New vendors and OSU Extension’s tree giveaway are just a couple reasons that the Oregon City Farmers Market is especially excited to kick off its ninth season Saturday, May 3, on the parking lot of Clackamas County’s Public Services Building from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Fresh off a $4,318 Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) grant from Clackamas County in January, the market will introduce kids to the delights of cooking seasonal foods. By focusing on safe techniques and easy recipes for 5- to-12-year-olds, these hands-on demos will encourage youth to embrace the idea of preparing healthy foods at home. This new “Kids Cook!” program dovetails with the market’s established kids' Power Of Produce (POP) Club, also premiered through a HEAL grant in 2011.

“Reaching kids at the market and interesting them in local foods is an important step to develop healthy eating habits early on in life,” said market manager Jackie Hammond-Williams.

During the summer season, cooking classes will be held on nine Saturdays at the market. Market Chef Amy Desimone and OSU Extension Family Food Educators will teach the 10 and 11:30 a.m. classes, providing each child with recipe sheets; kids also may enter a drawing for cooking equipment.

As part of a successful program now being copied in markets all across the country, POP Club kids will continue to receive $2 every time they come to the market to purchase fresh produce and food plants. Other planned activities include workshops with the Master Gardeners, and back this summer is the popular OC Lions Club Strides activity program. Kids will get to vote for their favorite tomato (and farmer), as well as grind wheat berries and make pancakes.

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