The Local Grocer

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Posted 4/11/2016 10:04am by Jennifer Harris.

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”



Posted 3/25/2016 2:28pm by Jennifer Harris.

I know, I know.  This post is supposed to be about kale, but really it's about basil. Everyday people are looking to purchase some basil from us, and since we only sell Michigan grown produce at The Local Grocer it won't be available until June.  Basil is an herb that’s native to the Mediterranean and the tropical regions of Asia.  This means that even though hoop houses can extend our growing season here in Michigan, it still gets way too cold and the hours of daylight are way too short for basil to grow in the winter.  To enjoy it all year long you need to freeze the herbs for use later or grow your own indoors. Another alternative is to simple replace the basil with other greens. That can work for recipes like kale pesto. Give it a try!


Food Processor Kale Pesto

(8-10 Servings)


1 bunch dino kale

2 cloves garlic

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup olive oil

Juice from ½ lemon

Dash of salt and pepper


Place all ingredients in food processor and blend for 30 to 60 seconds until you get a nice paste.


This recipe is simple and flexible. If you looooove cheese add a little more. If you loooooove garlic add more (some recipes call for 5-6 cloves)!  Or take it down a notch and go light on your least favorite ingredients. Make it your own and enjoy your green covered pasta. Don't worry, basil will be back soon.

Posted 3/16/2016 2:23pm by Jennifer Harris.

It’s that time of year again! Sign up now and beginning in mid June (give or take a week depending on the weather) and you can start picking up your weekly veggie box. We are again offering 16 weeks of produce grown locally and without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Our farm (Flint Ingredient Company) is located in the Beecher area and is on well water, so no worries there.

This year you have even more flexibility when choosing which option is best for you. You can pick up your share on Tuesdays at The Local Grocer store at Martin Luther King and University, or pick up on Thursdays at the Farmer's Market. In addition to the Small, Medium and Large Share, we have a Customizable Share in different sizes. The Customizable Share allows you purchase any item at either of our two locations.

You can register for your CSA veggie box on our website. Go to the CSA link at the top of the page and in the pull down menu select Member Sign Up. We have a limited number of shares available. Registration is open until we sell out, so hurry to get in on the veggie action.

Posted 3/2/2016 9:00am by Erin Caudell.

spinach nuggets

Spinach is so common we think that we know all there is to know about it. But did you know spinach was cultivated first in the Mediterranean? It's available most of the year (although it tastes best in cold weather). It's very high in iron, vitamins C and A and calcium. And did you know that spinach is one of the best leafy greens for preventing the uptake of lead in your body?

There are a million ways to cook spinach but we'd thought we'd share a spinach nugget recipe that is kid friendly (think chicken nugget without the chicken).

Spinach Nuggets 

2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach

2 cups whole wheat breadcrumbs, divided  (or gluten free breadcrumbs if you're sensitive to wheat)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup shredded cheese   

Butter to grease the cookie sheet 

Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a cookie sheet, or use parchment paper to cover. 

Step 2 Add the two handfuls of spinach and pulse in a food processor until you have a green crumb-like mixture. Set aside.

Step 3 Add eggs

Step 4 Add the spinach mixture, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, basil, oregano, and cheese and mix until evenly incorporated. 

Step 5 Place the remaining cup of breadcrumbs in a small bowl.  Using your hands, form a small portion of the spinach mixture into a ball and roll it in the breadcrumbs until it is fully covered. Put it on the cookie sheet and press it down to form a nugget shape.  Repeat with remaining spinach mixture and breadcrumbs.  You should end up with 15-20 small nuggets. 

Step 6 Bake for 25 minutes, turning the nuggets over halfway through the cooking time.  Allow to cool and serve.

Alternate recipe - Replace ½ cup of the breadcrumbs with the following: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts/pecans 1/4 cup flaxseed meal. Step 1: Place the nuts in the food processor and process until they turn into a fine crumb. Step 4: Add flaxseed


Posted 2/24/2016 11:10am by Jennifer Harris.

They are cuter than kittens on the internet.  Erin and Franklin have started planting seeds for spring and the baby veggies have arrived in the solarium at The Local Grocer.


The red kale is particularly adorable.  Don’t you just want to hug it and squeeze it and name it George?

Even the onions are on their way.  Doesn’t it make you weep tears of (onion scented) joy?Soon these babies will move out to the hoop houses on the farm and a few short weeks later onto our shelves.  You know where they end up from there - on your plate and in your happy belly.  Soon...Soon.

Posted 2/16/2016 10:39am by Jennifer Harris.

When the snow blows and the temperature drops again and again, it’s time to break out your favorite comfort food recipes. One of my favorites are Galumpkis, otherwise known as stuffed cabbage rolls. A friend of mine that is of Polish descent introduced me to the dish smothered in a tomato sauce atop a pile of mashed potatoes. Not every restaurant serves Galumpkis, nor do I have the patience to parblanch the cabbage leaves and individually wrap each roll. So how do you feed that craving on a busy schedule? Pick up the ingredients, throw them in a 9 x 13 pan, and make a casserole; that’s how you do it!

