When I was a little my grandfather, by then a retired Chef, would take me to local farms to get fresh produce. He also grew nearly everything imaginable. Farm to table eating is not a new thing, it’s the way it all began. Grandpa used to say “your body needs the nutrients of what's growing around you now. You can’t need food that’s grown in South America”, it just made no sense to him.
We did preserve anything in abundance as well though, just like we do at Pure Joy now. When the peaches came in, we made & froze peach pies and we canned spiced peaches. When the herbs went crazy in the summer we hung them to dry and froze small bags of them. We pickled all kinds of things. We had chickens, an orchard and berries too. Learning to process my own real food from the ground to the plate is what made me the chef I am today.
So now, 50 years later, I’m the first one at the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, that’s my favorite one; boy! grandpa would have loved it too - if he could ever get past the prices, they’d freak him out for sure - lol. Yes, the seasons in Santa Barbara are more subtle than elsewhere, but they are indeed very different at the market. You just know when spring sprang because the fava beans make their first appearance, then the cherries show up to announce the start of summer with their short little show and fall is trumpeted in with the persimmons. After all these years the farmers still surprise us with new items and the delicious excitement of the seasons.
At Pure Joy we owe a great round of applause to the Farmers in our area that show up heat, rain or shine and make their magic in the dirt, God love um. Grandpa sure would have.
Lynette La Mere, Executive Chef, Pure Joy Catering
Photos by Lucas Oliver Oswald