Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Introducing Our New Market Manager, Liz O'Leary

We're very excited to introduce our new Market Manager, Liz O'Leary, to you! 

Tell us a little about yourself… (how long you’ve lived here, family, what you do around town…) We moved to Cheverly almost 11 years ago. At that time we only had our oldest son Dermot and I was pregnant with our daughter Erin. We had our other son Declan five years ago. We found Cheverly through friends who had grown up here. We were immediately attracted to what a vibrant, friendly community it was. It didn’t take us long to settle in and become involved in many of the community organizations around town, I’m on the boards of the local nursery and Catholic school. The great thing about Cheverly is what a supportive community we have. 

Why did you want to get involved with Cheverly Community Market? I absolutely love our market and I’ve enjoyed watching it grow over the years. I wanted to get involved because I’m excited about our potential, about where we are going. I see us as a child you’ve watched grow and now we are entering our school years. You can’t help but get excited about what we are going to do. Adolescence may be ugly but just wait until we reach adulthood!

What would you like people to know about the Market? I want people to know that even though we are a small market we have everything a larger market might have. We have such amazing vendors.  I like to think of us as feisty!

What are you looking forward to during the upcoming season? Seeing our old vendors return and welcoming our new ones. It’s like returning after school break and all your friends are there waiting for you.  

What are the most important factors to you in buying food? How does purchasing products at farmer’s markets fit into your shopping plans? Whenever possible I try to purchase fresh over packaged. I also try and choose whatever is in season and pick recipes accordingly. With three children in the house we are always busy. I find that planning my meals for the week helps take the pressure off what to make for dinner. When I shop at the market I work into my menus whatever I find at the market that looks good that week. I try and buy my pantry staples there too–peppers, herbs, greens, etc.  

What’s your favorite meal to cook? Well, I grew up in the south so my obvious favorites are go-to Southern staples- fried chicken, gumbo, stuffed peppers, etc. We always had four to five different vegetables on the table at each meal. My grandmother canned everything from my dad’s garden. We would eat homemade pickles and chow-chow all winter long. Summer was the best though, because we would have always have fresh tomatoes and cucumbers on the table. Also–whatever fresh vegetables my dad had picked that day. I will die dreaming of my grandmother’s creamed peas with new potatoes.

Do you do all the cooking in your house? Do your kids cook? My husband Pat and I try and share the cooking in our house. Whenever possible we try and cook together. He’s a bit more adventurous than I am–throwing recipes to the wind. I, on the other hand, enjoy researching new recipes and finding the perfect one. I even test recipes for Cook’s Illustrated.  My cooking style has changed over the years–less fried foods and more emphasis on healthy and fresh combinations. It’s about finding a balance. Our kids do cook as well, and can make some basic meals for themselves. We try to include them in the process whenever possible. My grandmother taught me to cook, to which I attribute to my lifelong love of food and cooking. I hope my own children develop this love the way I did.

Please help us welcome Liz. We're thrilled that she's with us!