Cooking with local foods: A family affair

Maple Grove Farmers Market to host 2 weeks of events for parents and children

Unfortunately, it’s that time of the year when parents are hearing this: “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”

Fortunately, it’s that time of the year when local produce is rolling into the farmers market in all its colorful, nutritious glory.

On Thursdays, July 25 and Aug. 1, the Maple Grove Farmers Market will host two events aimed at keeping kids busy and boosting families’ skills in cooking and eating together.

On July 25, kids are invited to exercise their purchasing power at the market to purchase a favorite fruit or veggie item, or to try something new. Kids and their parents are invited to stop by the Market Information Trailer to pick up a Market scavenger hunt. Complete the scavenger hunt and turn it in to receive a $2 market token, to be spent on fruits and veggies. This special one-time Power of Produce event is sponsored by Partners in Pediatrics.

On Aug. 1, at 4 p.m., chef and nutrition educator Jenny Breen will lead a chef demonstration. Breen’s book, “Cooking up the Good Life” provides step-by-step instructions for creating a full range of delicious dishes, using the bounty of the farmers market. Each recipe invites kids’ participation in the kitchen with specific instructions for young cooks.

“Choosing nutritious food and developing the skills to prepare it are the cornerstones to good eating habits,” said Market Manager Kirsten Bansen Weigle. “It’s so exciting to see families together at the market, and we’re glad to give kids a special boost in learning to choose and enjoy local produce items.”

Despite 2013’s unusual weather patterns, the Maple Grove Farmers Market is going strong with over 45 vendors featuring a wide variety of vendor-grown and vendor-make food items. In late July, shoppers can expect cucumbers, green beans, onions, beets, carrots, greens, raspberries, new potatoes, and possibly the very earliest of the sweet corn. A wide variety of farmstead items such as honey, maple syrup, meats, jams, jellies, eggs and cheese are available, along with specialty products including Lebanese items, breads, and more.

The Market will feature live music from Barbara English on July 25. Ready-to-eat foods including wood-fired pizza, pierogies and ice cream are available for an evening meal or snack.

The Maple Grove Farmers Market is open every Thursday afternoon through Oct. 23. Hours are 3 to 7 p.m. through September and 3 to 6 p.m. in October.

The Farmers Market is located outside at the Maple Grove Community Center, 12951 Weaver Lake Road. For more information, visit: Follow the market at www.facebook/maplegrovefarmersmarket or on Twitter at Maplegrovefm.

In 2013, the Maple Grove Farmers Market celebrates its 10th year of nourishing the community. The market features weekly live music, 4:30pm Family Storytime, chef demonstrations, Master gardeners, Farmers Market Birthday parties, and more. New in 2013 the Maple Grove Farmers Market now accepts SNAP benefits.