Welcome to School Focus I’m your host Melissa Payne. For over 20 years the Manassas Farmer’s Market has been in business. Recently, Culinary Students from Patriot High School had the chance to see first-hand the value that markets like this provide the community. “The Pilgrims brought over butter in like 1620. They had barrels and barrels of it, but because of like limited resources and stuff, they had to kind of like pull back on it. They still had it. It existed, but they couldn’t start using it as much as they wanted to until the 1870’s.”
Jessica Rapone from the Manassas Museum, helped kick off the students’ visit to the Manassas
Farmer’s Market with a little history lesson about food in the United States.
These students, from Emily Stevenson and Kimberly Buford’s Culinary Arts Classes at
Patriot High School, got the chance to tour the market and talk with vendors that
come from within a 150-mile radius to sell their goods. “It’s teaching them
basic food. How food is grown. How it’s distributed. By coming here they’ll get to
see how fresh food looks, other than stuff you buy in
cans or frozen.” The Manassas Farmer’s Market has been voted the best
in the area for the past four years. Produce, meats, eggs fresh flowers, breads
and other baked goods are among the items for sale. Students gathered around to
watch a chef make crepes with fresh ingredients. “I really think it ties
everybody together it all seems to come together at the Farmer’s Market. And I
truthfully feel like connecting us, this next generation that’s going to be
coming up to that environment of everybody taking care of each other. The
spirit of it is just something I actually think needs to be passed on to
the next generation.” Each of the items were not only used in recipes back
at their school, but they also provided lessons. “This is
what Romaine lettuce should look like. It should look like this. This is out of the ground for less
than two days.” Students use these lettuces along with the fresh garlic and
cucumbers that they purchased to create a Greek salad. “Chefs today are very, very
big on farm-to-table. To be able to see the farmer. To speak to the farmer, to
talk about how it was grown. When you get that feedback your dishes just come out
to a whole other level.” Students use the strawberries that were purchased from
the market instead of grapes in a tropical fruit salad.
Erin Beckman, coordinator of the Manassas Farmer’s Market, shared another community
benefit that the market provides. “It’s important for our farmer’s market to come
together to help everyone in the community and our SNAP program does that.
SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This program is open
to all eligible candidates and it’s not just for say low income. It is also for
the elderly and for people that just might be a little bit down on their luck.
It’s just a very great way for families to get healthy food, to have healthy lives.”
To learn more about SNAP and the Manassas Farmer’s Market, visit their websites.
That’s it for this edition of School Focus. Join us next time as we bring you
more news and highlights from around the school division.