The Local Grocer

We've Been Given a Lift

8/15/2016 8:33pm


You may have seen reality tv stars Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge on Planet Green’s The Fabulous Beekman Boys or on The Amazing Race. These gentlemen farmers moved to upstate New York  from New York City to raise animals and make cheese at a more than 200 year old farmhouse, and launched a lifestyle brand with products you can find at Target.

The profits from those products, Beekman 1802 Farm Pantry, are the source of the Mortgage Lifter Project.  There are two awards: a $2000 reader’s choice award and a $20,000 award selected by Beekman’s panel of judges.  This year Flint Ingredient Company won the judges award.

The Mortgage Lifter will help us bring electricity to our farm and a cooler which will help us to provide more quality produce to the Flint Community. It will also help us on our new project,  Flint Fresh Mobile Market. Which will bring fruit and vegetables to neighborhoods in Flint with little access to healthy food.  Flint Fresh is a partnership with The Local Grocer, YMCA, Flint Farmers Market, Neighborhood Engagement Hub, and Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

The produce from our farm, Flint Ingredient Company, is available through our CSA program and at The Local Grocer in the Flint Farmer’s Market and at our Martin Luther King Avenue location.  

We are grateful for all of our customers, voters, and Beekman 1802 for all of the love that enables us grow and provide clean, healthy food to help make this world a better place.


Fantastic Fennel

8/1/2016 7:44pm

When fennel is in season and it has come to market people often ask us what to do with it.  It’s not something most of us eat as often as our salad greens and carrots, and according to Fine Dining Lovers that might be because fennel seems old fashioned.  Fennel isn’t old fashioned; it actually has a fascinating history.  Fennel is quintessentially Mediterranean, even if fennel was Thomas Jefferson’s favorite vegetable. Italy produces 85% of the world’s fennel. Romans, Egyptians and Greeks all have been using fennel in their recipes for centuries. This veggie even appears in Greek mythology associated with Prometheus and Dionysus. Look in your Italian and Mediterranean cookbooks to find more fennel recipes.


        1 fennel bulb, trimmed

        5 medium carrots

        2 large beets, trimmed and peeled



        2 teaspoons fennel seeds

        1/4 cup fresh orange juice

        2 tablespoons vinegar

        2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

        1 shallot or green onions, halved and very thinly sliced

        Coarse salt to taste

        1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Quarter fennel bulb lengthwise, and cut out core. Very thinly slice fennel lengthwise into strips using a mandoline or sharp knife.  


Grate carrots, then beets, on the large holes of a box grater. Arrange side by side with fennel.


Keep covered with damp paper towel, and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.


Make the vinaigrette: Toast fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat about 1 minute.


Transfer to a small bowl, and add orange juice, vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, and 1 teaspoon salt.


Gradually whisk in oil.

Toss fennel, beets, and carrots with vinaigrette in a large bowl.

Cool as a Cucumber

7/25/2016 8:17pm

Did you know that cucumbers belong to the same plant family as melons, squash, and pumpkin?  That’s right; those vine growing veggies are cucurbitaceae. You can slice them, pickle them, or even use them on your face to reduce puffiness.  Cukes contain vitamin K, which can help your body absorb all the vitamin D you’re getting in the summer sun.  They also contain enough sugar, B vitamins, and electrolytes to help prevent a hangover or headache.  At only 8 calories per ½ cup serving, it’s worth it to add more cucumber to our diets.


Cucumber and whipped feta


  • 1 pound feta cheese, cut into 2 pieces, at room temperature

  • 1/4 pound cream cheese, softened

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 cucumbers (1 1/2 pounds)—halved, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Toasted pita or baguette slices, for serving



  1. In a large bowl, cover the feta with water and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to temper the saltiness. Drain and coarsely crumble the feta. Transfer to a food processor and puree. Add the cream cheese, heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and process until smooth and airy. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, toss the cucumbers with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add the oregano and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days.

  3. Serve the whipped feta lightly chilled or at room temperature with the cucumbers and toasts.


It's Zucchini Time!

