The Midlife FoodieI love real, whole food, the stories about it, the people who produce it, the places it comes from and the way it brings people together. I am a food writer and educator (I also do copywriting on the side), I mother three millennials, I practice yoga and meditation, and, yes, cook a lot.
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In foodie-lands like Northern California, there are celebrity farmers almost as influential as celebrity chefs. They possess an irresistible combination of a) delicious offerings that bear their unique signature and b) an affable, charismatic personality that is the secret of many celebs.
We in Central Jersey have one celebrity farmer, the award-winning Jess Niederer of Chickadee Creek Farm. Jess, an Ivy-educated petite woman, is first and foremost a talented grower. I could recognize her carrots in a blind tasting (if there were a blind tasting for carrots). You can find her vegetables at her bountiful, attractive stands at area farmers markets (my favorite is the Pennington Market, at which I am the vendor liaison).
Jess is also a talented writer and her weekly emails to her CSA members border on a lyrical prose. This week, Jess had caught my attention with a brilliant trick for blueberry dressing that’s worked right into a salad of fennel and arugula she harvested that day.
(I substituted feta because I ran out of Parmesan)
I tried it at home, and it tasted as good as it sounds.
Here it is, in Jess’s words. You can find the ingredients at the weekend farmer markets.
“Not much time to write today, but I made an amazing salad you should know about:
-Two bulbs fennel thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)
-One bag arugula
-1 pint Mike's blueberries (available at Chickadee Creek Farm stands)
-1 tsp apple cider vinegar
-1 tbsp olive oil
I put these all in a mixing bowl together and smashed it all up so the blueberries were crushed into it all and the oil and vinegar were worked into the fennel and arugula, making them slightly milder.
I chilled it for a half hour or so, and then added grated parmesan, as much as you prefer.
And this was the best salad I've had all year. It was amazing.”
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