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Kids Learn to Cook at the Boalsburg Farmers Market

by on June 12, 2013 10:15 AM

Wide-eyed elementary school children wearing makeshift cooking hats made out of construction paper sat and eagerly watched Tony Sapia’s every move.

Tuesday afternoon marked the first Kids Day at the Boalsburg Farmers Market. Sapia, a local baker at Gemelli Bakers in downtown State College, put on a 45-minute display teaching children several recipes.

The idea, explained Sapia, is to get kids in the kitchen at an early age.

“Some of them really dig this stuff and think it’s cool,” he said. “I’m really happy with how it went.”

During his cooking class, Sapia demonstrated how to make salsa, vinaigrette dressing, macaroni and cheese casserole, pizza, and chocolate dipped strawberries. To keep children engaged, he often asked for volunteers and took questions from those watching.

One recipe that fascinated the kids was using pickle juice with raw vegetables. Sapia takes the juice from a jar of pickles and pours it over some diced vegetables. He says to refrigerate it overnight to enjoy a healthy creation the following day.

Sapia and his team of assistants, including a few Penn State nutrition majors, passed out samples to the kids.

Xaura Stager-Kamats said she liked the macaroni and cheese best. She also enjoyed watching Sapia saute vegetables.

Siblings Gaian and Ayla Geldner both said they enjoyed the salad that Sapia made for them.

Abby Edelman’s parents thought bringing her to the Farmers Market would be perfect because she always enjoys helping her mom in the kitchen at home.

Third grade students from Grays Wood Elementary School, Our Lady of Victory, and the Friends School were invited, but the cooking class was open to everyone.

Jim Eisenstein, responsible for community outreach at the Boalsburg Farmers Market said that all of the children received a $5 voucher to use anywhere at the market following Sapa’s presentation.

“I thought Tony was funny,” Edelman said. “And I really liked the chocolate covered strawberries.”

One of the goals is to create more awareness for local products and have fresh, local products available with school lunches in several area elementary schools next fall.

“I love seeing kids in the kitchen, and there’s great vendors here who all love sharing their knowledge,” Sapia said.

“We are going to do this again next year and keep trying to make kids day bigger and better.”

The Boalsburg Farmers market is open every Tuesday from 2 pm. To 6 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Military Museum. A large variety of local products are available, including fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, meats, cheese and fish.

Drew Balis is a Penn State graduate, freelance reporter and frequent contributor to
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