7/13/2016 8:03pm

If you or your family ever had a garden in the backyard it probably had zucchini in it.  This cucumber look alike, also known as the courgette, is a summer squash that grows abundantly enough to feed an army.  Did anyone in your family make loaf after loaf of zucchini bread?  Have you tried the trendy new spaghetti made by spiraling zucchini?  And don’t forget the French favorite ratatouille.

This veggie not only tastes good but is for you too.  Zucchini is high in manganese and vitamin C.  You’ll find a wide spectrum of nutrients in it from vitamin A to potassium, and even folate.  All of this makes it a heart healthy food.  So if you’re cutting back on those carbs and missing red sauce, give this Stuffed Zucchini a try.


Stuffed Zucchini  

8-10 zucchini  

1 ½ c medium-grain rice

2 TB olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

~3 cloves garlic, minced

2 c peeled and diced tomatoes, with their juices (you can use fresh or canned)

3 oz tomato paste

1 tsp ground allspice

2 tsp salt, divided

¾ tsp ground black pepper, divided

2 bay leaves

¼ c chopped fresh parsley

1 lb ground beef, turkey or lamb (meat that is between 80-90% lean works well)

3 TB butter, melted

Fresh lemons, cut into wedges (for garnish)

Clean the zucchini and trim off the ends.  Cut each zucchini into 2 or 3 equal pieces; hollow out the insides.

In a 5-quart pot with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the onion and sauté for 6-8 minutes, or until softened; add the garlic and sauté another minute.  Remove ¾ of the onion/garlic mixture and reserve in a separate bowl.  For the tomato broth, to the pot, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, bay leaves, fresh parsley, and enough water to fill the pot so that it is  2/3 full.  Heat the tomato broth over low heat until it comes to a simmer.

For the zucchini filling, mix together the reserved onion and garlic, raw ground meat, uncooked rice, melted butter, 1 ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, and allspice.  Stuff each zucchini shell with the meat and rice mixture; leave a gap of ~¾” at the top of each zucchini because the rice will expand when cooking.

Add the stuffed zucchini to the simmering tomato broth and cook with the lid on for 60-75 minutes.  If the zucchini doesn’t all fit in the pot because there’s too much liquid, you take some out. Serve the zucchini garnished with fresh lemon, alongside the tomato broth.



Take a Walk on the Wild Side

5/23/2016 2:54pm

Have you seen the pretty pink and golden oyster mushrooms grown in Flint Township that are available at The Local Grocer?  Spring and fall are when these tasty beauties are readily available.  Mushrooms have a high protein content, which is why they are a favorite for vegetarians and vegans.  Oyster mushrooms are low fat and high fiber, and they can also help boost our immune system.

We also have sustainably harvested ramps at the market.  Ramps are wild leeks from the allium family (think onions and garlic), and their wide green leaves look a lot like a smaller and more tender version of the leek.  Fun fact: Chicago get its name from the Ramp.  The 17th century French explorer LaSalle and his naturalist spelled the Miami and Illinois tribes word for ramp as Chicagou.  So there you have it - The Windy Wild Leek City.

The real reason we are talking about oyster mushrooms and ramps is that they taste delicious together.  Yes, they can be used in any of your soup or stir fry recipes, but sometimes keeping it simple is best. For mushroom lovers, when sautéed together they make a great side dish for any meal.  


Sautéed Oyster Mushrooms for 2


2 packages oyster mushrooms (your choice of pink, golden, Phoenix or king)

1 package ramps

1 tsp grated garlic

1 tsp grated ginger

2 tbsp olive oil

Squeeze half a lemon

Splash of soy sauce or tamari if gluten free (optional)


Gently heat oil over medium heat in sautée pan adding garlic and ginger for 3 minutes or until fragrant.  Add mushrooms and toss to coat in oil, heating for 3 minutes. Add ramp leaves and wilt.  Remove pan from heat and add lemon and soy sauce.  Stir to combine.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.



Dandelions are Delicious!

