The Mill City Farmers Market, open every Saturday May–October, has the goal to inspire all of its visitors to prepare at least one weekly market meal using ingredients from its local farmers and food makers.
As part of this mission and the market’s dedication to healthy and local food education, Mill City Farmers Market offers free 20–30 minute professional cooking classes every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. These classes, located in the covered train shed patio area, feature seasonal ingredients from the market prepared by the market’s chefs, plus printed recipes and a delicious sample for everyone in the audience.
The cooking class series kicked off on May 5 with chef and nutrition educator Jenny Breen teaching the crowd not only how to cook spring greens in a delicious and creamy risotto (recipe follows) but also how to make a simple vegetable broth and the benefits of whole grains and healthy fats.
In addition to cooking classes, the market often features book signings, local celebrity guest chefs and special events like its annual Bread Fest baking showcase in September. Join the fun every Saturday — rain or shine!
Learn more at millcityfarmersmarket.org
Spring onion and spinach risotto
By market chef Jenny Breen
Unlike your traditional risotto, this one is whole grain, full of nutrients and a delicious variation on the traditional theme. The grains lend themselves to creaminess, and as you continue to add liquid, thicken and soften while still maintaining unique flavor. The spinach or other greens and spring onions bring a bright and fresh addition. Serves 6.
- 1 cup wheat berries from Sunrise Flour Mill (substitute barley, brown rice or farro)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, separated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Up to 2 cups milk of your choice (use rice or soy for vegan option)
- 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
- 3 cups stock or water
- 1 bunch of spring onions, cleaned well and roughly chopped
- 2 cups spinach or other tender spring greens, cleaned and roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 bunch radishes, greens roughly chopped and bulbs quartered
- 1/2 cup fresh bacon from Sunshine Harvest Farm or smoked turkey, chopped, and cooked in frying pan (substitute smoked turkey or skip if vegetarian)
- 1/4 cup grated Fresiago cheese from Shepherd’s Way Farm (substitute asiago or similar cheese and skip for a vegan option)
Cook grain in 3 cups water until tender (about 40 minutes) and set aside. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and sauté garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the cooked grain and slowly add 1 cup of the milk. Stir constantly over medium heat, adding small amounts of wine, stock/water and more milk. Keep stirring as it gets creamy. Continue to add liquid as needed for 20–25 minutes. It should be creamy, not mushy. If you prefer it creamier, continue with the slow cooking and addition of liquid for up to an hour.
In a separate saucepan, heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, add the spring onions, greens, fresh herbs and radishes. Reduce the heat to low, add the grain to the vegetables and combine well. Fold in the bacon/turkey and cheese (if using) and mix until well blended, adding more liquid if desired.