Farmers' Market tours to educate residents on farm-to-table produce

Mount Pleasant residents can get more intimate with their produce on its journey from the farm to their plate with Saturday tours and cooking demonstrations at the city's Farmers' Market.

The market has partnered with the Plate Boutique for the Farm to Table tour series starting 8 a.m. Running each Saturday market date until the end of the season, the $10 guided tour features a new recipe each month that showcases fresh seasonal produce.

"There is something really special about talking to people who grow your food," said Kati Mora, founder and owner of the Plate Boutique. "It's amazing to figure out what that process looks like. It becomes more enjoyable and easier to incorporate those foods into your day when they have a story behind them."

Mora said the main goal of the event is to educate patrons of the nutritional value of their food and help them make quality health choices.

She added that they wanted to take a more hands-on approach to disseminating the information, taking people through the entire process of selecting food and preparing it in a simple but nutritious meal.

Market Manager Carol Moody said because a tour group's can consist of only 12 people, members will have the opportunity to ask questions and speak more closely with the farmers. Last year, the market attempted to hold the Farm to Table series weekly, but had wavering attendance. Now, Moody scheduled each event as monthly installments.

Strawberries will comprise the recipe for the June 28 event. Participants will learn how to choose fresh strawberries and store them, as well as how to incorporate them into their daily diet.

Mora said that while the nutritional value of local foods is not much different than that of what would be found at a Wal-Mart, food in a farmers' market tends to be in-season and at the peak of its flavor.

Produce at the market doesn't need to travel as far, so it is usually more affordable, as well.

Moody said the Farm to Table series was conceived from brainstorming sessions with the Plate Boutique. She said they were looking for ways to collaborate in a way that would benefit both parties.

The Plate Boutique was opened in 2013 by Mora and her husband. They offer nutrition education services as well as unique kitchen products.

"My primary mission as a registered dietician is really to get people excited about eating well," Mora said. "Our motto is live healthy, eat happy. We see it as a really great way to give people a unique experience to learn about their food and where it comes from. "

To register for a tour, call the Plate Boutique at (989) 400-1478 or with the MPPR at the Farmers' Market. Registration includes a shopping tote and 20 percent discount on purchases at the Plate Boutique.

The Farmers' Market opens at 7 a.m. on Thursdays at Island Park and Sundays at Mount Pleasant City Hall.