“Yes, I’m a foodie,” she says with a laugh.
Her nine recipes in a cookbook to benefit the Alpharetta Community Garden reflect that passion. One for roast chicken calls for fresh thyme, rosemary, garlic and parsley as well as Dijon mustard, soy sauce and olive oil.
“It’s really good for being able to use the fresh herbs we grow in the garden,” Tunison said. “Fresh herbs have so much more flavor.”
And that’s the idea behind the 143-page cookbook, published late last year and on sale now for $15. Because the proceeds will support the ongoing growth and development of the garden, contributors were asked for specific types of recipes.
“We wanted at least one item in them that could be garden grown,” said Tunison, who chaired the cookbook committee. “We wanted to share with other people the importance of cooking with freshly grown ingredients.”
Community garden manager Charmaine Jackson has eight recipes in the book.
Jackson had one of the first plots available when the community garden was started in Wills Park in April 2009, planting staples such as tomatoes and cucumbers. As she gained confidence as a gardener, she branched out with some more exotic vegetables such as edamame.
Dot Benson, 91, who also works one of the individual plots, gave her some garlic and tips on how to make it thrive. Other gardeners, Harlan and Colleen Little, taught her how to make fresh pesto and salsa. “I grow a ton of hot peppers,” Jackson said.
There are 40 plots for personal gardening, and there is a two-year waiting list for them, Jackson said.
One larger plot of ground is worked communally. That piece of land, together with some crop donations from individual gardeners, last year yielded more than 500 pounds of fresh produce for the food pantry run by North Fulton Community Charities.
The garden is run solely by volunteers, as was the cookbook committee, which began soliciting recipes last July. A total of 121 made it into the book, covering everything from appetizers and salads to entrees and desserts, although the produce requirements for the latter category were relaxed, Tunison said.
The Alpharetta Community Garden Cookbook is available for purchase at Twigs and Lace, 64 North Main Street, Alpharetta, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.