As the City of Falls Church Farmer’s Market Chef Series came to a close Saturday morning, Willow Restaurant chefs Tracy O’Grady and Kate Jensen had to turn away late comers looking for a sample of their tasty blend of spring potatoes, goats cheese and lemon vinaigrette with asparagus salad.
Throughout the morning, hundreds of market goers could be seen in front of the chef demonstration table sipping small cups filled with the bright creamy green blend of spring produce. Saturday marked the return of the popular City of Falls Church Farmers Market Chef Series, which brings chefs from various restaurants in the area to the market to show consumers what’s in season.
“Its interesting because this is a very popular market, but this was a nice addition, because people were seeing so much produce, but they didn’t know what to do with it,” said Kathleen Nixon, the Falls Church resident and Farmer’s Market volunteer who initiated the Chef Series and continues to oversee it.
Nixon, who also runs the Farmer’s Market website, said that people came from as far as Long Island, New York specifically for the fresh produce and to see the chef demonstration Saturday from Willow Restaurant.
“A lot of times I ask the chef to showcase a specific ingredient that people didn’t know about,” Nixon said. “What usually happens is when we have an ingredient that people are familiar with and then they get introduced to it from the chefs, the vendor usually sells out that day. One time we did wheat berries and the vendor sold so many that he couldn’t come back the next week because he sold 60 pounds of wheat berries that day."
Former director of the Department of Recreation and Parks Howard Herman organized the city’s farmer’s market more than 25 years ago.
People flocked to the demonstration booth for a taste of the succulent spring mixture, one late comer wasn’t as lucky though.
“When do you usually run out? I thought it went to 11?” The lady said in a very disappointed tone at 10:55 am as O’Grady, Jensen and Nixon packed up the rain soaked demonstration booth.
Nixon started the Chef Series to further highlight the importance of eating locally grown seasonal foods to help support the local environment and economy.
The Willow demonstration was the first of 10 scheduled Chef Series events this year for the farmer’s market, which operates every Saturday from 8 a.m.-noon.
“Part of our program is to introduce people to local produce, seasonal produce, rather than spending all that time in the grocery store,” said Nixon.
You can find the schedule and recipes for the Chef Series demonstrations on the farmer’s market website at http://www.fallschurchfarmersmarketchef.com.