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In Melissa’s Kitchen with Nancie McDermott

Last week, I had the honor of visiting Melissa’s Produce for a cooking demo by the highly renowned author, Nancie McDermott. I was in for a treat. Not only did I get a chance to sample some of the foods from her cookbook, Fruit: a Savor the South, by I also got to learn so much from her.

Nancy McDermott

My favorite thing that they served from her cookbook was a Horchata de Melon cantaloupe seed drink. It was light, refreshing, and boasted with fresh flavors. It was so delicious that I ended up going back for seconds (and maybe thirds).

Arugula Salad with Persimmon

Another highlight from the luncheon was her arugula salad with persimmon. Persimmon is a fruit that I don’t often serve to my children, and to be honest, I usually forget about it. Having the fresh Persimmon from Melissa’s Produce paired with the arugula was pure perfection.

During the demo, Nancie McDermott talked a lot about produce. She is a wealth of information, and I learned so much from hearing her speak. Along with educating us on some rare fruits in the South, she did a cooking demo for her BlackBerry Roly Poly recipe.

BlackBerry Roly Poly Recipe

I am not one to usually eat dessert, but during the luncheon, all my friends encouraged me to have a slice. I am so grateful that they told me how delicious it was because I savored every bite of the delicious dessert. The dessert paired with the rich sauce and whipped cream – oh my!

Cooking Demo with Nancie McDermott

Nancy McDermott cooking demo at Melissa's Produce

During the demo, she showed everyone in attendance how easy it is to make the dessert. My favorite part was when she poured a large cup of melted butter over the dough, followed by fresh Melissa’s Produce Blackberries and sugar! It is my new go-to recipe for the next time that we entertain friends for dinner.

Making Nancy McDermott's BlackBerry Roly Poly

Nancie McDermott’s cookbook, Fruit: a Savor the South, is currently available online. Enjoy watching the cooking demo on the Melissa’s Produce Facebook Live.

About Fruit: a Savor the South

Fruit A Savor of the South Cookbook

Fruit collects a dozen of the South’s bountiful locally sourced fruits in a cook’s basket of fifty-four luscious dishes, savory and sweet. Demand for these edible jewels is growing among those keen to feast on the South’s natural pleasures, whether gathered in the wild or cultivated with care.

Indigenous fruits here include blackberries, mayhaws, muscadine and scuppernong grapes, pawpaws, persimmons, and strawberries. From old-school Grape Hull Pie to Mayhaw Jelly–Glazed Shrimp, McDermott’s recipes for these less common fruits are of remarkable interest–and incredibly tasty.

The non-native fruits in the volume were eagerly adopted long ago by southern cooks, and they include damson plums, figs, peaches, cantaloupes, quince, and watermelons. McDermott gives them a delicious twist in recipes such as Fresh Fig Pie and Thai-Inspired Watermelon-Pineapple Salad.

About Nancie McDermott

Melissa's Produce Baby Pineapple

McDermott also illuminates how the South–from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Lowcountry, from the Mississippi Delta to the Gulf Coast–encompasses diverse subregional culinary traditions when it comes to fruit. Her recipes, including a favorite piecrust, provide a treasury of ways to relish southern fruits at their ephemeral peak and to preserve them for enjoyment throughout the year.

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