The Wild Root Market is dedicated to strengthening the local food system by operating a full-service, cooperatively-owned grocery store right here in Racine. The co-op will be a source for local, natural, organic food that is produced sustainably and ethically.
Rather than wait for the doors of the Wild Root Market to open, you can lend your support by becoming a “Pioneering Owner” now. You’ll become part of a growing movement committed to building a sustainable local food system which benefits the health of people, the environment, and the economy.
According to the National Cooperative Business Association, “In communities all across the United States, food cooperatives provide grocery items of the highest quality and best value to their members.... When it comes to healthier food, food cooperatives are the innovators. Both the organic and local food trends started with retail food cooperatives.”
Racine County and surrounding areas have an abundance of regional farmers and producers who offer quality foods and other products that are currently difficult to find for sale in Racine. The Wild Root Market will bring producers and consumers together for the economic benefit of both.
Learn more about ownership in the Wild Root Market at www.wildrootmarket.com. You can make the one-time payment all at once or use the installment plan. The more people who buy a share in the co-op, the sooner the Wild Root Market will open.
Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the current owners of the Wild Root Market. Leslie Perrino, a local artist and teacher (www.leslieperrino.com), is an owner and ardent supporter of the Wild Root Market. “I became an owner because I think a food co-op would be a good thing for our community, and I want a convenient place to buy food that is fresh, healthy, and local.”
Leslie told me about growing up in a family that loved good food. “My father’s parents were Italian immigrants in south Philadelphia, who valued good fresh food in spite of modest means. My grandmother took me to a cheese shop when I was a child and I fell in love with fresh warm mozzarella cheese. My maternal grandparents were pure Americana with a large vegetable garden in their back yard; my grandmother was a great cook who made her own pickled eggs which were pink with beet juice.”
Not surprisingly, Leslie knows her way around the kitchen. At a recent gathering of Wild Root Market owners, she served some delicious homemade sweet potato biscuits. I asked for the recipe and was delighted to learn that the biscuits are credited to Thomas Jefferson and were served to the Founding Fathers at the first meeting of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1774.
Thomas Jefferson was an advocate of local farms, fresh produce, and sustainable agriculture, which makes this recipe a perfect fit with the mission of the Wild Root Market. Thomas Jefferson’s Sweet Potato Biscuits are the third entry in my series of recipes from Wild Root Market owners. Please consider becoming an owner yourself or show your support by “Liking” the Wild Root Market on Facebook.
Thomas Jefferson’s Sweet Potato Biscuits
Thomas Jefferson’s Sweet Potato Biscuits are served daily at the City Tavern Restaurant in Philadelphia; this recipe is based on their recipe which appears in the City Tavern Cookbook: Recipes from the Birthplace of American Cuisine.
Thank you to Wild Root Market owner Leslie Perrino for sharing the recipe. Leslie makes the biscuits with organic ingredients and reports good results using whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour and half-in-half in lieu of heavy cream. (I made a batch using half whole wheat pastry flour and half all-purpose unbleached flour with good results.) Please note, this recipe makes a huge batch, requiring a very large mixing bowl and 2 baking sheets.
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tablespoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup shortening
- 2 cups cooked, cooled, skinned and mashed sweet potatoes (about 3 medium sweet potatoes)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and allspice in large bowl. Use a pastry cutter to cut the shortening into the flour until crumbly.
Add the cooled and mashed sweet potatoes and stir well with a wooden spoon. Add the cream and pecans and stir until thoroughly combined.
Transfer dough to floured surface. Press or roll the dough to ½ to ¾ inch thickness. Cut biscuits with floured biscuit cutter. Place biscuits 1 to 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until biscuits are cooked through and golden brown.
Makes approximately 20 to 24 biscuits though yield varies with thickness of dough and diameter of biscuits.