business Network of MA (SBN), this free zero-waste event is the place to learn more about local farms and get ideas for incorporating their wares into your daily life. After all, it holds the title of New England’s largest one-day farmers market and celebration of local food.

The festival will take over the Rose Kennedy Greenway by the Faneuil Hall and Aquarium T stop, on September 14, 11am to 5pm. Consider it a three- (or more) ring culinary circus. There will be live chef demos, tastes, sips, local musicians on two stages and plenty of foodie fun.

Your first stop should be the Chef Demo stage, which puts experts in the spotlight. They’ll have demonstrations including “Exploring International Flavors with Local Ingredients” with Jessie Liu of Warmth and Wellness, Chef Pankaj Pradhan of The Red Lentil working on vegetarian cooking, and Dr. P.K. Newby bringing a scientific and healthy outlook on cooking to the table. Try your own hand at the DIY demos, as you make cheese, use local seafood for ceviche, create hand-made flour tortillas and turn leftovers into feasts.

The Boston Food Festival will have over 100 local vendors. Photo Credit: Amilia Photography

And then you’re off to explore 100 local vendors from Massachusetts and New England as they show you what they have. Dig into samples (and learn a little something) with area farms like Kingdom Creamery, Red Fire, Allandale, Shared Harvest CSA and more. There will also be plenty of places to discover your next food obsession from local specialty stores like American Provisions (love their ghost chili salami), Mozzarella House, Taza Chocolate and STEEM Peanut Butter, to name a few.

There’s no need to leave the little ones at home. Scoop them up and bring them to the Family Fun Zone, where you can get them excited about the world around them (and yes, that even includes broccoli). There are riveting challenges of Veggie Twister and Veggie TicTacToe, and afterwards a calming hour of kids yoga on the lawn. Mid-afternoon they can enjoy workshops like Making Bee and Butterfly Friendly Seed Balls, Make Your Own Upcycled Starter Seed Pots and How To Build “Hugelkultur” Raised Beds. Still have some energy to expel? Check out the Kids Tennis Workshop, where kids can practice on different tennis ball sizes. If your family unit requires a little less structured fun, just wander around and you’ll run into tons of things to do. There’s a traveling tide pool exhibit from the New England Aquarium, giant-sized checkers, a bean bag toss, a mobile reading room and an Imagination Playground of big foam blocks in varying shapes and sizes.

This event is more than just discovering local farms and foods. There’s a greater good at work. The event will serve as a launching pad for A New England Food Vision, a groundbreaking report from Food Solutions New England that challenges New England to ensure that 50% of food consumed is locally produced by 2060. Now there’s some food for thought.

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