Old Town Farmers' Market
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ICT Foodshed

Featuring articles and information about Wichita's local food scene.  

Market-to-Table Culinary Experience

OTFM is testing the waters with a new program that teaches participants how to create 2-3 dishes using high quality, Market ingredients. Administering this event for the Market is Krista Sanderson with Wichita based, Eat Real America. Krista's awesome company boasts a library of over 900 REAL food recipes, coaching tips and videos and a corporate wellness program. They believe convenience, cost, confusion, and taste should NOT be barriers to enjoying all the benefits REAL food has to offer. Check out Eat REAL America's website to access weekly meal ideas, recipes, blog topics, tips and more -- all focused on REAL food!

Krista says, to make Eat REAL America's cut, our meal ideas must meet these requirements:

  • Easy-to-prepare,
  • Taste amazing,
  • Affordable,
  • REAL food ingredients,
  • And Good for You!

OTFM's Market-to-Table Culinary Experience begins this Saturday!  Learn how to turn early harvest farmer’s market ingredients into amazing easy meals to fit our everyday lifestyles.  Saturday's menu includes Chorizo Spiced Lamb Breakfast Burritos, Grilled Veggies with Greek Vinaigrette and Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts on Toast.  We will be using OTFM market ingredients from Graze the Prairie, Her Produce, Serenity Farm, Elk Creek Produce, Kan-Go Hydro Farm, Olio's Market and Crust and Crumb.  

Krista's first guest chef is Travis Russell with Public at the Brickyard. In addition to their unique and inviting atmosphere, Public works with several local farmers and beer crafters in an effort to bring the area’s finest ingredients to your table. Travis shared a few of his culinary tenets with us in this interview. 

What is your philosophy on food?  

Sustainability through conscious consumerism is my philosophy on food.  I believe we should educate ourselves about our food; who, where and how its grown.  This is not a perfect practice but a daily learning curve.  Often times your lifestyle demands convenience, but I try to integrate new products or practices as I go and learn.  

Bi-Products From a business perspective, kitchen managers are constantly looking to improve food cost margins and limit waste.  We have recently begun to shop for products and create ideas based around the bi-products or leftovers of products.  For instance, last month we purchased a sizable lot of carrots from a local grower.  We pickled the carrots. We then utilized the carrots tops as a parsley substitute in several recipes, even making a carrot top tabouleh. Or, for example, we trim our pork tenderloins and use the trim to make sausage. 

Preservation is an important practice for taking advantage of a heightened growing season and harvest.  We pickle and cellar many of items; beets, carrots, shallots, radishes, and other root vegetables.  Also you can process larger cuts of meat and freeze them for later use.  

Where did your culinary passion come from?

Food to me is a way to learn, investigate, and experience diverse cultural histories. 

I feel that the act of cooking food is a collaborative process, one that brings people together for a communal ritual.  My grandma and great aunts cooked for the family, and then my mom and dad carried those traditions on. As a kid I always saw that family dinners were a reason for everyone to get together and catch up. Recipes from both sides of the family would be served at the same time.  I loved watching my parents learn from one another through these recipes that had been written down and modified as they changed through hands.  My father brought many of these items to the Brickyard in the early 2000’s and served the recipes buffet style. It was then that I really understood and adopted his passion for cooking for others.    

What benefits do you see in using local ingredients?

I think there are many benefits to eating the items that people in your region produce.  There are documented health benefits to consuming local honeys for allergies, for example.  However, for me, the single most important benefit to buying  local is to financially support the people that are producing these foods and strengthen their capacity to grow the network around food systems in our area. 

Big box food companies rely on diesel fuel and single-use packaging.  These companies also employ people in your community and provide you with great services, but if you can look to local producers first, you are spending money within your community and leaving a smaller carbon footprint behind.

What inspires you about the local food or Farm to Table movement?

Mainly the people.  I have met a variety of people in Missouri and Kansas in the last decade that are farming, producing, gardening and building chicken coops in the backyard.  Many of these folks work in or around restaurants and these practices are changing the industry through their passion, persistence.  I am lucky to be acquainted with so many passionate folks.  

What is your favorite in-season Market vegetable and how do you like to prepare it?

Hard to say— I love it all!  I’ve really been into garlic scapes lately.  I love them raw— they are overpowering. You can grill them to mute the flavor a bit. We have used them with steak and scrambled eggs for brunch on Sundays.

Watch the show. Learn from Chefs. Taste the Experience. 

OTFM is Cultivating Change by planting powerful, innovative ideas and fostering special places where locally focused farmers, artisans and the community connects.