Fraser Farmer’s Market a place to indulge love of fresh food
If you’re like me, you live for this time of year. Fresh fruits and vegetables longed for all winter are finally at farmers markets – many locally sourced.
Fresh strawberries from my garden won’t be here for a while, so I’ll continue with store-bought ones dipped in chocolate, whirled in smoothies and later mixed with backyard rhubarb into a tart and tasty pie filling.
Chocolate-dipped strawberries always remind me of Debbie Harris. The first time I met her she came into the room bearing a platter mounded with oversized long-stemmed strawberries, each hand-dipped in chocolate. She the woman of the hour at our company retreat.
At the time, Harris catered as one of the functions of her company S’More the Food You Love. During vacations to the Fraser Valley prior to moving here, Harris noticed, “The hotels and lodges didn’t offer room service and many of the restaurants didn’t accept reservations for dinner.” She saw a need for “heat-and-eat” catering and provided it until selling the business to a chef. Prior to moving here, she had a private chef business, and before that, worked in advertising in California.
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Like so many who enjoy cooking, Harris’ mom was as a great cook and hostess who loved to feed people. Harris recalled, “There were always orphans at the table. I loved her lasagna and tuna noodle casserole. I learned a lot from her. Cooking is also my creative outlet.”
In fact, she gets creative every day around dinnertime, as she cooks the family meal for Tom, her “significant other” and Ben, her 13-year-old son. “I like to incorporate as many fruits and vegetables as I can into a meal and will often do a menu that might include grilled chicken, fish or pork with some sort of fun salsa like grapefruit and avocado, served with brown rice and a simple salad.”
“Tom and Ben like anything I fix and complain that I work too hard when it comes to their dinner. I keep trying to convince them that this is my creative outlet, my means of relaxation. But they have a tough time with that! They both really enjoy a simple pasta and red sauce – Tom makes a mean red sauce,” according to Harris, who also has a 21-year old daughter who attends school in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Dinners at Harris’ are bit more involved, but breakfasts are the same as at any busy home.
As she puts it, “In my house, breakfast is usually quick, while everyone is dashing out the door, so cereal is the favorite.”
Harris provides customer care while working with Destinations West during the ski season. She (as are Francie DeVos, Janet Hickox and Marianne Klancke) is a founding member of the five-year-old local group, Businesses Without Borders. With a goal of keeping the economy in Grand County afloat, the group provides opportunities for business owners to get to know about other businesses and sets the stage for referrals to their respective businesses. To learn more about the group, visit http://www.gcbwb.com
Currently, Harris’ business involvement in food is at a different level. She is working with the Town of Fraser and the Winter Park/Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce to host the Fraser Farmers Market. This market will run every Sunday from June 28 through Aug. 2 at the Town-owned property between Timberline Thai restaurant and Ryan Real Estate on Highway 40 in Fraser, between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Harris said, “We’ve got an amazing line-up of vendors and everyone should come out to purchase fabulous produce, one-of-a-kind artwork and many more amazing products. If anyone out there is interested in participating, they should give me a call at 970-531-7670.”
When she’s not hosting the Fraser Farmers Market this summer, Harris hopes to find time for a horseback ride, to walk the dog, to take in a play and relax with a good book and a glass of wine.
Bobby Flay is Harris’ favorite cookbook author. When asked what she’d make if Bobby were to roll into town challenging her to a throw down. She said, “After recovering from sheer panic, I’d get busy with my favorite meal: grilled lamb meatballs with tzatziki and grilled asparagus.”
GRILLED LAMB MEATBALLS
1 pound ground lamb
2 heaping Tbs. dry bulgur, soaked in 1 cup water
until soft (about 30 minutes), then drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, grated and drained
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground paprika (optional)
2 Tbs. chopped parsley
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro (optional)
2 Tbs. olive oil
Excepting the oil, mix everything together, using your hands. Form the mixture into ovals (like mini-footballs) about the size and thickness of small hamburger patties. Use two skewers per meatball and brush with the oil. Grill or broil the patties for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Recipe makes approximately 5 meatballs and serves 3.
3 cups plain yogurt
(do not use low-fat or nonfat)
1 English hothouse cucumber (about 16 ounces),
peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh dill
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 large tomato, quartered, seeded, thinly sliced
Place a strainer over a large bowl. Line strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth. Spoon yogurt into cheesecloth-lined strainer; let stand at room temperature to drain 3 hours (liquid will drain out and yogurt will thicken). Transfer yogurt to medium bowl; discard liquid.
Meanwhile, coarsely grate cucumber. Place in another strainer; let stand at room temperature until most of liquid drains out, about 3 hours. Discard liquid. Squeeze excess moisture from cucumber.
Mix cucumber, dill and garlic into yogurt. Serve alongside the meatballs. Garnish with tomato slices. Can be made 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate until serving.
Contact Susan Stone at 970-531-1952 or email@example.com
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