Cooking from scratch has become less common and some say it’s almost a lost art. While food shoppers may still purchase some vegetables and fruit from the produce department at the supermarket, chances are they don’t consider using locally-grown produce. Perhaps it’s because they have never tasted the difference or maybe they need of some new ideas on how to prepare these farmer market items. Either way, the Chef At The Market cooking demonstration gave local food shoppers the opportunity to taste fantastic locally-grown seasonal produce and products prepared before their eyes.
Although the trend may be slowly changing, we live in a society that has lost a good deal of its cooking skills. The Chef’ At The Market event reintroduced the simple pleasure of preparing seasonal foods grown within miles of their family’s dinner table. It was exciting to us to see the attendance realize that it doesn’t take hours to prepare “food from scratch”. And, by tasting the difference between truly “farm-fresh” vegetables and the produce that they have been purchasing from the grocery store, we’re hoping to change shopping habits within the community.
Show by example was the trend-du-jour used to rekindle interest in local foods. Chef Butch Davis summed it up well when he said: “Everybody knows how to slice a tomato to make a tomato sandwich and that tomatoes can processed into tomato sauce. We wanted to show other ways to use the tomato in simple recipes — like making bruschetta topped with heirloom tomatoes and fresh veggies and cheese.” We think The Chef At The Market was a great event for our farmers market to host. We had a great time watching the chefs making these simple recipes — giving instructions and answering questions about the techniques and ingredients we were using. And, from the feedback that we have received from those who attended the event — EVERYONE LOVED IT!
A special guest who came to this event to showcase local foods was Darlene Livingston, Executive Director, PA Farm Link. She was representing PA Preferred at the Potter County Farmers’ Market. PA Preferred is an initiative by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to help Pennsylvania businesses promote their agricultural products. Thanks to Darlene for helping us host the event and making it a big success.
And so in closing, my advise to the food shoppers is to stop buying those Idahoes, when there are much better potatoes being organically-grown right here in Potter County, Pennsylvania and are available at the local farmer’s market. And as for that store-bought garlic, there’s a good chance it comes from China.