Darra Adler, Mirror Contributing Writer
Last week at both the Main and Fairview libraries I had the pleasure to teach groups of local teens about the importance of locally grown food and how to prepare quick, healthy and delicious snacks. Many of the teens had been to the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market but did not necessarily realize how powerful an impact buying locally grown food has on their community. Buying locally grown food is not only fresher and tastier, but is vital to supporting the local economy, family farms and the environment. It is very easy to whip up a tasty snack when you have access to fresh produce. Fresh fruit is a classic, but you can also freeze fruit for a refreshing treat or freeze fruit juice in ice cube trays to make popsicles. Fresh veggies with yummy dips like hummus, pesto, guacamole, or cheese couldn’t be easier. Ants on a log are a lunch box favorite: simply spread peanut butter on celery sticks or apple slices and top with raisins. French bread pizzas are a crowd pleaser; just top crusty bread with your favorite pizza toppings and bake until the cheese is bubbly.
Teens learned how to make delicious smoothies using only fruit, juice and ice, and then got to create their own quesadilla masterpieces. They had a wide array of Farmers’ Market produce to choose from, including the usual cheese, tomatoes and avocados, but also had the opportunity to channel their inner chefs with more eclectic ingredients like grapes and pears. I was very impressed with the creative combinations everyone came up with. I don’t think I’d ever seen a quesadilla with Gouda cheese, cilantro, peppers, tomatoes, pears, grapes, avocados, and basil! Cooking demonstrations and classes for teens will continue in the upcoming months and throughout next year at several Santa Monica libraries. If you are a hungry teenager or even a parent who would love your son or daughter to cook something up now and then, please contact your local library for more information about these programs. Just because something is nutritious, doesn’t mean that it can’t be delicious, too.
Throughout the summer, farmer portraits were taken and some even appeared on the sides of the Big Blue Bus. The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market 25th Anniversary Portrait Project is now on display through November 6 at Bergamot Station in Gallery G, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am-6pm.