Garden party to have produce power, indoor farmers market

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Shelly Birkelo
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

JANESVILLE—Eating right can set the plate for a healthy life.

That's why St. Mary's Janesville Hospital, Dean Clinic-Janesville East and Dean Health Plan are partnering with the Janesville Farmers Market and Olde Towne Mall for the third annual Produce Power Garden Party.

The Olde Towne Mall in downtown Janesville is a new location for the event, which in earlier years was held at St. Mary's Janesville Hospital.

The farmers market also is new

“This year, we decided to make it more engaging and more fun for the family with a real farmers market with things to buy,” said Joan Neeno, of marketing and communications for SSM Health Care of Wisconsin.

“We wanted to educate about the availability of fresh local produce and its value in health and cooking. If you've ever gone to a farmers market and enjoyed it, you'll enjoy this,” she said.

The event also will include cooking and gardening demonstrations, culinary fun for the kids, recipes and giveaways.

The event starts at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Cooking lessons and workshops include:

-- 9 to 9:30 a.m., Community Supported Agriculture 101: Lauren Wells will share information about how area farms sell CSA shares so members can have boxes of fresh, local produce, eggs and meat delivered weekly. She'll explain the concept behind CSAs, the benefits of membership and how to choose the one that's best for you.

“This session would be a good one to educate someone who doesn't know what CSA is all about and its commitment. You can buy half shares, fresh eggs and all kinds of things. It doesn't have to be a big box every week. It's finding the farm that works best with your lifestyle and budget,” Neeno said.

Among vendors and exhibitors will be Amazing Grace Family Farm, Scotch Hill Farm, Raleigh's Hillside Farm, Wright Way Farm and Transform Rock County Farm to School Program.

"It's a great way to hook people up with local farmers who can show them what to do with this local produce,” she said.

-- 10 to 10:45 a.m., Cooking Through the Seasons: What is Fresh in Early Spring: St. Mary's Janesville Hospital Chef Raechal Maat will provide recipes and cooking demonstrations using Wisconsin seasonal produce.

“The cooking demonstrations are going to be fantastic. Raechal has an amazing pedigree. She cooked at the Girl & the Goat restaurant in Chicago, really knows her stuff and lives on a farm herself,” Neeno said.

-- 11 to 11:30 a.m., Container Gardening 101: Certified Master Gardener Julie Gibes will discuss the art of container gardening, design ideas, plant and container suggestions and step-by-step projects for those who are interested in gardening but don't know where to begin.

“People may know how to do container gardening for flowers but not for vegetables. This is going to be interesting,” Neeno said.

Other activities include a blind taste test of fruits and veggies, Spin the Wheel of Power Food game, chef hats and interactive cooking activities for kids.

Free recipes, market bags, seeds and vegetable peelers for adults will be offered.

“Everything is free,” Neeno said. “Even if you walk away without buying any produce, it's going to be a lot of fun and if nothing else you'll get to taste a lot of good food.”

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