Rockmart Farmers Market cooking class

The final cooking class through the Rockmart Farmers Market saw students learning how to make a good roasted chicken. (Sean Williams/Standard Journal)

Polk’s local chefs may have noticed the cooking classes at the Rockmart Farmers Market missing lately, but Farmers Market Executive Director Shonna Kirkpatrick was simply waiting for the perfect time to unveil the new holiday cooking courses.

She hopes to break the hiatus by teaching local youth everything she knows about holiday baking. Classes are slated to take place inside the Silver Comet Trailhead community kitchen on Rockmart’s Church St. on Thursday and Saturday.

“We’re back and this time we’re focusing on holiday foods,” Kirkpatrick said. “We’ll mainly be baking, and we’re going to make plenty of healthy side dishes.”

Kirkpatrick typically offers a unique, healthy twist to the dishes she prepares. Holiday foods can pretty calorie-heavy, but customers should be prepared to make lean, nutritious versions of their favorite seasonal grub.

The cooking classes are intended for youth, and the courses have a lower age limit of 7 years old. Parents are urged to judge for themselves whether or not their child can handle cooking and the dangers it can potentially involve.

The class will have adult supervision, but considering the kitchen’s limited space, parents who insist on being present will be asked to watch from the hallway.

“The classes cost the same as always, $5.50,” Kirkpatrick said. “The kitchen still has limited space so customers will be accepted on a first come first serve.”

Those interested in enrolling a child in the cooking classes are required to reserve a spot ahead of time. Visit the market website at www.rockmartfarmersmarket.com or call 404-436-1818.

Also making a market return is the six-week cooking course. Previously held through the Summer and Fall, Kirkpatrick taught her class everything from basic hygiene to proper cutting techniques to recipes to nutrition facts every Tuesday for 6 weeks.

January marks round two of the special courses, and the director will be opening registration in the coming months.

“We probably won’t do any cooking classes in December, but in January we’ll open back up with the 6-week course,” Kirkpatrick said. “We have to raise the price up to $20 this time around. Our previous $5 cost was a little low for a 6-week course.”

Unlike the November kids cooking classes, the 6-week course is open to chefs of all ages.

There is no set curriculum or recipes the courses promise to cover, but Kirkpatrick will ensure customers learn the skills necessary to prepare healthy, tasty meals.

Those interested in seeing the food that will be used in the classes can visit the Rockmart Farmers Market every Thursday from 2 through 6 p.m. on Rockmart’s Water Street.

Local farmers will be selling homegrown produce, meats, and sweets.

As of this month, citizens can find local artisans and craft makers at the market.