Meet Me at Market: Chefs!

By: Jen O'Brien       Posted On: May 29, 2014

Introducing FMC’s summer campaign: Meet Me at Market! This year, the Farmers Market Coalition is providing the more than 8,100 markets across the country with tools to help them deepen their connection with the community, reach new audiences, and better communicate the market’s activities and impacts.

FMC’s Meet Me at Market campaign will provide templates, promotional materials and guides for markets interested in deepening their connection with their community. Each month, Meet Me at Market will focus on strengthening markets’ connections with different audiences: June is dedicated to local chefs, July is kids, and August will be pubic officials and lawmakers. So without further ado:MMaMChefs_Banner

The purchasing decisions made by chefs serve as models to the community. Prioritizing sustainable, fresh, local produce in their menus allows chefs to create delicious, authentic food, while directly supporting the farmers who produce their ingredients. Additionally, when farmers and chefs build relationships, amazing new dishes result from the shared knowledge of seasonality, heirloom varieties and local agricultural histories.

This June, FMC is encouraging farmers markets around the country to connect with their local chefs! Invite them to shop at the market, host a chef-at-the-market event, collaborate on a Market Menu, or provide special deals or services for chef-shoppers.

There are endless creative ways to build relationships with chefs. The Portland Farmers Market learned that chefs found it unwieldy to select and transport the volume of food they wanted to purchase at the market, and came up with a solution: Veggie Valet. Chefs can leave their purchases at the PFM information booth on Saturdays, so when they are finished shopping, they can drive up to the booth to load their purchases. Market volunteers staff the booth and help load. Jaret Foster, Operations Director of the market shared, “Chefs tend to make larger and more bulky purchases at market, and are pressed for time. The Veggie Valet makes it easier all around. A win-win!” While chefs find the Veggie Valet particularly useful, all customers are welcome to use the service.

Cooking demonstrations are a chef-at-the market staple at markets all over the country. FRESHFARM Markets hosts regular cooking demonstrations at their DC markets since 1997, serving to showcase chef’s talents, promote local restaurants, and feature cookbooks and their authors. Their continued effort to connect with culinary trendsetters has paid off, with hundreds chefs now submitting applications to be featured, offering a wide array of demos from vegan treats to paella extravaganzas.

FMC is excited to collaborate with amazing Portland chef, Scott Dolich, who’s restaurant, Park Kitchen, will offer a Market Menu this summer. This special menu includes three courses, each featuring a main ingredient purchased from the local market. To top it off, Park Kitchen is generously donating 30% of the proceeds from their Market Menu to FMC! Interested in partnering with a local restaurant to offer your own Market Menu? Download FMC’s Market Menu Template here.

How will your market connect with local chefs this summer? The possibilities are endless, and we can’t wait to see the fantastic partnerships and events this summer brings. Once you’ve planned an event with your local chef, publicize it! Tell local newspapers, community groups, and spread the work on social media using. Use FMC’s Chef Event Press Release Template, and social media graphic to help spread the word.

Throughout the month of June, FMC will be featuring innovative and exciting chef / farmers market partnerships on our website and social media pages. Be sure to share your pictures during and after the event, and use #FarmersmarketChef so we can all take a look! FMC is also excited to take part in the opening day of the USDA Farmers Market on June 6th, where a military chef cook-off will take place. See you there!