Local ingredients get top billing in farm-to-table class

by Tallahassee Table

Chef Jessica Bright McMullen teaches how to use produce and meat from the Red Hills Online Market to celebrate Seven Days of Local Delights

We know how beneficial it is to buy fresh, local vegetables. It’s even better when you can learn to make some delectable dishes using these wonderful products.

Chef Jessica Bright McMullen, owner of KitchenAble Cooking School and Catering. Photo credit / KitchenAble

On Friday (March 11) night, I had a chance to do just that at a farm-to-table cooking class taught by Jessica Bright McMullen, owner of KitchenAble Cooking School and Catering. Jessica has been presenting this class for 10 years as part of Seven Days of Local Delights, a tribute to our dedicated community of farmers, ranchers and producers that’s sponsored by the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance.

Seven Days of Local Delights also helps people learn skills they can develop in workshops such as beekeeping and raised bed gardening.

Jessica had a long list of items that she picked up on market day from the Red Hills Online Market, which is run by the alliance. The market allows the public to order items produced by farmers and artisans without having to leave home. All items sold are grown or produced at farms within a 100-mile radius of Tallahassee. And of course, we are still blessed with our farmers’ markets. Please visit our guide on this website under the Farming category at tallahasseetable.com/tallahassees-farmers-markets/.

Jessica’s market list included eggs from Bartlett’s Bounty, smoked bacon from Clear Lake Farm, chicken breasts from Earthshine Acres Farm, LLC, Georgia collards from Frenchtown Urban Farm, a salad mix from Full Earth Farm, Orange Blossom Special cheese (goat cheese mixed with satsumas) from Grateful Hill Farms, Nagami kumquats from J.B. Hawkins, Grower, grits from Bumpy Road Farm Tally, micro purple radish from Legacy Greens, green and red Butterhead lettuce and red veined sorrel from Martin’s Harvest, Hakurei turnips from Pine Dove Farm, French Breakfast radishes from Rocky Soil Family Farm and Good Ground Farm, Asher Blue and Thomasville Tomme cheeses from Sweet Grass Dairy.

Cream of collard soup from Jessica. Photo / Tallahassee Table

Jessica demonstrated dishes that use parts of ingredients that many of us throw away. She made a delicious cream of collard soup using the stems from one bunch of collards, for instance, and she created a lovely pesto sauce with radish or turnip greens.

Jessica happily blending the collard soup. Photo / Tallahassee Table

For other courses, Jessica prepared a cheese plate with figs and jalapeños, a salad of fresh greens, roasted sliced carrots (from her garden), hakurei turnips and French Breakfast radishes and roasted them with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and her seasoning blend.

Roast chicken with collards and smoked grits. Photo / Tallahassee Table

There was roast chicken stuffed with a fresh greens pesto, wrapped in bacon. She made creamy Gourmet Grits and for dessert, a refreshing kumquat and blood orange curd.

For dessert, a refreshing kumquat and blood orange curd. Photo / Tallahassee Table

For Jessica, a farmer’s daughter herself, Seven Local Days of Local Delights is an event that’s close to her heart.

“I think that we live in a wonderful foodtopia, if you will, here in the Red Hills,” said Jessica, who has moved from teaching in her Lake Ella cottage to a kitchen in her historic home.

“We’re close to the Gulf as well. And so we have a little bit of everything available to us. We have different climates. We have different types of soil. We have the things that grow in the sea, the things that grow in the land. so many things that are within our region.

“There’s no excuse for us to have to outsource our ingredients or settle for some sort of inferior flavor,” she said. “There is something seasonally available locally here pretty much year-round that we can really enjoy. When you can find something that has been harvested at its peak and brush hands with the person who grew it and picked it to take it home and enjoy it and share it with your family, you’re going to get such better flavor and such better quality than anything you could ever buy through a chain of grocery stores or have shipped on a truck across the U.S.

