Rockmart Farmers Market Cooking Class - January 2018

Local youth learned all about making pasta during last week's Rockmart Farmers Market Cooking Class. (Sean Williams/SJ)

As the Rockmart Farmers Market’s 6-week cooking course presses onward, Polk’s youth continue to grow into competent, skilled chefs.

The second week of the class taught students how to make a unique spaghetti dish with squash instead of pasta, and sides of garlic bread and salad topped the meal off.

“Although most consumers realize that meat products need to be properly handled to prevent food-borne illness, some don’t realize that fruits and vegetables may cause illness if not handled and stored properly. In fact, in recent years, contaminated vegetables have been the culprit in several large outbreaks of food-borne illness,” Farmers Market Executive Director Shonna Kirkpatrick said.

After washing their hands and taking care of personal hygiene, the students were promptly taught the ins and outs of washing produce and how to inspect fruits and vegetables for signs of danger. The group’s previously learned knife skills came in handy when cutting the squash into strands, and the cooks quickly moved from dish to dish.

“Spaghetti night has been a staple of families across America since its rise in popularity during the mid 1900’s. For some, it brings back wonderful memories of a happy and full stomach. Today, we will explore how to produce a similar dish using fresh ingredients,” Kirkpatrick said during the Jan. 30 class.

The tomatoes, Spaghetti Squash, parsley, garlic cloves, and other ingredients were all acquired at the market, and the healthier version of spaghetti proved to be a hit with the kids who gobbled their meal up.

Signups for the 6-week course are full, but cooks can keep a look out for future classes by visiting http://www.rockmartfarmersmarket.com/upcoming-classes.

Those interested in getting a taste of fresh, local produce can visit the Rockmart Farmers Market every Thursday from 2 through 6 p.m. year-round.

The market would like to extend gratitude to Floyd Medical Center who has agreed to sponsor the weekly markets, cooking classes, and much more.