GRO to host chef cooking demos at the Columbus Farmers Market

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Growing Rural Opportunities, a local nonprofit that supports rural agriculture, will begin hosting chef cooking demonstrations one Saturday a month from July through November at the Columbus Farmers Market. 

Sarah McClure

The free “Market Like a Chef” series will host local chefs who will teach guests how to shop and cook, farmers market style.

Starting at 9 a.m., a featured local chef will lead 10 pre-registered guests through the market to source the season’s freshest ingredients to create a dish. Beginning at 9:45 a.m., the chef will do a cooking demonstration showcasing local ingredients and products from the farmers market, while offering preparation techniques and tips.

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Free samples and recipe cards will be offered, and a quick Q&A with the chef will conclude the demonstration by 11 a.m.

To go along with the food tasting, a local winemaker will also be on-hand to offer samples of some of their hand-crafted wine varietals, selecting one to pair with the chef’s dish at market.

“Guest will have the unique opportunity to shop for and cook with the freshest produce the market has to offer, eat seasonally and get to know their local food and wine producers,“ said Erika McMillan, GRO farmers market manager.

To kick-off the series, on Saturday, Executive Chef Sarah McClure from Southside Smokehouse & Grille in Landrum will be on-hand, along with Sofia Lilly, winemaker from Overmountain Vineyards. Together, they will create a food and wine pairing that market-goers can sample, and then make and serve at home using ingredients grown from less than 25 miles away.

Future dates and chefs/winemakers will be announced on the Columbus Farmers Market Facebook page and at

The Market Like a Chef series is free and available to everyone. All chef demonstrations take place in front of the veggie box truck, under the market managers’ white canopy, at 9:45 a.m.

Registration is required for the shopping portion only, and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. To register, people may email or call 828-436-0040.

– Submitted by Erika McMillan