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Farmer's Market Cooking

This video is about Farmer's Market Cooking

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Katie Clouse and Chris Zimmerman offer carrot-zucchini muffins and bean and green soup at Saturday’s farmers market at Parkview Field.

Farmers market offers healthy options throughout winter

– So what that it was early Saturday?

Because it was a frigid Saturday morning, the aroma of two pots of soup being heated within the Lincoln Financial Event Center at Parkview Field lured bundled up shoppers to the table.

Chef Chris Zimmerman served bean and green soup at Fort Wayne’s Farmers Market. Actually, he admitted there were beans and greens, as in plural; three different beans – white, red and garbanzo, in simmering harmony with leeks, spinach, kale and Swiss chard.

Nevertheless, the brisk temperatures were “perfect,” Zimmerman said, for the 10 gallons of soup he prepared the day before.

There were as many variations of caps and mittens and scarves (oh my) as there were exhibitors within the narrow hallway of the event center that runs parallel to Parkview Field’s snow-covered right field wall. In warmer months, when peanuts and Cracker Jacks are the snack of the evening, Zimmerman plies his culinary trade for the more discernable fan.

“We’re with Parkview Live, and we’re here to promote healthy eating,” said Zimmerman in his white Indianapolis Colts jersey – a supportive nod for Saturday’s Colts NFL playoff game against Kansas City.

Saturday’s soup was vegetarian-friendly as well as gluten-free.

From now until May, the market will be held between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. the first and third Saturdays of each month.

“We want to help people know about local eating, and we want to support the farmers in our area; that people choose local foods and healthier foods,” said Kathy Wherle, community outreach dietitian with Parkview Live. “The trickle-down effect is going to be better health. People cook at home and use better foods – better health.”

Jessica Porter of Fort Wayne had just bought a bundle of romaine lettuce but wasn’t finished yet. There were more vegetables to get including bok choy, radishes and kohlrabi.

“I see what they have, and I make my meal plans based on what’s the freshest available,” Porter said. “It lasts a lot longer, from the farmers market, compared to grocery stores. The cost is usually comparable for the taste you get. I love cooking with fresh vegetables and fruits, more so than anything out of a can.”

Marketing coordinator Leigh Rowan guessed there are 50 vendors for each event, including tables for jewelry, scarves, plants and dog treats alongside groceries.

“First of all, people have a true craving for farmers markets year-round, and the vendors had a craving to maintain a business level year-round,” Rowan said. “It was tough to establish a clientele, then boom, they’re gone, and the next year you have to re-establish that clientele again. To have a year-round market, you maintain that relationship.”