Chef's Corner: "Eat a Rainbow" | Cary Downtown Farmers Market

Chef’s Corner: “Eat a Rainbow”

Chef’s Corner: “Eat a Rainbow”

Parker Farms' vegetable display at the Cary Farmers Market

Spring, like most ideas, starts small. First, maybe it’s the thought of a warm misty day replacing the chilly drudgery of ice and snow. Next, maybe it’s a hint of sunshine and seasonal birdsong before the long drive to work. Then, perhaps, crocus, lilacs, violets and wisteria emerge from nowhere, painting the dead land with rainbow hues, heralding the arrival of magnolia, dogwood, and jasmine, all climaxing in a baptism of pollen.

All part of the turning wheel of seasons and generations, knowledge gained, and knowledge lost to time as modern civilization progresses toward some great end… Stop!

Okay, the spring season always makes me wax a little poetic, I can’t help myself, I am weak. My name is Mitch; I am a chef by trade, a romantic by birth, and an unrequited poet of questionable talent. On Saturdays you can find me at the Downtown Cary Farmers Market talking with anyone who cares to listen. Those who know me will tell you I am happy to talk to you about anything that’s on your mind. It’s my way of making friends and being a good neighbor. My favorite topic, though, is anything revolving around food, which is, I suppose, the reason I love the Market so much.

Markets are something that have become very popular in the world today, popping up like the spring flowers mentioned in my first paragraph. In my opinion, this is a positive step forward to a healthy food culture. This is what the Downtown Cary Farmers Market, located on Chatham Street in front of the Ivey-Ellington House, is intent on promoting. The Market’s Season Opening Celebration will be this coming Saturday, April 13th and there will be a variety of items to enjoy. Of course, there will be farmers, but the Market is also a community gathering place and a venue for local artisans to show their wares. Woodworkers, soap makers, coffee roasters, tea purveyors, and bakers will be there to share the morning with you and make it a little bit better than it might have been prior to your arrival.

The Market prides itself on being a community hub, so over the season you will also be treated to local musicians — like Mountain Blue — playing this Saturday for you to groove with. Kid-friendly activities and educational programs are also always on tap. This week will be the launch of the second season of the Market’s Eat a Rainbow campaign. It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt, but with more vegetables.

Everyone knows good nutrition is integral to a healthy life, but always counting calories, vitamin intake and such can be a little dull and even off-putting. The Eat a Rainbow campaign aims to take the boring out and put the soaring in. Basically, it instructs us to eat a larger variety of differently hued natural foods every day; thereby ingesting the widest variety of nutrients available with minimal effort or tracking.

We’ll be providing kids, and anyone else who wants to participate in this week’s challenge, with a paper plate. The idea is to build healthy food memories by searching for foods of different colors among the vendors, collecting stickers representing those colors to stick onto the plates, and presenting your rainbow-colored plate to the Market Chef to receive a special sticker prize.

So, as we prepare ourselves to celebrate the rebirth of nature’s bountiful rainbow, we ask that you join us at the Market in celebration.

Hope to talk to you there on Saturday!

Chef Mitch at his market table at Cary Farmers Market Chef Mitch at his table teaching family about vegetables at Cary Farmers Market

Open Saturdays | April-Oct: 9a.m. - Noon | Nov-Mar: 9a.m. - Noon | 135 W. Chatham St., Cary, NC