What better way to bring people together than to offer them some tasty food? We love sharing what’s cooking at the Foodshed. In 2019 already, we have been hosting cooking demonstrations and tastings alongside our Mobile Farm Stand. Yes! We can source local wholesale produce in the winter months.
Bringing local food into our communities isn’t enough to change the paradigm; we need to offer the opportunity to allow people to touch, taste, and smell new, unfamiliar foods! We’ve found that when people are able to simply taste it, they are more likely to buy local food. We want to empower people to make the choice to support their local farmers! Cooking is one tool we use to do this. By doing these demos/tastings, we not only see an increase in farmer’s sales, but also in the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Rhonda (read her bio here), specializes in cooking intuitively. Basically, it’s cooking without a recipe- making a dish with what you have on hand and what’s in season. Rhonda will “shop” the markets and farm stands for produce and other local products to create something simple, easy, and delicious!
If you’re a beginner cook, intuitive cooking is definitely a skill that needs to be learned, and we understand that some people need a little help! A recipe with more instructions can come in handy. For those who need more guidance, we will be working with local chefs, who will feature their own cultural dishes. Whether it’s Puerto Rican, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, or even American cuisines, we want to highlight these popular dishes featuring local products whenever possible. The important thing to note is that cooking doesn’t need to be scary or complicated (although you can make it as complex as you like!) and there are many different ways to cook. Cooking and food is a part of our culture and it’s an amazing tool for bringing the community together.
Check out some of the pictures below to see our cooking demos in action at some of the events we’ve attended this year.
Along with our cooking demos/tastings, we were invited by the Grow Education to New Bedford’s Gomes Elementary School to do a presentation on “Where Does Your Food Come From?”
We presented about our local farmers, what they grow, and what products can be found at our markets. We always love the opportunity to educate students about local agriculture, but what we love even more is when they educate us! Gomes Elementary is one of the most diverse schools in New Bedford, and many students are recent immigrants of Central America. During the presentation, we asked, “What type of animals lay eggs that we can eat?” Some students said chickens, geese, or ducks, while one student shouted, “Iguanas!” The other students were fascinated (and so were we!) and wanted to learn more. From the excitement, the other students from Central America started sharing their stories of favorite foods. “Can we find chipilín at the New Bedford Farmers Markets?” one student asked. Unfortunately, he can not, but we were quick to reach out to farmers to inquire about this unfamiliar green.
Frank Magan, from UMass Amhert’s Stockbridge School of Agriculture is doing some excellent research on culturally appropriate crops that also grow well in New England’s climate. Guess what crop we found on his list? Chipilín! Understanding the needs of our community will not only help to increase healthy eating habits, but also support our farmers as well. We are excited to dig deeper into this and help farmers bring these types of food into our community. Stayed tuned for more!