Last Sunday I had the pleasure of volunteering with the Power of Produce Club here at the market. As some of you may have read in your newsletter, POP Club “engages kids in the full market experience, trying new foods, having conversations with farmers, and buying local produce”. I’d like to share a bit of what it was like to be behind the table for this wonderful event.
This past Sunday we served kale two different ways. Fiddlehead Farm supplied us with a curly variety, which we cut into tiny little pieces to be eaten raw. We also served up small bites of Baked Kale, which was prepared for us by FarmCart. The first time I tried kale chips was at a farmers market and I was not impressed. However, these were prepared with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper – a recipe that was simple, crispy and delicious! Kids were encouraged to try a bite of each, and were then given a $5 coupon to spend on any fruits or vegetables that they wanted to take home. This was definitely another fine example of a market opportunity where Everybody Wins! To add to the fun, we also held a scavenger hunt and took a few photos of some of the kids who came back to show us their purchases.
During my time at the table I had the pleasure of meeting kids of all ages – from the tiny toddlers who enthusiastically chewed up the raw kale to the teens who weren’t totally sold on eating veggies in any form. My very informal poll results showed a definite preference for the raw kale, which was an altogether pleasant surprise. My favorite way to eat kale is by first braising it with some tasty stock (recipe to come next week!) although I do confess to enjoying the Highway to Kale salad that is served at Laughing Planet. I also heard from many parents that they currently have kale growing in their gardens at home, which their kids love to pick and eat fresh. I’m so impressed that parents in our urban community take the time to offer their children these types of life experiences. Whether it’s growing food at home, or coming to the market and supporting our local farmers – please keep up the good work!
If you would like to bring some kids to the market to experience a Two-Bite Challenge, it’s not too late. The final POP Club event will be held next Sunday, September 27th, starting at 10:00 am. And if you enjoy the market as much as I do, then please consider being a market volunteer for at least one day. Every hour donated is an hour that helps keep our market open for business. I can’t think of a better way to invest in the healthy future of my grandchildren’s generation.
Kids Club Offers Free $5 Produce Coupons!
Power of Produce (POP) Club is coming to the farmers market this September! POP Club engages kids in the full market experience, trying new foods, having conversations with farmers, and buying local produce. We’ll have fun FREE activities like veggie tastings, farmers market scavenger hunts, recipes, and seed planting kits.
Each week that kids participate in the club, they will receive a $5 market coupon to spend on the fruit or produce of their choice at the market!
Power of Produce takes place each Sunday in September, from 10:00am-2:00pm. There will be a different activity each week, giving kids the opportunity to collect up to $20 in produce coupons for the month!
By now you’ve surely heard about our fundraising campaign to help support our Everybody Eats program. Every little bit helps. Even $10 makes a BIG difference in the lives of our neighbors. But did you know that if you donate $500, you will receive a one-of-a-kind set of hand-etched vintage silverware? These sets are perfect for a camping trip, an afternoon picnic, or even to bring with you to eat at the market!
These sets, made exclusively for the Montavilla Farmers Market by a local artist, are a charming way to Go Green and avoid adding more plastic forks, spoons, and knives into the landfill. They are also a terrific way to support the market! Each utensil set is lovingly hand-etched with inspiring phrases like “I Love Farms” and “Eat Local”. Check out our crowd-funding campaign to see how you can get a set of your very own!
This Sunday, August 2nd, new sponsor Wix Agency is donating a dollar to MFM for every customer who comes to the market between 10a-11a. For the market to earn a dollar all you have to do is just show up! Wix Principle, Carrie Kieselhorst, and Producer, Malissa Cooper, will be there to count you.
Carrie and her staff are now located on SE Stark St and 81st and are excited to call Montavilla their new home. Wix is an independent agency offering one-stop shopping for a full range of products, including home, renters, auto, business, life, health, and retirement plans.
Thank you Wix Agency!
This last Sunday I was able to volunteer some actual man hours at the market – what a nice change! The event that brought me out to help was “Taste of the Market”, which this week featured cucumbers. Five farmers donated eight different varieties, ranging in color from white to dark green.
The participants were:
Abundant Fields Farm with Lemon Cucumbers & Suyo Longs
Cerigioli Gardens with Italian Whites
Fiddlehead Farm with Poona Kheera & Socrates
Frog Meadow Farm with Calypso
Simplicity Gardens with Long Greens & Marketmore
Samples of each were distributed via toothpicks, and market patrons added their tally mark to the name of the variety they most enjoyed.
Many market patrons had a version of my first thought: I never knew there were so many different kinds/colors/sizes/shapes of cucumbers! As far as the tasting went, the Suyo Long variety, from Japan, had the most varied reactions. While quite a few tasters thought that it was too strong/bitter/spicy, there were also those who thought it was quite delightful and would taste good pickled/in kimchi/as a garnish in a martini.
In addition to sampling cucumbers, patrons were also able to taste a bit of the delightful Cucumber Mint Limeade made available by my new friends at SweetHeart Bake Shop. Thank you, Amiee, it was so refreshing!
This week the Taste of the Market event went for an extra hour, but that was by volunteer choice and should not be expected as the norm. Keep your eye out for the next Taste experience, then come on by and say hello! I would love to hear what everyone thinks of the event, and also the newsletter. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of reading it as I do out of writing for it.
In case you are not aware, anyone who is interested in volunteering at the market can sign up here: http://www.montavillamarket.org/support/volunteer/.
As a teenager growing up in the Philadelphia area, Alison became interested in humane and sustainable food production and has been a supporter of farmers markets ever since. After attending college on the east coast, she spent seven years in contemplative communities working as an organic gardener and vegetarian cook, sometimes growing and preparing the food for silent meditation retreats upwards of 100 people. Knowing firsthand the impact natural and nutritious food has on the well being of individuals and communities , Alison treasures the farmers market for what it offers the vibrant Montavilla neighborhood.
Currently Alison works in the field of higher education as an executive coach to students in graduate and doctoral programs. Holding degrees in Literature and English, she also occasionally teaches college classes in writing and critical thinking. She and her partner live in Montavilla where they enjoy growing vegetables, flowers, and NW native plants in their backyard. Alison runs a small soap making business on the side and is an avid cyclist, runner, and nature lover. You can find her each Sunday stocking up on seasonal produce at the farmers market, so make sure to say hello when you see her!