Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Stirring the Pot"

This week starts the first of a three-part series of free community picnics. “Stirring the Pot: Dialogue, Discussion and Dinner in the Dairyland,” is sure to be an engaging and fun forum for area residents to gather and learn more about creating a healthy, green and sustainable local food system.

Come sit on the Monroe Arts Center lawn on a blanket and enjoying your picnic. Watch area chefs share secrets for cooking fresh, tasty dishes. Wander over to the MAC parking lot area enjoy local music and various activities to prompt discussion about food.

This first picnic on Wednesday, June 17 features a spring theme, with discussion focused on the theme “Roots and Seeds of Spring,” prompting discussion around how our food experiences and memories shape our attitudes today. On July 15, the second picnic will take place with a “Summer Abundance” theme. The final picnic is on August 19 and turns to fall harvest perspectives. National humanities experts Dr. Steve Stevenson and Kathy Ruf will be on hand to share their perspectives working in the areas of preserving family farms and encouraging local food systems.

The “Stirring the Pot” picnics all start at 5:30 pm, following the Wednesday Monroe Farmers’ Market. The upcoming June 17 event will kick-off with demonstrations by Blackhawk Technical College’s Chef Mark Olson, who will be demonstrating Goat Cheese and Oven-Dried Tomato Strudel showcasing local Green County raised and produced items. Steph Culberson of The Goosechaser Farm in Blanchardville will then share her technique and tips for making spätzli, the traditional Swiss egg noodle dish.

Please bring your own picnic and blanket or lawn chairs and help reduce waste at this event by bringing reusable dishware. The event will be held inside the Monroe Arts Center in case of rain. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer and help with these events, please contactCara Carper, UW-Extension (608-328-9441, No reservation is needed. For those with disabilities who need table seating, call Cara as well.

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