SHOP + CHOP + COOK

COOK2_PPM

Hands On Farmer’s Market Cooking Class with Melanie A. Albert

Shop + Chop + Cook

Learn Unique, Simple Ways to Enjoy Phoenix Public Market Foods at Home

Have fun intuitively creating your own refreshing veggie dishes with Phoenix seasonal veggies. Enjoy hands-on interactive cooking experiences and learn simple culinary techniques to create unique, tasty, beautiful dishes.

Learn: Unique Ways to Create Raw Salad with Local Farmers Phoenix Public Market Veggies

Get tips to shop easily at the farmers market. Mindfully enjoy your creations with our Phoenix community.

Led by intuitive cooking expert, Melanie A. Albert, author of “A New View of Healthy Eating. Simple Intuitive Cooking with Real Whole Foods.”

Meet the instructor…

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Workshop: Harvesting Prickly Pear

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When:

Reserve your spot here.

Start off this Prickly Pear season with a demonstration on how to harvest, process and eat this delicious fruit.  It has amazing health benefits, has a low glycemic index, is rich in vitamins, minerals and electrolytes and so much more.  It’s a great time to start incorporating this abundant food into your life.

Peggy Sorensen has had a passion for the edible and medicinal plants, trees, cacti and common weeds in the southwest for the past 25 years. She has taught classes and lead foraging events and plant walks around the valley.  She recently finished a year-long herbal intensive course that took her hiking in the deserts and mountains of Arizona and New Mexico where she learned over 100 medicinal plants.

Crop of the Week: Okra

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We love this image Hip Veggies (Monika Woolsey) captured.

 

  1. Okra is a member of the Mallow family, related to cotton, hibiscus and hollyhock.

2. In other parts of the world, this functional vegetable is also known as gumbo or lady fingers.

3. The pods, when cut, exude a mucilaginous juice that is used to thicken stews (like gumbo), and have a flavor somewhat like a cross between asparagus and eggplant.

4. Okra probably originated somewhere around Ethiopia, and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians by the 12th century B.C.

5. Okra seeds have been toasted, ground and used a coffee substitute for centuries.

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Desert Foraging with Mark Lewis

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Weeds in your yard or edible wildflowers?

Mark Lewis is the man about town who can teach you.   With over 150 years knowledge of Southwest foraging passed down through the generations in his family (dating back to his grandfather’s grandfather!) he has been foraging 2000 edible and 500 medicinal plants throughout Arizona and the Sonoran/Baja Southwest.  With his forty five years direct foraging experience and economic botany background, Mark enjoys teaching at the University and has been presenting and offering his knowledge and finds to the public at local markets and events.  Discover the natural (and edible) world around you, receive horticultural advice and more this weekend at the market when we host Mark Lewis.

So just what can be foraged in our desert…

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The Importance of Bees

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  • Honey bees are accurately described as indispensable pollinators.  In the United States it is estimated that managed honey bee colonies are annually responsible for the pollination of agricultural crops valued between $4 and $8 billion.
  • Bees that are about 21 days old, begin to take short orientation flights, marking the beginning of a 2 to 3 week life as a forager bee, seeking nectar and pollen to bring back to the colony.
  •  While a worker bee is in a flower gathering nectar, pollen often sticks to her hairy body. Because the bee generally visits a number of the same type of flower, she will rub some of the pollen off onto another flower and complete pollination
  • During chillier seasons, worker bees can live for nine months. But in the summer, they rarely last longer than six weeks—they literally work themselves to death.
  • When aging bees do jobs usually reserved for younger members, their brain stops aging. In fact, their brain ages in reverse.

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The Importance of Crop Diversity

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Native Seeds/SEARCH is a vital leader in the Southwest region for conserving and promoting crop diversity to strengthen community resilience and food security.  The mission of Native Seeds/SEARCH (Southwestern Endangered Aridland Resources Clearing House) is to conserve, distribute, and document the adapted and diverse varieties of agricultural seeds, their wild relatives and the role these seeds play in cultures of the American Southwest and northwest Mexico.

Crop diversity is key to achieving sustainable food security both globally and within our own region of focus, the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. NS/S approach to food security focuses on seed security, which relies on the conservation and sharing of appropriate crop diversity and the knowledge to use that diversity effectively. Their programs are designed to address these goals and broadly entail:

  • Seed banking to ensure the survival of unique agricultural biodiversity and to document its traits.
  • Seed distribution so that these crops continue to contribute to the region’s food systems.
  • Support for on-farm maintenance of dynamically-evolving crop varieties.
  • Research into low-input and climate-appropriate agricultural practices.
  • Education in managing local crop diversity and contributing to regional efforts.

Learn more this weekend at the market where we will be hosting Native Seeds/SEARCH for a FREE workshop starting at 9am.

Find more ways to get involved with their organization here: http://www.nativeseeds.org/get-involved

Workshop: Backyard Beekeeping

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An Introduction to Backyard Beekeeping:  Intended for those who are new to beekeeping, this class will go over the basic requirements to start your own backyard hive.  We will go over local rules and regulations, initial cost and setup, safety measures, and basic maintenance.

