Tour the produce

The Rochester Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday will be part of a select number of markets in the United States to take part in the Toyota Farm to Table Tour , a showcase of the connection between area farmers, chefs, farmers markets and the communities they serve.

Rochester's farmers market, which is open from 8 a.m. to noon, is one of 11 chosen in the United States. Others are in such diverse locations as Salt Lake City, Washington, D.C., Little Rock, Ark., and Baton Rouge, La.

"This is a big honor for Rochester and our market," said Kari Dunn, market manager.

The selection process began in March when a team came to town to look the area over. Dunn showed them around, and it became clear that this would be a good fit for a tour location, she said. Not only is the market one of the best with over 80 vendors participating, but it also has strong community support and noted area chefs, who will be teaming up with some of the vendors.

Program plans


In addition to the fresh produce, meats, baked goods and flowers available every Saturday, this week customers will be able to go to a special tent where chefs will be preparing bite-sized tastings with ingredients from the the market. Being especially eco-friendly, all utinsels and tasting cups are made from potato-based materials. Starting at 8 a.m., three chefs will be cooking, with another three rotating through every hour.

Each person is given a "passport," which is stamped after every tasting. Three stamps allows you to go to a Mobile Garden to receive a complimentary potted herb. Market vendor Jodeen Wink and her daughter Sophia are providing the herbs.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to test drive a 2010 Prius, a Highlander Hybrid and Prius Plug-in due in 2012. A special gift of a John Boos cutting board will be given as a memento of that experience. In addition, Toyota is making a financial donation to the market.

Crowds expected

Dunn is urging those attending the market this Saturday to look for alternate parking since the chef and hybrid tents will be on the grounds where customers usually park. She suggests around the  City-County government center or nearby parking ramps where parking is free on weekends.

"Not only is this exciting for our market, the community and area farmers, but we are hopeful the event will attract new customers," Dunn said. "It is going to be fun, tasty and a great experience for everybody."

Participating chefs incude:

• Chad Rielander - Private chef


• John Flicek of Zzest Culinary Market and Wine Bar

• Omar Feyen of Omar's Kitchen and Omar's Cafe

• Chris Dwyer of the Kahler Grand Hotel

• Greg Jaworski of Nosh Restaurant and Bar

• Joel Carroll of Jasper's Alsatian Bistro

• Justin Schoville and Tessa Leung of Sontes

• Scott Foster of Chester's Kitchen & Bar and Pescara

• Scott Pampuch of Corner Table in Minneapolis

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