The 411 Food Fair

CHEF TASHA AND THE JUNIOR COOKS CLASS

ArtHouse kicks off farmers market season on Juneteenth

Contributed By:The 411 News

Demonstrations of how to cook the foods grown by local farmers

In a salute to the farm-to-table movement, Gary's ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen and Lake County Eats Local are marking the celebration of Juneteenth on Saturday, June 19th with a farmers market and demonstrations of how to cook the foods grown by local farmers.

This is the second collaboration between the ArtHouse's Chef Tasha Coaxum, Culinary Dreamers, and LCEL. In December, they partnered on 'Take Out Holiday Hunger,' providing over 400 heat-and-serve free meals to residents. All of the produce came from area growers.

The Juneteenth celebration will showcase foods from local farmers and urban gardeners, and makers of artisan foods.

Helping to kick off this season of farmers markets in Gary is a team of young chefs trained by Chef Tasha -- Culinary Dreamers' Junior Cooks.

The chef describes the Junior Cooks' training as a mini-culinary school from the commercial kitchen at the ArtHouse that teaches everything from basic knife skills to how to run a food business.

They learn food sanitation and health practices, etiquette, and customer service. Already, the Junior Cooks have hosted several pop-up food events at the ArtHouse.

Chef Tasha is a former educator and is also a caterer. Junior Cooks came from a marriage of the two. "I did food demonstrations in the schools. From a $1 carton of eggs, I showed students they could get omelets and French toast. Good food instead of those hot fries they eat for breakfast."

Acceptance came from the parents who enrolled their children in the Junior Cooks class. "Schools are losing those enrichment courses and parents knew me," Chef Tasha said and proudly states, "I grew up with a backyard garden and I've been cooking since the age of 7. I know where good food comes from."

LCEL plans to create more farmers markets throughout Gary and East Chicago this year, said Marie Pittman, project manager. Market partners include The City of East Chicago, Methodist Hospitals Northlake, the Miller Beach Arts and Creative District, Amvets Post 6 and HealthLinc Clinic.

"By increasing the number of farmers markets, we are ensuring that the community has access to fresh, locally grown produce," Pittman said. LCEL has 6 market locations this year that also accept SNAP as a payment type.

East Chicago's HealthLinc location is this year's double-up bucks location. "When you make a SNAP purchase at the HealthLinc: Food is Medicine Farmacy, we will match your purchase dollar for dollar," Pittman said.

Hours for the Juneteenth Celebration are 10am to 2pm.

Story Posted:05/29/2021

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