Who am I?
I’m Laura Carter, an avid gardener and farmers’ market shopper who loves to cook “from the garden.” Even though I share a large almost-year-round garden with my father, I love the diversity and the energy of farmers’ markets so much that I tend to visit them even when I’m buried in produce of my own. They often have what I crave but didn’t grow (peaches, sweet corn), or what I tried to grow but lost to bugs or drought. If it’s in season, someone at a nearby farmers’ market is bound to have it if I get there early enough.
I did not go to culinary school, have never cooked in a restaurant, haven’t written a cookbook, and don’t have a degree in nutrition, horticulture, or agriculture. I am simply a pretty good home cook who loves every imaginable type of vegetable and has fun finding ways to help others love them just as much. I’m the mom who always serves salad and veggie snacks instead of cookies; the family member who always brings the vegetable sides and salads to the pot luck suppers; the woman whose death row meal would have to be a big bowl of my own vegetable soup. In short, I’m fresh-and-local enthusiast who is sharing my passion through this MO Deep Roots web site.
What is MO Deep Roots?
MO Deep Roots is the name (and URL) of a program originally created by the not-for-profit Missouri River Bluffs Association to promote the use of locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey, and flowers. The Missouri River Bluffs Association (MRBA) signed me on as their “market chef” and spokesperson in the spring of 2013, with a mission to build relationships between local food producers and their customers throughout the Missouri River Bluffs region (Boone, Callaway, Cole, Moniteau, and Osage counties). Over the course of that year I created this web site, developed a series of short cooking videos featuring area farmers, chefs, and foodies making some of their favorite quick dishes, and did a lot of live cooking demonstrations at the six 2013 Taste of Local Missouri Food Festivals. Though MRBA’s hosting of the Taste of Local Missouri events did not make it to a second year, the concept sparked the birth of similar events in the years to follow, like the Autumn on the Bricks festival in Fulton, home of the very first Taste of Local Missouri event. As for me, I am back to focusing on my publication design business, my family, my garden, and puttering around in the kitchen for my own enjoyment. And though my updates are coming fewer and further between as we all wait anxiously for the spring of 2015 to arrive, I still continue to keep the web site online, adding new content as I find the time.
Since this site has “MO” in the name, is it relevant only to Missourians?
Though Missouri has been our focus since the inception of this site, and is virtually embedded in our DNA (or at least in our URL), I post recipes and profiles that are of interest to anyone interested in fresh food that isn’t produced on a factory farm.
What will you find on the MO Deep Roots web site?
- You’ll find a treasure trove of recipes and tips for preparing fresh, local, and seasonal food, with an emphasis on fruits and veggies. Though I may sometimes post recipes I love that take a little extra time to prepare or require a trip to the grocery store, my main focus will be on simple, quick dishes that use readily available ingredients. Check out Focus on the Fresh and Recipes in the main navigational bar if you’d like some fresh ideas for using the ingredients sitting in your veggie drawer.
- I’ll report on what produce is available at the various markets in the Missouri River Bluffs region, and I’ll let you know what to look for and where to find it. Once a week or so I’ll try to post recipes for whatever is hitting the market, as it comes into season.
- Check out our series of short cooking videos featuring local-food luminaries showing me how to prepare some of their favorite dishes.
- The Events Calendar—of particular interest to mid-Missouri residents—will tell you when every farmers’ market in the region is open for business, and will list many other food-related events.
- Find the Source: Check out our comprehensive listing of area farmers’ markets, CSAs, restaurants, and stores that grow, sell, or use locally sourced food in the Missouri River Bluffs region so you’ll know where to go to buy fresh and local.
- Focus on the Farmer: In time, I hope to shine a light on many of the people who grow and sell the food in our area, most of whom have fascinating stories to share. I’ve been getting to know a lot of them lately, and I think you’ll like them as much as I do.
How can you contribute recipes?
I would love to add your recipes and techniques to the MO Deep Roots recipe pool! If you can whip up an easy salad dressing your whole family loves, make a killer blueberry cobbler, or if your grandma’s pot of green beans and potatoes is always a hit at family dinners and potlucks, please send that recipe to me so I can share it on the MO Deep Roots recipes page. (Email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to include your name so I can give you proper credit.)