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January 16, 2013

A taste of the local life

Drawn to city by food scene, Wiley gives her cooking a fresh flavor

For Meg Wiley, one of the secrets to a creating a successful, delicious meal is to just keep it local.

Wiley, 55, of Newburyport is a staunch believer that using fresh, high-quality ingredients greatly enhances a meal. The fact that she can can find that in her own community is a giant advantage. It’s also part of what first drew Wiley and her husband, Jim, to Newburyport from the South Shore in the first place.

When researching the perfect coastal town to purchase a home five years ago, the couple looked at a variety of factors, not the least of which was the number of restaurants and local food purveyors.

“One thing we researched was food,” Wiley said. “We love food, and that’s one of the things that’s great about Newburyport.”

Today, as Wiley prepares meals for herself and Jim, 55, or creates the perfect dinner menu for an evening with family and friends, she happily relies on meats, cheeses and other ingredients that she finds on the shelves in the markets and food shops right in her neighborhood.

She buys her meats at Tendercrop Farms just down the road from her High Street home and her bread at Annarosa’s Bakery in Salisbury. She shops at Grand Trunk Old World Market and Joppa Fine Foods in Newburyport, David’s Fish Market in Salisbury, and the new Newburyport Olive Oil Company located in Newburyport’s Tannery Marketplace.

The couple also has two large gardens in their backyard where they grow fruits, vegetables and herbs. “You can change a meal with fresh herbs,” Wiley said.

Wiley, who works at the health services agency Northeast HomeCare in Beverly, will prepare several meals on Sundays and freeze them to use during the work week. Her husband of 7 years readily lends a helping hand at the stove, causing Wiley to playfully dub him her “sous chef.”

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