The return of the farmers market for me each season is just about as exciting as Christmas Day. Springtime brings me so much joy! With fresh herbs and local produce on my mind, I love getting up on Saturday morning, throwing on my yoga pants with a tank top, a pair of favorite flip flops and my over-sized sunglasses, and heading out the door. Sometimes, I even pack up my 10-pound Shih Tzu, Ewok, and we ride with the radio up and the windows down on the way.
Opening day of the Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market is April 7. In its 11th year, it is such an impressive community event, showcasing our area’s finest fresh produce, herbs and local fare. Only one more week until pints and pints of gorgeous, red-ripened strawberries, sweet Vidalia onions, lettuce varieties, deep purple radishes and garden peas await. Visions of homemade jams and flavored syrups, fresh cheeses, grass-fed beef, farm eggs by the dozens and wildflower honey run through my dreams. Stone ground grits, French bread and caramelized onion focaccia, oh my! I have to pace myself as my eyes devour everything in sight faster than my wallet can keep up.
If you’ve never visited our local farmers market, you are truly missing out. It is one of Statesboro’s most charming attractions, not to mention most viable resources for locally sourced ingredients. There is such value in getting to know where your food comes from and building relationships with local farmers. I highly encourage it, not only because the food is affordable and top quality, but because you’ll be preserving the community where you live, work and play.
April is strawberry season, and this Strawberry Country Cake from Food Network’s Ina Garten is a great way to showcase the juicy fruit. I’ve made this cake many times for Mother’s Day or as a sweet springtime treat. Visit SomeKindaGood.com for farmers market-inspired recipes like my Grilled Panzanella Salad, Bruschetta and Blackberry-Peach Crumble.
Strawberry Country Cake
Courtesy of FoodNetwork.com
Copyright 2001, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, All Rights Reserved
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
For the filling for each cake:
1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom of two 8-inch cake pans. Then line them with parchment paper and butter and flour the lined pans.
Cream the butter and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the sour cream, zests, and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine just until smooth.
Pour the batter evenly into the pans, smooth the tops, and bake in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then remove to wire racks and let cool to room temperature. If using 1 cake, wrap the second well and freeze (I always do this!)
To make the filling for one cake, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until firm. Slice one of the cakes in half with a long, sharp knife. Place the bottom slice of the cake on a serving platter, spread with 1/2 the whipped cream and scatter with sliced strawberries. Cover with the top slice of the cake and spread with the remaining cream. Decorate with strawberries.
Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a food enthusiast, writer and the cooking show host of SKG-TV on YouTube. The personality behind the blog, SomeKindaGood.com, she is a public relations graduate of Georgia Southern University and attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. Search Facebook for Some Kinda Good or tweet her @SKGFoodBlog.