Beautiful Hakurei turnips from Pine Dove Farm. Photo / Tallahassee Table

“It gives us a connection to the soil and the wonderful things that it yields and also a connection to to the sea and the wonderful things that it yields.”

The Red Hills Small Farm Alliance was established in 2010 by four women in agriculture — Katie Harris, Louise Devine, Mary Russ and Malini Ram – to help small farms in our region. What Cari Roth, president of the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance, told me about the event last year still holds true: Seven Days of Local Delights remains “a diverse celebration of local foods and the people who grow and prepare it.”

FYI — Jessica is offering new classes: A Spring cooking class at 6 p.m. on March 29 ($50). The lineup will include a green salad with a homemade vinaigrette dressing, Company’s Coming Roast Chicken (seasoned with citrus, herbs, and olive oil), Roasted Spring Vegetables including radishes and asparagus, and Strawberry Pavlovas for dessert.Taco Fiesta classes are coming up on April 5 and 19th. For more details, visit https://www.kitchenable.net/calendar/ or call 850-264-2308.

The Red Hills Online Market and how it works

You can buy locally grown produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, garden plants, mushrooms and lots more through the online market. Everything for sale is produced within 100 miles of Tallahassee.

You can order your local groceries from your computer or smartphone ( search for “RHO Market” on Apple or Android app stores) from Sunday at 8 a.m. to Tuesday at 6 a.m. at rhomarket.com.  Annual membership is $30. All orders are delivered to hubs or your home on Thursday.  

In-Town Hub Locations:

Bannerman Crossings, The Prepared Table Kitchen Shop, 3425 Bannerman Rd., Ste 104, 3 – 5:30 p.m. Delivery location: “Hub Bannerman Crossings” 

Canopy Roads Café – Southwood, 3196 Merchants Row Blvd., noon – 2 p.m. Delivery location: “Hub Southwood – CRC”

Community Co-op Market (Formerly New Leaf), 1235 Apalachee Pkwy., 4 – 7:45 p.m. Delivery location: “Hub Community Co-op Market” 

Esposito Garden Center, 2743 Capital Circle NE, 3 – 6 p.m. Delivery location: “Hub Esposito Garden Center” 

Hideaway Café at Waterworks, 1133 Thomasville Rd., noon – 2 p.m. Delivery location: “Hub Hideaway at Waterworks” 

Longview Farm, 1532 Concord Rd., 4 – 5:45 p.m. Delivery location: “Hub Havana – Longview Farm”

Ology Brewing Company – Midtown, 118 E. 6th Ave., 4 – 5:30 p.m. Delivery location: “Hub Ology Brewing Co. Midtown” 

Red Hills Online Market, The Heritage at Commonwealth, 1531 Commonwealth Business Drive, Ste 202, 3 – 4:30 p.m. Delivery location: “Commonwealth RHO Site” 

Out-of-Town Hubs:

Crawfordville – Treehouse Permaculture Center, 9775 John Franklin Rd., 5 – 6 p.m. Delivery location: “Hub Crawfordville”

Marianna – Martin’s Harvest, 2588 Heavenly Dr., 1 – 3 p.m. CST Delivery location: “Hub Marianna”

Miccosukee – Miccosukee Land Co-op, 9601 Miccosukee Rd., 5 – 6 p.m. Delivery location: “Hub Miccosukee”

Monticello – United Country Monticello Realty, 380 S. Jefferson St., 1 – 3 p.m. Delivery location: “Hub Monticello”

Panama City – The Outpost at Heritage Farm, 10508 S. Bear Creek Rd., 3 – 5 p.m. CST Delivery location: “Hub Panama City”.

Thomasville – George & Louie’s Seafood Restaurant, 217 Remington Ave., 2 – 5 p.m. Delivery location: “Hub Thomasville”

Delivery Fees:

Home deliveries – $10 

In-town hubs – $5

Out-of-town hubs – $10

Questions or issues? Email the [email protected] or call/text 850-960-1367. For the Red Hills Online Market, visit https://www.redhillsfarmalliance.com/red-hills-online-market

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