Rockmart Farmers Market

Winter is coming, and the potentially cold weather of December, January, and February poses the threat of limiting Polk County’s supply of fresh vegetables.

Those hothouse winter tomatoes fall short of their summer counterparts, and getting one’s fill of fresh greens like spinach, lettuce, kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli from a local source is a tough task during the cold season.

Fortunately for the herbivores of the county, Farmers Market Executive Director Shonna Kirkpatrick has plans to demonstrate how the cold can help to ensure everyone’s favorite veggies can be enjoyed all year long.

“Cooking for Your Freezer” is the newest cooking series Kirkpatrick has lined up inside the Silver Comet Trailhead’s community kitchen on Rockmart’s Church St.

On Sept. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. and Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to noon, customers will be shown how to blanch (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam) and freeze various vegetables from the farmers market which can be thawed throughout the year for “convenient, healthy, and time saving meals that are available at any time,” says Kirkpatrick.

Each student will be provided with a year’s worth of recipes during the class.

The core idea is that once a dish is thawed and eaten, there will already be another meal on standby waiting in the freezer.

Customers can skip cooking after a hard day of work by simply heating up a meal that’s been waiting in the freezer, and the fact most recipes involve produce means these freezer meals are a healthier, more convenient alternative to fast food.

In the words of Kirkpatrick, “what would winter be without frozen greens?”

The freezer-themed classes are oriented towards adults, but children are encouraged to enroll in some of the other cooking courses such as the shish kebab and desert kebab courses on Sept. 28 and Sept. 30 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Both the adult and kids courses cost $5.50 each.

Space inside the community kitchen is very limited, and those wanting to learn the ways of cooking from Kirkpatrick are urged to secure their spot because applicants are accepted on a first come first serve basis.

Customers who find themselves unable to attend should cancel so other potential chefs have the opportunity to join the classes.

Most produce used in market classes is acquired from the weekly farmers market.

Those interested in purchasing fall produce before the winter can visit Rockmart’s Water Street on Thursday where various farmers will be selling their goods from 2 to 6 p.m.