Spring Menu: Cookout with a local twist

Local food isn’t just for special occasions! If you’re going to grill, think about how to tweak your normal recipes to use the foods that are in season.

Grilled spring veggies: We’ve all had grilled peppers and eggplant. But asparagus, spring onions, garlic scapes, snap peas, spring turnips, and mushrooms are all delicious on the grill, and they are all in season in June! Roll the cut veggies in olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and stick on skewers or directly on the grill grate. Mark Bittman’s website provides some additional ideas (grilled bok choy and kale?) and cooking tips. Use our online database to search for particular vegetables, or look for nearby farmers’ markets, retailers, or farm stands.

Beef burgers: This is a no-brainer: grill with local meat! We’ve got a list of farms producing beef here, or search for whatever meat you prefer. The River Cottage Meat Book is an excellent source of information on the meat industry, how to choose quality meat, and how to cook it. If you want to get serious about hamburgers, check out their recipes. Don’t forget to top your burger with local cheese!

cabbage 4Coleslaw: The Kitchen Garden wrote an ode to the delights of spring cabbage, grown to be eaten fresh. It comes into season late in June, but it is worth looking for. And the best coleslaw recipe ever also comes from The Kitchen Garden’s website. If you’re doing your local cookout before spring cabbage comes into season, try a snow pea slaw or a radish and arugula salad!

Cornbread: Why not tweak a basic cornbread recipe to feature local ingredients? It’s getting increasingly simple to buy local grain, including cornmeal and flour, and you can easily find local milk and eggs. If you froze corn last summer, throw in a cup of kernels for fresh corn flavor and moisture.

Strawberry Fool: This is a classic British dessert, consisting mostly of strawberries and cream and requiring no cooking. Such a simple dessert highlights perfect local berries. There’s a nice recipe here.


There are local businesses making relish, pickles, and sauces using local ingredients. Check them out!

Don’t forget to serve local wines, cider, mead, and other local drinks!

To participate in the Local Hero Challenge:

Share a photo of your creations or your own menu (via email, Facebook, or Twitter), and we’ll enter you in the raffle, and we’ll share our favorites back out.

New to the Challenge? There’s more information here.