Hello faithful Advocate food readers!

I’m excited to be joining you on this journey of home-cooked meals and interesting stories told around tables throughout south Louisiana.

I’ve been writing about food in and around Baton Rouge for more than a decade. I grew up in Natchitoches and Winnfield, but have called Baton Rouge home for more than 20 years.

Thanks to being raised by entrepreneurs in a small town, I have a soft spot for locally-owned businesses. I have been a family restaurant and home-cook advocate since I was old enough to hold a fork. You may have seen a glimpse of my love for these entities, along with regionally raised food, on Facebook and Twitter at I Eat BR. I’m excited to expand I Eat BR into I Eat LA.

I follow culinary events, local restaurant news and study food systems in Louisiana.

Supporting farms, restaurants and stores owned by families in and around our city makes me feel like I’m part of our community, not just a consumer. I know my farmer. I know my chefs. I trade recipes with shop owners, and I even know my favorite cashier at the grocery store.

I guess you can take the girl out of the small town, but you can’t take small town out of the girl. I’ve talked myself into believing this big capital city, a hub of state politics, universities and publicly-traded companies, is just a cluster of small towns sewn together.

I do prefer to support locally sourced foods as much as I can, but I certainly can’t say you won’t see me in Target in the middle of the night snapping up Halos because I forgot to plan for fruit in the kids’ lunch boxes. Life happens, but I am always glad to support and appreciate local foods whenever possible.

Cooking with ingredients grown near where we live is important to me. It’s fresher, indigenous to our area, and grown by people we can stop by and get to know.

Experimenting with new and different ways to cook gets the whole family interested in what we found at the farmers market or what came in the Community Supported Agriculture box.

I hope you’ll enjoy trying these simple recipes for vegetables that are in season now or coming soon to a farmers market near you. Now that you know a little of my story, look for more stories of food and friends with whom we share a table and this great state.

Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at teresabday@cox.net.