5/6/2016 9:35pm
It's certainly dandelion season. Those cheery yellow flowers are visible everywhere you go this time of year in lawns, fields, and even alongside the roadways. Dandelions contain vitamin C, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. That is why they have long been used for their liver, kidney, and blood purifying and detoxifying properties. 
The common dandelion is more bitter than cultivated varieties.  Yes, you heard me right - people actually cultivate and grow dandelions on purpose.  That is what you'll find at The Local Grocer, a variety grown specifically for its size, tenderness and flavor.  It also explains why the dandelion greens look a bit different from the ones in your yard.  Both are safe and healthy to eat.  However, if you are going to go out in your yard and pick some dandelions for yourself, make sure that they haven't been sprayed with chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  Also, avoid picking plants that are near roadways.
Here is a  new take on a meatless lasagna that uses dandelion greens instead of spinach.
Dandelion Greens Lasagna  
1 pound dry lasagna noodles
2 bunches dandelion greens 
4 garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ricotta cheese
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and Pepper
1 jar tomato sauce (homemade or store purchased)
4 ounces grated Parmesan, about 2 cups  
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Lift noodles from water, rinse well in a bowl of cold water. Drain and lay noodles flat on a kitchen towel.
Using the same cooking water, blanch the dandelion greens for 1 minute, until just wilted. Rinse greens with cool water, squeeze dry and chop them roughly. Put 1 cup of chopped greens, the minced garlic and 1/2 cup olive oil in a food processor or blender and purée to make a pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a small bowl.
Mix the ricotta and lemon zest in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use 2 tablespoons butter to grease an 8-by-10-inch baking dish. Assemble the lasagna: Put a layer of cooked noodles on the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon a quarter of the tomato sauce over noodles, and then add a third of the ricotta. Complete layer with chopped greens, a drizzle of pesto and some grated cheese. Continue layering, finishing with a layer of pasta. Spread the last of the tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with Parmesan. (There should be 4 layers of pasta and 3 layers of filling.) Add remaining butter and bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20 minutes more, until nicely browned and bubbling. Let lasagna rest 10 minutes before serving.

Another Pesto Recipe

4/26/2016 2:28pm

The method of this pesto is the same as for Kale Pesto. Fill the food processor with cheese, garlic, nuts and oil. Swap out one beloved green for another. But sorrel, what is sorrel?

Sorrel is a culinary herb that is found in temperate climates. It is very tender, lemony tasting and best used immediately after harvest. It has a centuries long history in recipes for soups, stews, salads and sauces, when we grew or foraged for our own ingredients instead of going to the supermarket. This is why you don’t often see it in the markets. Leave it to The Local Grocer to grow it locally for you, so you can rediscover this herb along with foodies everywhere.

Sorrel Pesto: great as an interesting pasta coating or a thick sauce for fish.

2 cups coarsely chopped fresh sorrel, ribs removed

1/3 cup packed fresh parsley leaves

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor or blender puree the sorrel, the parsley, the garlic, the parmesan, the pine nuts and the oil, transfer the pesto to a jar. The pesto keeps, covered and chilled, for 2 weeks. Makes about 1 cup.

To use the pesto: For every pound of dried pasta cooking in a kettle of boiling water, stir together in a heated serving bowl 3/4 cup of the pesto and 2/3 cup of the hot cooking water. When the pasta is al dente, drain it in a colander, add it to the pesto mixture, and toss the mixture until the pasta is coated well.

Spring Green Smoothies

4/11/2016 10:04am

It may not look like it outside, but it really is spring.  We have crossed the threshold of the spring equinox and are barreling on toward the summer solstice.  The days are longer and the temperatures are warm enough for greens to thrive in hoophouses and greenhouses.  It’s not the first time we’ve mentioned that lots of studies have shown leafy greens to be great liver cleansers, loaded with chlorophyll, and help neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides in the body. Since greens arrive first in spring and thrive, it’s also no coincidence that in Traditional Chinese Medicine and their Five Element Theory that the element of wood represents spring and is associated with the liver and gall bladder.  Those organs help us purify our bodies.  This is why so many different health modalities encourage a spring cleanse.  Over the next couple of months use those abundant greens to help the liver and gallbladder cleanse our bodies, just like we feel compelled to clean the house this time of year.  


So let’s get our bodies and energies unstuck with some green smoothies!

The Greatist, “9 Green Smoothie Recipes You’ll Actually Enjoy Drinking”


The Daily Burn, “11 Delicious Green Smoothie Recipes”


Cosmo, “10 Green Smoothies that Actually Taste Good”