Last summer we discovered the Black Mountain Farmer’s Market, which is a small market with locally grown and produced foods and crafts. We took the girls down there for a Saturday morning trip and purchased local produce, then came back to the Merri-Mac cooking kitchen to create a meal. It was so much fun that we couldn’t wait to get back there this year, and so on this first Saturday we commandeered a van and headed out. It’s early in the growing season here in the NC mountains, so our options were limited, but we still had a wonderful trip and found plenty of great local food to bring back to camp to cook. We purchased a variety of lettuce, including microgreens—a very nutritious and delicious addition to our salad, an assortment of goat cheeses from a local creamery, breads from two local bakeries, and mushrooms, onions, peppers, and sausage. On returning to camp, we decided to make a large tossed salad, pasta pesto with roasted vegetables, and bruschetta with feta and olives or parmesan and sundried tomatoes. For dessert, we had some brownies (a test batch I had made for an upcoming class) and some locally made chocolate—dark Hawaiian with sea salt! Everything was delicious and the girls had a wonderful trip. It was great to see what was in season and to work together to plan a meal that incorporated these fresh local ingredients! Hopefully, when the girls get home, they will think about looking for their own local farmer’s market and finding ways to add fresh local foods into their family’s meal plan. Happy cooking!

Cook Leslie



As our starter campers arrive back at home, I hope they are excited about cooking for you. It was a short week, but we made a variety of things including chocolate chip cookies, French toast, and quick breads. Many of the recipes were posted last year and can be found by clicking on the NEWS tab (at the top of the camp website on the blue bar). Once the news page opens, click on the red word SEARCH and type in Leslie’s Cooking Corner. Then click again on the red title Leslie’s Cooking Corner and all of the recipes we made last year will pop up, including the cookies, French toast, and banana bread. In addition to baking banana bread on Friday, we also baked lemon yogurt bread, pumpkin bread, and blueberry zucchini bread. I would love to take credit for these recipes, but alas, all I can take credit for is finding them on the internet and testing them at home. I hope you and your girls enjoy cooking together at home as much as I enjoyed cooking with them here at camp!

Recipe Links:

Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Yogurt Cake:

My Baking Addiction’s Blueberry Zucchini Bread (we drizzled some of the lemon glaze from the lemon cake onto this and thought it was the PERFECT addition):

My Baking Addiction’s Pumpkin Bread (this made two loaves so we added chocolate chips to one—what doesn’t taste better with chocolate chips? And instead of pumpkin pie spice we used 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon allspice, ¼ teaspoon ginger.):