The Rockmart Farmers Market’s cooking classes are back in action with a new set of holiday-inspired courses designed to teach the county’s aspiring cooks how to make delicious, healthy, and kid-friendly side dishes using locally grown produce straight from the market.

On the menu for the Nov. 16 class was a cranberry sauce made with apples and oranges and a succotash dish with loads of vegetables and sausage. Letting the students pick out and shop for ingredients at the market was a new feature implemented by Farmers Market Executive Director Shonna Kirkpatrick and class teacher Heather Davis.

“We’re letting them go to the market and shop for the ingredients they might want to use in the classes,” Kirkpatrick explained. “One day they’re going to have to shop for themselves, so it’s good to give them some practice at getting the best possible ingredients.”

With the food picked out, the kids returned to the kitchen to put their cooking skills to the test. Davis began by reminding the students to wash their hands and urged the young ones to be safe with the knives they were to use.

“Always keep the knives pointed downwards. Do not run or jump with the knives — we only walk with them. We also only pick up the knives when we need to cut something. We don’t even get loud while we use the knives to make sure we can hear if someone gets hurt,” Davis explained.

The young cooks had no trouble with knife safety and the class was well on the way to making holiday side dishes. Each chef was given an ingredient to cut or otherwise prepare before Davis helped the group combine the individual pieces into giant helpings of cranberry sauce and succotash.

“I’m also sending them home with a recipe so they can make their own dish over the holiday break,” Davis said.

The Nov. 16 class was one part of the Kid’s Cooking Series. The second class was held on Nov. 18, and the series will be on break over the holidays before returning on Jan. 11 and Jan. 13. Cooking classes are held inside the Silver Comet Trailhead’s community kitchen on Rockmart’s Church Street.

Classes are $5.50, but scholarships are available for those who apply. For more information on cooking classes, potential patrons can visit http://www.rockmartfarmersmarket.com/upcoming-classes.

Those interested in seeing where the class gets their ingredients can visit the various farmers and crafts makers at the Rockmart Farmers Market from 2 through 6 p.m. every Thursday on Rockmart’s Water Street.