Cooking up seasonal produce requires some tools, some planning, and a pinch of creativity. Luckily we have several local experts to help, including Aimee Novak and Rebecca Serratos of University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, and Shanti Rade of Whipstone Farm.
I (Kelley) got to be involved with their Seasonal Cooking Class last month by sitting on a panel of “experts” (so flattering!) to discuss how to use seasonally-available produce. While Chef Aimee whipped through 7 interesting recipes (green shakshuka! cilantro stem pesto! mint and fennel frond tea!), the panel supplemented the action by sharing our local knowledge about farming, farmers markets, and grocery shopping in general.
It was wonderful to see 40 learners in the same room, getting excited about fresh vegetables and fruits. (I personally have carrots and a pasilla chile pepper permanently tattooed on my body, so you could say that these folks are “my people.”)
I had a great time sharing about fresh and dried market herbs, proper storage for shelf life of market products, the concept of “root-to-tip cooking,” and recipes for #PFMloot that I’ve tried at home. We also discussed the concept of Community Supported Agriculture, as well as affirmed that ALL vegetables are nutritionally “good” for your body – whether they be grown in Paulden, AZ or coming from the freezer section at Fry’s. But we all agree that tomatoes, sun-ripened on a vine and plucked by hand, are absolute treasures that everyone of all ages and backgrounds should have the pleasure of tasting.
There was a waitlist for the class, and luckily we have a strong partnership with Cooperative Extension. I know there will be more classes in the future, and we can’t wait to work with them again! Subscribe to PFM’s email newsletter or like their page on Facebook to keep in touch and get notified about future classes.