Many of you may be familiar with the former Daily Grind Café on South Main Street in Rocky Mount. Now I work as an account executive for The Franklin News Post. I started the café in 2012 because, as a former nurse who lives in an agricultural area, I wanted to nurse through nutrition and offer a variety of healthy options.

My love of people and my passion for food drove me. I have always felt the best way to connect with people is to break bread with them. I am a nurturer by nature and the act of preparing and serving brings me great joy. I show love through this process and in turn I have made the most amazing friendships.

I came to Franklin County in 2009 from Henry County, after the economic crunch and losing my job at the hospital where I had worked for almost 10 years. While married, I lived on a 168-acre farm in a 150-year-old home and raised two girls. I wanted to stay home and raise gardens, flowers and children. We started out with acres of vegetables along with tobacco and the sheer size of the garden was daunting. Between the deer and raccoons it was hard to say who I was feeding better, the critters or the family.

I built a smaller kitchen garden that was more manageable and closer to the house for easier care and grew everything from herbs to asparagus and Brussel sprouts. I loved the feeling of going out in the early mornings and gathering a handful of berries or whatever was coming in at the time. Canning became an important part of the experience and a great way to enjoy the fruits of my bounty yearlong.

We are now living in times of commercial farming and food sources being contaminated, so we are seeing the resurgence of the small farmer. We are going back to our roots of self-sufficiency and bartering from our neighbors. “I have chickens and you have corn — Let’s swap.” Living in an agricultural community affords us an opportunity to keep it fresh and locally grown.

Knowing where your food was produced and the person who is producing it is becoming a popular trend and accounts for the emergence of more farmers’ markets with direct sells from farm to consumer.

Folks are also realizing the importance of eating healthy and the correlation of the gut and the immune system. With all the trending fad diets out there, going back to a whole food approach is the best diet trend. I have a passion for cooking. I seldom use recipes I generally cupboard cook — using what I have on-hand to prepare a dish. However, I have been asked to share some of my favorite dishes from The Daily Grind. I have received numerous requests for my signature side dish — kale salad.

DAILY GRIND CAFE’S KALE SALAD

20 servings This is a great side dish, as well as a high protein main course. I like to Sunday prep my food for the week, and this can be made and set in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for eating during the week.

One bag of fresh kale (take out large stems and tear into small bits) or fresh picked approximately 1lb

Shred or grate fresh broccoli, carrots, Brussel sprouts, cabbage or one bag of broccoli slaw

Add two full hands full of fresh blueberries or (one bag of frozen)

Two fistful of nuts of your choice (I used sliced almonds)

Edamame fresh shelled hand full or small bag frozen

Sweet grape of cherry tomatoes sliced (optional)

Lite raspberry vinaigrette (start with half bottle and toss, and add to taste)

Toss till covered

Have a recipe request or culinary question? Email susan.gauldin@ thefranklinnewspost.com.

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