I created this recipe by taking the method from one cookbook and the stuffing ingredients from another. The classic The Joy of Cooking got the stuffing right, but Sandra Molter of Beavercreek in Ohio Valley Vittles compiled by the Ohio Valley Telephone Pioneers Chapter 80 gave me the idea to make a cabbage roll casserole. Sometimes those old spiral bound fundraising cookbooks that your grandmother gives you have some pretty good ideas in them, especially in the days before Pinterest and Food Network.

Most of these ingredients are available right now at The Local Grocer, and some of the others (like rice) you may have on hand. The recipe makes the cabbage roll portion. Get some potatoes and make your favorite mashed potato recipe to go underneath this savory goodness.


Cabbage Roll Casserole

1 cup cooked rice

1 pound ground beef (ground turkey or meatloaf mix work well too)

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Dash of cayenne (optional)

1 small head of cabbage, chopped

1 - 29 oz. jar of tomato or spaghetti sauce

1 cup of water

Brown ground beef with garlic and onions in a skillet. Add herbs and cayenne to the mixture. When meat is crumbly drain. Layer everything in a 9 x 13 pan. First layer the chopped cabbage, followed by ground beef, and then cooked rice. Top with tomato sauce. If sauce is rather thick you can add a cup of water to loosen sauce so it sinks through the layers in the pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve with mashed potatoes. The flavors marry well and taste even better on the second and third day.

Posted 2/11/2016 5:58pm by Jennifer Harris.

Sometimes fruits and veggies do some shape shifting and appear as something funny, odd or just plain different.  This week we have a giant beet that looks like a heart.  So from all of us at The Local Grocer to all of you, we wish you a very happy Valentine's Day!  I hold your heart in my hand.



Posted 2/4/2016 9:34am by Erin Caudell.

We'll have music and food samplings at the store to help say thanks to everyone who's helped us get up and running. Help us celebrate a great start!

Thanks to our Kickstarter supporters we have stocked the shelves, opened the kitchen, and put in a whole building water filtration system. 

Saturday, February 6

10:00am to 5:00 pm

Location: 601 Martin Luther King Avenue, Flint, MI 48502

Posted 2/2/2016 8:16pm by Erin Caudell.

Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, predicting that spring will come early. This is good news when you’re looking forward to starting seeds, planting gardens and enjoying locally grown produce. Everyone is eager for fresh tomatoes and basil, even though they are months away in our climate.

Today is also Candlemas and Imolc. It is 40 days following Christmas and the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The days are getting longer, and winter is slowly loosening its grip on us. Even Fat Tuesday and the season of Lent are upon us next week. From a historical context all of these holidays, celebrations and spiritual practices of feasting and fasting have been influenced by an agrarian society of the past. In the time before our food was shipped from places like South America, Mexico and California and in good supply at the local supermarket, people had to store food for winter. The feasting of Christmas has ended, winter stores are running low, but it’s too cold to plant new crops. When it’s cold out chickens don’t lay many eggs, cows aren’t milking unless they’re nursing calves, and hunting is thin when the animals have a hard time feeding themselves too. Lenten fasts made the food last longer in order for everyone to survive until spring. Adding a spiritual component in the community makes a virtue out of a necessity for our ancestors that we in our modern society don’t have to face.

We are halfway to spring. The days are longer. The amount of local produce will gradually increase in the weeks to come. Because we have hoop houses at the farm we can start sowing seeds and transplanting baby plants in the upcoming weeks, like kale, collards, spinach and pac choi. For the rest of us, we need to wait another month or more to start seeds indoors or cold tolerant plants outdoors. If you want to keep the dream alive of tomatoes, peppers, kohlrabi, sweet peas and sweet corn, check back to our blog and Facebook page often. In the next few weeks there should be information regarding sign up for the 2016 CSA shares. Don’t stop believing!

Posted 1/26/2016 1:13pm by Jennifer Harris.

We definitely are in the middle of winter. Snow is on the ground and the temperatures are often below freezing. It’s hard to imagine that there could be any local food available this time of year, but there are still a few things left in the ground.  

Roots are what’s in season now. Eat those potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips and sunchokes. And thanks to hoop houses greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale are still available too. It’s not just the temperature that affects the slow growth of plants, but the amount of daylight plays a significant role too. Here in the Flint area it’s not until February that the days are long enough for the greens and roots to begin actively growing again. So it won’t be long before the amount of produce available increases in volume and variety.

Turnips are plentiful now.  They weren’t in the dinner rotation when I was a kid (I’ll admit I was a very picky eater), but now I put them in my pot roast as a low carb replacement for potatoes. I'm tired of that one trick pony, so here are several suggestions to try something new. The Kale, Turnip and Turkey Sausage Soup sounds particularly yummy on a cold winter's night.


10 Turnips recipes (Garlic Mashed Turnips sound really good.)

18 Turnip Recipes

Kale, Turnip and Turkey Sausage Soup