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Chef Cindy Pawlcyn

Napa Valley Chef Cindy Pawlcyn was at the St. Helena Farmers' Market on Friday, July 26, speaking to the crowd and telling them how to make a perfect fresh berry tart.

While the St. Helena Farmers’ Market is known for providing the finest locally grown organic fruits and vegetables, sustainably farmed meat, quality prepared foods and talented artisans, many folks do not realize that we also offer a wide range of informative educational programs. Best known is our Market Classroom where kids enjoy weekly events including Story Times and hands-on arts projects, some of which are presented in partnership with Nimbus Arts, but there are many programs for adults, too.

Our monthly lecture series brings a variety of speakers on a broad range of topics. On Aug. 9, local perfumer Jessica Mennella will talk about natural scents. And on Sept. 13, Zac Yoder, Culinary Garden Manager for The Restaurant at Meadowood and The Charter Oak, will expand our views on home gardening.

It’s not surprising that my favorite educational programs involve eating. Our Chef’s Demos bring local chefs to the stage to highlight sumptuous dishes made from seasonal produce available at the Market. Last week, local favorite Cindy Pawlcyn delighted us with step-by-step instructions on making a perfect berry tart. The best part is when chefs pass around samples! Look for our upcoming Chef’s Demos in August, September and October.

Our popular CinemaBites series is a joint program with the Cameo Cinema. Delightful “foodie films,” are accompanied by bites from local chefs, wines from Napa Valley vintners and guest speakers. Our upcoming CinemaBites on Sept. 30 will feature “Nothing Fancy,” a biographical documentary about Chef Diana Kennedy, an acclaimed authority on Mexican cooking. The film’s director will be on hand to share her experiences with the feisty nonagenarian.

Watch for our Produce Tastings where St. Helena Farmers’ Market board members offer samples of seasonal produce for tasting and side-by-side comparisons. A melon tasting is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 16.

Every other Thursday, we host a radio program called Farmers’ Fresh Hour on KVON 1440AM from 10 to 11 a.m. Tune in to hear board members in conversation with vendors and local activists who will educate and inspire you. Our next live broadcast will happen on Aug. 8.

We are very proud of these educational programs that have allowed us to earn a 501c3 non-profit status. This is important because we rely on community support to continue and expand such programs and the nonprofit status makes donations tax-deductible. During the month of August you can also support us through the Corkage for Community program at Farmstead. This unique program was created by Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch to benefit local, community-based non-profit organizations by collecting a $5 corkage fee from guests at the restaurant who bring their own wine and generously donating the money to different beneficiaries each month.

For up-to-date information on our educational programs, visit us at sthelenafarmersmkt.org or call 707 486-2662. And be sure to join us every Friday through Oct. 25 in beautiful Crane Park from 7:30 a.m. until noon.

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Stacey Bressler is a local vintner, a member of the St. Helena Farmers’ Market Board of Directors and a past Citizen of the Year.

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