Our local farmers markets are beginning to bloom, filling up with deliciously fresh fruits.
According to cookbook author, pastry chef and bakery owner Lei Shishak, there’s no better way to enjoy them than in a made-from-scratch dessert, such as one featured in her recently released cookbook, “Farm to Table Desserts: 80 Seasonal, Organic Recipes Made From Your Local Farmers Market” (Skyhorse Publishing, $23).
“I started gardening in 2015 and immediately fell in love with growing my own fruits and vegetables,” she says. “I learned a lot from a neighbor who stressed the importance of growing organically. It was really this personal love of gardening that prompted me to write a book focused on farm-to-table recipes.”
But she cannot grow everything, so she frequents her nearby farmers market, and early summer is her favorite time to do so, primarily, Shishak says, for the first crop of strawberries.
“Farmers markets are such a wonderful environment,” she notes. “I love talking to the farmers directly and hearing their passion for their offerings.”
Anyone who’s visited Chattanooga Market or any other farmers market in our area knows well of which she speaks. With each visit, Shishak says, she gets motivated to create new recipes around crops grown by people who put the time and effort into raising them and bringing them to market to share.
When we shop at farmers markets, we support our local economy and consume food that’s healthier, tastier and packed with essential nutrients specific to our local environment.
“I believe that interest in healthier foods will continue in people of all ages who care about what goes into their bodies,” she says. “More areas are increasing the number of organic options available to consumers, and that healthy trend should continue as the results of eating healthier are felt by more and more people.”
She’s hard-pressed to come up with any one favorite fruit, but strawberries are among her favorites, mainly because so many of her friends and bakery customers at Sugar Blossom Bake…