Considering I live in an area positively filthy with farm stands, my use of local ingredients is embarrassingly lacking. I even mentioned in an interview a little while back that most of my shopping is done at supermarkets, preferably with weekly sales circular in hand. I’ll admit that there’s really no way to make a strong case for choosing aisles of fluorescent lighting over rows of freshly grown produce other than simple (personal) economics.
Shopping locally comes at a premium. And dude works for a non-profit—I ain’t got that Beyoncé money. Besides, it’s difficult to rationalize paying more for higher quality ingredients when, admittedly, I have the palate of an 8-year-old.
(Look! A tractor!)
However, in an unabashed ploy to eventually unseat this song (TOTALLY NSFW) from the top of Google’s search results for “Stick In In Your Mouth,” I paid a visit to Balsam Farms. This way, I can say that I used their zucchini in this zucchini bread and ride that relatively recent wave of locally-sourced everything to Page View City. I’m also a big fan of the guys who run the place, so it was nice to see them doing their thing.
Is there a noticeable difference in taste? I’m sure that if it was grilled or roasted or some other simple preparation, there would be. But, for this particular recipe, not really. If anything, it feels better knowing that it uses a vegetable grown a just few miles away (as opposed to a few thousand). Just doing my part to support the local community/economy, that’s all.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 table spoon ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 cups white sugar (this is really sweet, so feel free to use less)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated zucchini (preferably purchased from a local farm stand)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
DIRECTIONS (Makes about 24 slices)
- Prepare to 8″ x 4″ loaf pans (meaning grease and flour ’em) and preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and use your hand mixer to beat until just combined.
- Fold in zucchini and nuts until fully incorporated.
- Divide batter between two prepared pans and bake 40 – 60 minutes. Insert a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the dishes are done, man.
- Place pans on cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan and allow to completely cool.
- Realize that, although more expensive, using vegetables grown in your local community is probably better in the long run.
- Try not to judge yourself too harshly for the Burning Man sentimentality just expressed in step #8.