Posts Tagged With: morgantown

Farmers’ Markets in Morgantown, West Virginia

This week and the following week I’ve been attending and participating in WVU’s GDI Bootcamp.  Bootcamp is a time where the new interns can become adjusted to Morgantown, meet faculty and their advisors, set up their schedule, and more. It is also helpful for the second year interns (including myself) to meet the new interns, hear from guest speakers, and practice our public speaking and presentation skills.

On Wednesday, intern Roanna Martin presented “Local Food: Space for Conversation” where she covered the growing movement of “Buy Fresh, Buy Local,” Farm to School, school gardens, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Farmers Markets in West Virginia, the economic impact of local foods, and the use of SNAP benefits at farmers markets through the use of EBT (electronic benefit transfer).

Local foods, especially farmers’ markets are a growing movement. There are now more than 7175 farmers’ markets around the US, which is more than 3 times the amount of farmers markets 15 years ago!

Farmers markets have many benefits. Not only do they offer a place and a space for the community to meet together and share positive food experiences, but they also can provide a place for kids to get excited about nutrition, community members to learn about cooking and nutrition, and a place for farmers and small business community members to earn money.   In fact, there was an estimated $1.725 million dollars spent at the 34 markets across the state of West Virginia (for a total of 331 vendors) in 2005.  That’s a lot of cash flow, and even more so now that there are around 60 markets in West Virginia currently.

There are 4 Farmer’s markets in Morgantown. Here are the days, times, and market information:

Farmers markets not only have fresh fruits and vegetables, but they also have meat products, eggs, dairy products, grains, and baked goods such as pies, cinnamon rolls, and fresh bread.  You can also find flowers, homemade jams & jellies, honey, caramel corn, herbs, homemade dog treats (!), and craft, fabric, & woodwork items. Attending a farmers’ market can be a great way to meet other like-minded individuals in the community, support local businesses, purchase some great, fresh produce and other delicious food items.  While fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets have the same nutritional value as fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, the produce is often fresher and of higher quality because it doesn’t travel 1500 miles to get to your dinner plate.

Photo taken at the South Morgantown Market, courtesy of Roanna Martin

Photo taken at Barbour Co. Farmers’ Market (1 hour south of Morgantown), courtesy of Roanna Martin

Farmers’ Markets are also a great way to get to know the local food culture in the particular region where the market is held. If you find yourself traveling across the country for one reason or another, why not visit a local farmers’ market and pick up some fresh produce from that region?  Here’s a snapshot I took while in Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii this past December. Notice how the local food of Hawaii is a bit different from the local food of West Virginia!

Fresh & Local Fruit at the Kilauea Farmers’ Market in Kauai, Hawaii

Categories: Community Nutrition, Current News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take a look at this 23-page PDF guide to choosing healthy options for lunch when in a hurry– you CAN make healthier choices at fast food restaurants, at the vending machine, and with frozen meals!

Mary Rodavich, MS, RD, LDN

Part of our corporate wellness assignment this week was to create a presentation for the “Lunch and Learn” wellness series for employees at the Davis College of WVU.  Emily and I finally finished our 23-page handout titled, “Eating Healthy While Working On Campus”. The guide includes:

1.) Eat This, Not That – Morgantown Edition

2.) Healthy Vending Machine Choices

3.) Healthy Frozen Meals

To check it out, click the link below!!

Click: Eating Healthy While Working On Campus

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Categories: Community Nutrition, Education in the Community | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Want to Learn to Cook? Check Out MyKitchen!

When people start talking about why they don’t eat healthy, often times the perceived barrier “I can’t cook” comes up.  Maybe they don’t know how to cook, but they can learn, and in Morgantown, Chef Chris Hall offers a variety of classes that are designed to “provide a fun learning environment to enhance culinary skills.”  His business, My Kitchen, offers many cooking classes in the evenings.  The classes include Indian Cuisine, Asian Cooking, Mediterranean Dishes, South Italian Cooking, Grilling Class, Sushi, Cooking with Superfoods, Soups, Tex-Mex, Sauces, Kids in the Kitchen, Garden Vegetables, and Fish.  The class that Mary and I attended for observation was Light, Fast, & Delicious- a class that used fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats to create 8 or so dishes that were light in calories and fat, quick to prepare, and obviously delicious.

Chef Chris Hall (with a culinary arts degree, & a resume that includes being a private chef, working for many restaurants, and teaching adult community education classes) started off the evening class by going over the recipes that each of the 7 attendees got a copy of.  Each of these he had created- a green chili chicken sauce, a fruit smoothie, Pork Diane, Chicken Marsala, fish entrée, chicken noodle soup, and a shrimp jambalaya.  He has a very hands-on approach, and encourages each student to make the recipes themselves, while he jumps in with tips and answers any questions that come up.  In the hour and a half I was there, he taught us how to cut an onion properly (and reduce the tearing effect onions cause), a trick to peeling a garlic clove, the 101 of sharpening knives, the difference between chicken stock and chicken broth, and how to cook the perfect pot of rice.

Chris’s classes are flexible and can be shaped and designed around what you would like to learn.  Chris said that he had a student contact him before a class and tell him he really wanted to learn how to make tiramisu. Chris worked that recipe into the class, even when the recipe didn’t fit with the specific theme.  Another time, the students wanted to watch Chris cook, and just eat the food rather than cook it themselves— he was willing to do that too.

The kitchen itself is pretty cool.  The MyKitchen classes are held in a licenced commercial kitchen that Chris had attached to his home. The fully-stocked kitchen has a hand washing station, plenty of counter space, and stools and a table to sit at.   There are plenty of pictures on his website, so check them out here!

Whether you’d like to learn how to cook in the privacy of your own home, with a bunch of friends, or whether you’d like to go to one of the MyKitchen evening cooking classes, you are bound to learn something whether you are a novice or a more experienced cook.

In short, it can be pretty easy for some dietitians to consult with a patient and tell them they need to quit the fast food and start eating whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and fruits and vegetables.  But oftentimes making the leap from eating out all the time to cooking at home can be daunting and unfamiliar.  People have to learn how to cook before they can start eating healthy home-cooked meals!  This is where professional relationships between Dietitians and chefs come in handy, as RDs can refer patients to chefs that offer skill-building classes in the community.

And it’s not just patients or clients that would benefit from cooking classes.  Even those that study nutrition need a helping hand once in a while! I was a Teaching Assistant for 2 cooking labs this past year– Science of Food Preparation and Cross-Cultural Dietary Patterns.  These were upper-level nutrition students, and I was surprised at how little some of them knew about basic cooking skills.  I had students not recognize the difference between a cucumber and a zucchini, not know how to cook rice, properly measure ingredients, and not know what “broil” means.  Obviously there is a need to increase the cooking skills and confidence level of nutrition students and the general public alike.  I think it’s pretty great that MyKitchen offers those skills to the residents of Morgantown in such a fun and interactive way, so if you’re ever looking for a fun way to spend your evening in Morgantown, whether you are a nutrition professional or a newbie to the world of cooking, I think it’s worth your time to check out MyKitchen.

Categories: Education in the Community | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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