As a Massachusetts (soon to be DETROIT! but more on that later) blogger, I absolutely love connecting with my local community. I feel so grateful to live in a time and place where I have access not only to food, but to clean, healthy, and delicious food. There are so many optionsto choose from when it comes to choosing the food we eat, and I believe it is so important to make informed choices about what we put into our bodies. Yes, I am a baking blogger, but I am very particular about the ingredients and companies I choose to work with.
Local ingredients are something I feel very strongly about. Not only is it typically healthier to eat local, sustainable ingredients, but it’s also good for the environment (no trucks driving thousands of miles to stockpile every store in the country), and good for our economy (support your local farmers, people!).
I get especially excited about this time of year because there are so many amazing seasonal ingredients available to most of the country. Cooking (and in my case, baking) with seasonal ingredients not only means that it’s more likely that the ingredient is local, but it also means it’s tastier. No, wait, tastiest.
It’s high rhubarb season right now, so I’m baking with as much rhubarb as I can. These mini almond rhubarb cakes have rhubarb both on top and inside the cakes, so you get a bit of ‘barb in each bite. They are also made with almond flour, which gives them the softest, most wonderful texture. It tastes almost like a sugar cookie. Seriously.
The idea for these mini cakes came about on a recent trip to Whole Foods Market. I had the pleasure of visiting the newest Whole Foods Market in Massachusetts — Whole Foods Westford — a few days before its grand opening. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Westford is about a 40-minute drive from the city, and this Whole Foods store alone makes it worth the visit.
I was immediately struck by the look of the store. It was bright, graphic, and fun. The design team that put this store together did a phenomenal job at making it enjoyable to shop in. It was bright, clean, and yet playful.
For the Mass locals, get this: there is a Clover Food Lab pop-up in the store. It’s a permanent installation where you can pick up healthy, local meals and sandwiches. Drool.
There are also a bunch of non-typical bulk items like a pick your own pasta station and assorted loose-leaf teas. The pasta was especially enticing for those nights you want a little rigatoni for yourself without getting an entire box that then sits in your fridge for the rest of the week. Am I right?
And in the health & beauty section, they have the biggest assortment of natural makeup I had ever seen, along with absolutely gorgeous blocks of soap (don’t you just want to take a bath with Almond Goat Milk soap?).
Throughout the store, there was a huge amount of energy placed on being local. There are “I’m A Local!” stickers that go along with local products to make spotting them easy. I even learned that each Whole Foods store in the USA has someone called a “local forager,” whose job it is to source local items for the store. I absolutely loved hearing that Whole Foods Market has gone so far as to dedicate an entire job to finding local, sustainable ingredients and products for its customers.
As soon as I came home from my Whole Foods Westford fest, I knew I wanted to highlight all this local business. Which is how the idea of these mini almond rhubarb cakes was formed. I wanted to use a seasonal ingredient available in Massachusetts (and most of the country right now!), so rhubarb it was. The result was a rhubarb cake so good Rebe and I ate them all in like four days. Heheh.
And Mass friends, if you make it out to Whole Foods Westford, let me know! I’d love to hear what you think 🙂