I consider myself quite lucky to live in a place where I can be in a vibrant downtown area in 20 minutes or out at a farmer's market that is actually on the farm in about 10 minutes. Cooking with fresh, local ingredients is not only very enjoyable, but it also makes for some delicious meals.
Recently on a visit to my nearby farm market, I picked up among many other things some locally grown red potatoes and a sweet onion without any real plan for either. On the way home I decided that I was quite tired of the same old roasted red potatoes with french onion soup mix that seems to be a staple in the kitchen of everyone I know. I searched the internet for some different recipes and was uninspired by my findings, so I decided to make it up as I went along.
I started by chopping 6 medium red potatoes into small pieces - about 1" x 1" x 1/2". I then finely chopped the onion into very small pieces. In keeping with the fresh and local idea, I then went out into my herb garden and went through the choices I had there and decided on some tarragon. I picked enough tarragon so that when finely chopped I had about 2 tbs. I then put all these ingredients into a pyrex baking dish, added 1 1/2 tbs. of olive oil and some salt and pepper and mixed them all together. Finally I cooked the potatoes for 50 minutes at 425 degrees. Once the tarragon started cooking and the aromas filled my kitchen, I knew I was onto something good. The dish was a great accompaniment to a grilled pork tenderloin and fresh summer corn.
So go ahead and get out there to support your local farmers. Buy what's fresh and local and get creative, sometimes its just the inspiration you'll need to get out of the trap of making the same old side dishes all the time. You'll feel good about the fresh, high quality food you'll get, and you can feel good that your supporting local businesses and helping our environment in many ways.