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What’s cookin’?

Kershaw County Farmers Market encourages residents to ‘Eat Smart Move More’

Posted: June 21, 2011 11:49 a.m.
Updated: June 22, 2011 5:00 a.m.
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South Carolina has the ninth-worst obesity rate in the country, according to essmsc.org and dedicated individuals in Kershaw County are making an effort to battle that statistic and prevent obesity.

The state’s Eat Smart Move More (ESMM) initiative encourages a healthy lifestyle and Kershaw County residents are benefitting from the program. So far, the program has funded improvements to Camden’s Scott Park to allow use during the winter months and the program has also enabled the installation of Share the Road signs and bike racks to encourage biking across the county.

In addition to recreational improvements, ESMM also has a program that encourages healthy lifestyles in the kitchen.
ESMM has a spot at the Kershaw County Farmer’s Market where Scott Freiberg, co-founder of Yoga Without Walls, teaches a healthy cooking class the second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. until noon. He uses produce and other items from the farmer’s market for his cooking class in order to support the market and farmers.

During the June cooking class, Freiberg created grilled Santa Barbara shortstacks, watermelon gazpacho and a cranberry orange pastry. After he cooks each dish, Freiberg passes around samples to those watching the demonstration.

While making the gazpacho, which included a jalapeño pepper, Freiberg sampled the cold soup himself and decided it was too spicy for others to try. A couple of brave volunteers tried the spicy batch and agreed it had heat.

“So what did I do? I dumped it and made a new one with a red bell pepper,” Freiberg said.

By starting over, Freiberg said he showed that it’s okay to not like a recipe and that recipes can be easily modified. 
He also added that it’s alright to experiment and have fun in the kitchen.

A major focus of the cooking class is using local, nutritional food to cook simple and healthy meals.

Susan Witkowski, executive director of the Community Medical Clinic of Kershaw County, also helps with the demonstration.

She emphasized the importance of eating produce that is in season and picked within fifty miles because local food can be picked later and has more nutritional value.

“A tomato you pick in your back yard is a whole lot redder than the one you get at the grocery store,” Witkowski said.

So far the cooking class has been successful and has also had a positive impact on the farmer’s market.

“People are really excited, complementary and thankful for what we are doing,” Freiberg said. “We are cross referencing the farmers whose produce we buy and many people are going over to buy whatever we are using. Several times farmers have sold out of what we have recommended.”

There are two classes left this summer July 9 and August 13 and they are free and open to the public.

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