About Kim Desoto: I am a homesteading enthusiast living in downtown Phoenix where I keep bees and chickens with my husband.  I am a certified master gardener and also an ambassador for the local non-profit The Valley Permaculture Alliance which focuses on sustainable living in the desert southwest.

This workshop is FREE but registration is required.

$10 suggested donation day of workshop.

Reserve your seat and find more details  here.

Market Workshop: Native Seeds/SEARCH

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The temperatures may be scorching this time of year but there are still many vegetables that can thrive in your garden! The monsoon season is the traditional time to plant in the low desert of the Sonoran Desert. Melissa Kruse-Peeples from Native Seeds/SEARCH. will discuss several different varieties of monsoon appropriate seeds such as tepary beans, chiles, tomatos, cowpeas, suqash, and more. Many of the varieties discussed have been grown here for thousands of years and are well adapted to our harsh conditions and thrive with little water and hot weather. Guests will be able to enter a drawing to take home seeds from Native Seeds/SEARCH to plant this monsoon season. Handouts about aridlands gardening will be provided.

Melissa is the Education Coordinator for Native Seeds/SEARCH, a non-profit seed conservation organization based in Tucson. Formerly the Conservation Manager for this organization, she has worked intimately on preserving hundreds of rare crop varieties that offer valuable characteristics for sustainable agriculture in aridlands. She received her PhD in anthropology from Arizona State University where she studied sustainable water harvesting and soil management techniques of ancient indigenous agriculture of the Southwest. After a brief stint down south, she has returned to the valley and continues to work for Native Seeds/SEARCH offering workshops and learning opportunities about seed saving, gardening in the desert, and the history of Southwestern agriculture.

This workshop is FREE but registration is required.

$10 suggested donation day of workshop.  Register here..

Local First Arizona Shops Local On A Budget

Image: Brandi Porter

Image: Brandi Porter

Price is a big factor when it comes to making your weekly grocery list.  So Sarah Schenck of Local First Arizona helps to dispel the myth that farmers markets are unaffordable.  Her groceries for the week came to $36.  This budget is based upon the average SNAP benefit recipients receive a week.  “Read The Full Story” to see her shopping list suggestion and meal plan.  You can also read her 7 Tips For Eating Local.

Still, the real value of shopping local foods is supporting your community.  For every dollar spent locally .73 stays within the local economy versus only .43 spent with a non-local business.  Most of the produce at the market is grown less than 10-miles away from where you come to shop. That means it is freshly picked, nutrient rich, and full of flavor.  Best of all, you can actually talk with the growers themselves, run into neighbors and meet family for a morning out at the market.

“Read The Full Story” to see LFA’s Market Shopping List.

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Importance of Supporting Local Growers & Producers

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Local food system practices such as farmers’ markets are directly tied to place and time as well as social, economical, ethical and physical systems within which they are located.  On both a community and individual scale, farmers’ markets can assist in sustaining human health and wellbeing.

Farmers’ markets encourage local food security through their promotion and support of local food production. The more food that is grown in Phoenix, the more the residents of the area will be buffered in the event of disruptions of long distance food supply such as weather events or political instabilities. Local food production and distribution can assist in fostering food security for the local region.  Farmers’ markets can be a way of supporting the economic viability of producers who wish to operate outside of the industrial food system (Lapping, 2004). By providing producers with opportunities to sell their goods locally, farmers’ markets enable them to operate in a way they consider ethical, while opening a path for others to do so as well.  Through reducing the distance that food is transported, farmers’ markets decrease “food miles”. The distance food takes to travel is directly related to the amount of fossil fuels required to get it there.

On a broader level, farmers’ markets can support the health of communities through emphasizing a ‘healthy-community’ approach in their operations. With this approach, decisions are made with the aim of improving the wellbeing of the community as a whole.  Farmers’ markets can encourage human wellbeing through various means. One way they can accomplish this is through educating consumers about health. The type of food that is offered at farmers’ markets can also sustain human health.

Farmers’ markets also support the local economy through what Lapping (2004) describes as the ‘multiplier effect.’ This phenomenon occurs when money spent at farmers’ markets is circulated in the community, leading to multiplying effects within the local economy. In addition, farmers’ markets are able to cater to niche and specialty markets such as the needs of senior citizens and ethnic communities. The direct interaction that local producers have with their customers means they are able to immediately determine and respond to consumers’ needs.

The interactions between producers and consumers at farmers’ markets often go beyond economic capital gains and can lead to ‘social capital’ formation. Social capital is based on the premise that social networks have value. It refers to the “collective value of all social networks and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other” (Putnam, 2000).  The capacity to come together creates a social space where community, friendships and social networking are fostered. This social space was important for producers in the study.

https://crcresearch.org/case-studies/crc-case-studies/farmers-markets-and-local-food-systems