What’s in Your Produce Basket? Cooking with Food Blogger, Naomi Gingerich

This is a Special Guest Post from our friends at The Cooks in the Kitchen.

Focaccia studded with heirloom tomatoes and served with olive oil dipping sauce

Hi! My name is Naomi and I host a food blog called The Cooks in the Kitchen in Winston-Salem. I love collaborating with others who share a similar passion for the bountiful products we have available in North Carolina so it is an honor to be a guest blogger for Carolina Monthly today.

I was born on a farm in Ohio’s Amish country to parents whose lives revolved around farming and daily gatherings around the table. We milked our cows, ate from the garden, and spent many days preserving the season’s harvest for upcoming winter months. The simplicity of this lifestyle combined with a passion for home-cooked meals and a deeply-rooted sense of community was a huge influence on my life. I have carried many of these traditions into my modern-day life as a wife, mom, home cook and writer living in Winston-Salem.

On Thursday, December 31, 2015 writer Naomi Gingrich posed for portraits in Pfafftown, NC. Image copyright Lauren Olinger

A promoter of the farm-to-table movement, one of my favorite weekend things to do is meandering through a farmer’s market. With basket in hand, I walk through stalls of vendors with their brightly colored piles of produce, buckets of flowers, ice chests of organic meat, jars of honey and even toiletries such as goat milk soap and – a summer essential – lavender-scented mosquito repellent.

I have favorites that always end up in the basket, such as heirloom tomatoes, eggs, arugula and goat milk feta, but sometimes there are things like purslane, patty pan squash, foraged mushrooms or garlic scapes that make me pause and wish for a good recipe to try them. And, to be honest, I like to look into other people’s baskets and ask what meals they plan to make with their bulging bags of produce.

With these thoughts in mind, I recently started a cooking club called Monday Market Meals which features a global community of cooks dedicated to using locally sourced food in support of farmers and growers. We post our meals and recipes each Monday, using the Instagram hashtag of #mondaymarketmeals so we can all see each other’s cooking and find inspiration for the seasonal things growing in our part of the world. We also share recipes, which I feature on a Monday blog post at The Cooks in the Kitchen.

Cooking in the kitchen and gathering family and friends around the table for meals has always been a big part of my life. It has carried me through many seasons and served as an anchor of slow living in a fast-paced world. Though my kitchen is humble, it is the place where I feel the strongest sense of home.



Blueberries are ripening all across farms in North Carolina right now, so here is a recipe you can use for those berries fresh from the market.

Blueberry Raspberry Pie

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling (I use an unbleached, unbromated organic flour)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup buttermilk (more if needed)


3 cups fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh raspberries

¾ cup white sugar

3 tablespoons corn starch

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

1 tablespoon butter



Place the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to break the butter into the flour until mixture is coarse but with some chunks of butter remaining. Whisk egg yolk with 1/4 cup cold buttermilk in small bowl and then add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon, drizzling in more buttermilk as needed (no more than 1 tablespoon at a time), until dough just comes together (a few dry spots are okay). Gently knead dough on a lightly floured surface until no dry spots remain, about one minute. Divide dough in half. Shape each piece into a circular disk.

Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.

Roll out 1 disk of dough onto a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle. Carefully transfer the crust to the prepared pie plate. Lift up the edges and allow the dough to sink down into the dish. Press firmly into bottom and sides of pan, leaving some overhang (you will trim edges later). Prick the bottom of the dough gently with a fork a few times. Cover the pie plate and place in fridge for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, roll out second disk and cut into 1-inch strips for the top crust. (For a step-by-step guide on lattice top crusts, click here.)


Mix dry ingredients and pour over berries. Give it a gentle stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to mix. Pour into prepared pie crust. Dot with about 1 tablespoon of butter.   Cover with lattice top crust.

Bake at 400 degrees F on lower rack of oven for 50 minutes. If top gets too brown, you may cover loosely with a piece of tin foil towards the end of the baking time.

Cool completely before cutting and serving.



For more recipes, photos and culinary advice, follow along at The Cooks in the Kitchen.

Israeli Salad made with fresh ingredients from the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old SalemCrispy chicken tacos with creamy slaw served on heirloom dishesChocolate Babka - an Israeli sweet bread laced with heady chocolate

Fresh peel and eat shrimp steamed at the coast on a trip to the Outer BanksAn outdoor dinner party at a friend's B & B in Amish country, near to our family's farm.





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