Local Fare Worth the Trip

By Kaylee McDaniel

 

If you are like me, this time of year inspires daydreams about finally growing my own garden. Farm fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and squash all sound (and taste) wonderful, but let’s face it: not everyone has the gift of the green thumb. Fortunately, Oklahoma is chock full of farms that can provide for your wildest culinary desires. Eating local has never been tastier.

On average, every bite of food you consume travels 1,500 miles to get to your plate. If you want to get your food closer the source, check out your nearby farmers market. While most communities will have one, the Norman farmers market has the honor of being the oldest in the state. Located in the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, this market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from the first Saturday in April until mid-October.

Other metro residents can use the resources of Urban Agrarian’s mobile market to find fresh food all year round. Urban Agrarian buys directly from local farmers to distribute food to restaurants, schools and individuals. Urban Agrarian’s Midtown Market at Saints Hospital resumes in May, but the Edmond location opens in April.

If gourmet food is more your style, look no further than Krebs for Italian staples with an Oklahoma twist. Oklahoma’s “Little Italy” provides delicious restaurants and family-owned groceries that celebrate the area’s Italian heritage. At Lovera’s Italian Market, the Lovera family continues the tradition of providing homemade cheese, sausage and pasta, as well as imported goods from Italy. Pete’s Place, another family-owned business in Krebs, brews Choc Beer from a recipe handed down since before the Prohibition.

Native Roots Market, in Norman, is a grocery store with a mission to provide the consumer with local and organic food. In addition to providing the gourmet lines from Lovera’s Market and Oklahoma City’s Prairie Gypsies, they also stock a selection of fresh produce, organic meats, coffee, honey and bread—products from 70 of the state’s finest food artisans.

If you prefer to eat locally sourced food rather than cook it, a visit to the Living Kitchen Farm & Garden in Dewey will provide a culinary feast celebrating seasonal vegetables of all kinds during their Farm Table dinners. The menu draws inspiration from whatever crop is abundant at the time. In May, the dinner will feature asparagus from Three Springs Farm, but each month brings a new focus. Some are more traditional, like July’s tomato feast, but some introduce new flavors, like the dinner highlighting the flavors of lavender in June. For $60, guests will enjoy a six-course meal and non-alcoholic drinks. Reservations can be made on the farm’s website at livingkitchen.homestead.com.

Other restaurants are also incorporating local foods into their menu, including Ludivine in Oklahoma City. The restaurant, located at 805 N. Hudson, uses the bounty of local farmers and ranchers to create its menu, which is seasonal and can change daily.

For more inspiration on how to eat and shop local, visit TravelOK.com and search “ECO” for a complete listing of hotels, restaurants, and events.

 

Kaylee McDaniel is the Sustainable Initiatives and Travel Communications Assistant with the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.