PERTH COUNTY - Perth County Economic Development has just launched a new pilot program designed to help people incorporatemore local food into their lives by connecting them with Perth County food and the farmers and artisans who produce it.
Funded by the county in cooperation with participating municipalities, Perth County Kitchens has been approved based on the results of the Community Kitchens Survey that was issued in late June.
The trial program, which runs from August to mid-October, will use existing kitchen spaces in Perth County, filling in existing gaps in the facilities' respective schedules.
The certified commercial kitchens are available for rental for those wishing to use it for large-batch pickling/preserving, cooking/baking, preparing a big family meal, et cetera.
"These facilities are ideal for those wanting to create value-added products and sell from farmgate or at market," says Bernia Wheaton, Perth County Economic Development Coordinator, "This program greatly reduces the risk and cost that an artisan or producer would have to assume to create market-ready products that comply with food safety regulations."
In addition, the kitchens will be host to fun and interactive programming for adults and children. Topics will be focused on local food and may include cooking, baking, preserving, gardening, growing and sourcing the bounty of Perth County.
"Classes will be lead by food/industry professionals and will incorporate kitchen safety and safe food handling practices," says Laurie Knechtel, the kitchens project coordinator, "Participants will have the opportunity to take their work home with them to share with their families."
Knechtel notes that fees will be nominal, as they want to optimize the accessibility of these sessions.
Kids programming being planned includes ice cream and sorbet making, hands-on, basic bread making, a "Grow Your Own Food" gardening session, a simple sauce making session, and an "Eat the Rainbow" session.
Adult programming may include a pickling and preserving classes, artisanal bread making, working with non-dairy (goat and sheep milk) cheeses, fall planting for a 2011 harvest, a look at our region's honey varieties and why bees matter, and gluten-free baking sessions.
Please visit http://www.perthcounty.ca/page/kitchen for full details including specific programming, schedules, rental fees and locations. Contact Laurie Knechtel at email@example.com. or by calling 519.271.0528 for more information or to reserve kitchen space.