so fresh and so green

I guess I should explain myself. Because really, what business do I have blasting off into the blogosphere? I should let you know now that I am no expert in the local food movement, in the complexities of agriculture or the wonders of the produce aisle, and I consider myself an amateur at best in the kitchen. So who am I to start a food blog?

This is where the double entendre of “sprout” comes in. Accompanying its meaning as “a new growth developing from a bud into a branch” (a very important step indeed in the development of many fruits and vegetables), the Oxford English Dictionary also offers the colloquial definition of sprout as “a young person, a child.” And in the world of cooking (and of blogging), I am certainly a child. The Sprout Diaries, then, is the chronicle of my own development: the metaphorical blossoming of a budding young blogger with a strong curiosity in vegetarian cooking into what I hope will be a competent chef who knows the difference between a yam and a sweet potato.

I plan to choose a new fruit or vegetable every week or two, one that is seasonally relevant and available at Michigan farmers markets; on the docket for the next few weeks are asparagus and rhubarb. In addition to presenting a brief and interesting history of said fruit or vegetable, I will try my hand at a couple of recipes starring the product. Followers of The Sprout Diaries can enjoy postings of the recipes themselves, my personal evaluation of the success or failure of the recipes, as well as plenty of photo documentation of the cooking process.

A few more facts about myself may help further explain why I’ve created The Diaries:

1. I have somewhat of an obsession with photographing fruits and vegetables.

It’s true: most of the photos I take are of produce. The photo above is of a stand at Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA, taken last July when my sister and I embarked on a three-week tour of the West Coast. A plus of The Sprout Diaries is that it gives me one more excuse to linger too long by a particularly beautiful stack of tomatoes or a breathtakingly verdant pile of chard at the farmers market (most likely to the annoyance of the vendors, and to whoever I may be touring the market with). Thanks to this obsession, followers of the The Sprout Diaries can expect an ample amount of produce eye candy.

2. I work here.

The People’s Food Co-op (PFC) of Ann Arbor, MI, is a cooperative grocery store in the heart of Kerrytown District. Since December 2010, I’ve worked as a produce stocker at PFC, and have learned loads about fruits and vegetables (did you know a galia melon is a hybrid of cantaloupe and honeydew?). PFC’s commitment to selling locally-grown produce is also responsible for sparking my interest in learning more about the local food movement. For this reason, the dishes I make for The Sprout Diaries will draw as much as possible on ingredients  bought from farmers markets, usually the Ann Arbor Farmers Market or Grand Rapids’s Fulton Street Farmers Market.

3. I want to be more like her.

This is my mother, Carole, in her vegetable garden. My mom is the best cook I know, and has always kept my family fed on healthy, mostly vegetarian meals. As it is yet unclear whether the cooking genes have been passed down to me, The Sprout Diaries is my attempt to at least come closer to her status as chef extraordinaire.

Now that you know my motivations, as well as my dreams and desires for this blog, I hope you check in on it every so often.  The Diaries should be considered a celebration of produce, of the changing of seasons and of the abundance birthed by Michigan soil. And just maybe, along the way, this young sprout (and even her readers?) may experience some growth.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy P. says:

    VERY excited to follow you. I’ve always said that someday I’d be saying sort of carelessly to anyone who’d listen, “Oh, Claire? Sure, I knew her when she was just a little budding piano star who read Harry Potter before it was cool.” Best wishes…

  2. Helen says:

    that is just the sweetest picture of carole. i love it. i also have a new bumper sticker for her barrel. AND i’m very excited to be part of the very first recipe!

  3. craig abbott says:

    Hey Claire – I used to tag along with my mom to the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market when I was a kid not because of the fresh produce but because it was next to a hobby shop 😉 Wish I knew then what I know now.

    Good luck with this project – looks awesome. Now I have to keep up with you AND Stephanie

  4. DERF OKNAH says:

    Claire – The food looks really delicious, even to a meat lover. Looks like a nice party. – fred

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