Life Extension Magazine®

Incorporate locally grown fruit and evgetables in to your daily diet

Local Dirt: Seasonal Recipes for Eating Close to Home

In her book Local Dirt, Andrea Bemis provides practical guidance for finding your own local food resources and suggestions for localizing the recipes. We highlight three recipes.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Andrea Bemis.

Farmer and author Andrea Bemis asks three key questions when choosing what to eat:

Is it good for my body?

Is it good for the planet?

Is it good for other people (community)?

Bemis realized she couldn't fully answer those questions if she didn't know where her food was coming from, so she challenged herself to eat locally—within a 200-mile radius—for 30 days.

She captured her experience—and the recipes that grew out of it—in her latest book, Local Dirt: Seasonal Recipes for Eating Close to Home.

All the recipes in Local Dirt use ingredients from Bemis's home in the Pacific Northwest. You can follow the recipes exactly as they are, or make substitutions suitable to what's available to you locally.

Local Dirt also provides practical guidance for learning how to locate your own local food resources, as well as suggestions for how to localize each recipe. And because eating locally and eating seasonally go hand-in-hand, the recipes in the book are divided by season.

Here, Life Extension® highlights three recipes from Local Dirt that can be prepared at various times throughout the year.

—Laurie Mathena

Grilled Bread and Marinated Tomato Salad


  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into quarters
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces day-old sourdough bread, cut into ¾-inch-thick slices
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Oil your grill racks and preheat the grill to high.

In a large bowl, toss the garlic, tomatoes, onion, olive oil, and vinegar together. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and set aside for 20 minutes.

Brush the bread slices with olive oil. Place them on the grill, close the lid, and cook, turning them once, until they are well marked, about 4 minutes—but check the bread after 2 minutes, as this could happen faster, depending on your grill. Remove the bread to a cutting board, and when it is cool enough to handle, cut or tear it into ¾-inch cubes.

Add the bread to the bowl with the tomatoes and toss in the basil. Mix well until the bread cubes are evenly coated and serve.

Localize it

I wouldn’t change much here, as the ingredients should be easy enough to find in high summer in most places.

However, you can swap out the balsamic vinegar for red wine vin- egar, basil for parsley or dill, and scallions for the red onion.

Fall Harvest Sheet Pan Salmon and Veggies with Kale Pesto



  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 cups packed kale leaves (about 1 small bunch)
  • ¾ cup toasted walnuts (or any lightly toasted nut or seed)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ cup walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if desired


  • 1 large onion, peeled, cut into ½ -inch wedges
  • 3 small beets, halved (no need to peel)
  • 2 carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces (no need to peel)
  • 1 small to medium sweet potato, cut into 1-inch pieces (no need to peel)
  • 8 broccolini stalks
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 (5- to 6-ounce) salmon fillets

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Make the pesto: In a food processor, mince the garlic cloves. Add the kale, walnuts, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil. Process until the pesto reaches your desired consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

To begin roasting, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the veggies with olive oil and season them with red pepper flakes and salt and black pepper to taste. Roast them for about 20 minutes, or until they are slightly tender.

Remove the pan from the oven and wedge the salmon fillets between the veggies, skin side down.

Return the pan to the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the salmon reaches desired doneness and the veggies are tender.

Serve salmon and veggies family-style, with kale pesto for drizzling.

Localize it

You could use trout, cod, or even a tuna loin. Keep in mind that cooking times will vary. Swap out the veggies with what you've got on hand. Cauliflower, turnips, and butternut squash would all be great additions. No kale? Substitute another pesto or chimichurri sauce.

Winter Squash Wedges with Gorgonzola Butter and Hazelnuts



  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons Gorgonzola or any blue cheese


  • 1½ pounds winter squash, cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • Sea salt
  • Minced parsley for serving
  • 2 tablespoons toasted and crushed hazelnuts
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Make the Gorgonzola butter: In a medium-sized bowl, pound the garlic and a hefty pinch of salt with the back of a spoon until a paste forms. Add the butter and cheese and mix until well incorporated. Set aside.

Make the squash: Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and brush the squash wedges with a little melted butter. Add the squash to the skillet and cook, undisturbed, for a few minutes. Once the squash begins to brown up a bit, turn the wedges and continue to cook, turning them every few minutes, until they are tender, about 25 minutes.

Season with a pinch of salt.

Spoon a thin layer of the Gorgonzola butter onto a platter and top it with the squash. Sprinkle with the minced parsley, hazelnuts, and freshly ground black pepper.

Localize it

You could sub in roasted carrots or roasted beets for the winter squash. Try using any local nut or seed in place of the hazelnuts. And a nice local blue cheese is a great substitute for the Gorgonzola.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

From the book Local Dirt by Andrea Bemis. Copyright © 2020 by Andrea Bemis. Published on October 13, 2020 by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

To order a copy of Local Dirt, call 1-800-544-4440 or visit

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