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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Derrick-Mills

Cooking, Fun, Friendship in Year 1 of the Learning Kitchen at Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm

Creating a Place People can Cook and Learn

tables and chairs in The Learning Kitchen
Learning Kitchen Room

Having a space to offer cooking classes has been a long time dream for Chef/Farmer Mark and me, his wife Teresa. In 2023, we converted what had been a mother-in-law suite into The Learning Kitchen (after 5 years of living here and pondering how we might offer cooking classes here -- but many more years of dreaming of a place where Mark could share his passion for and expertise in preparing delicious food and sweet treats).

Helping People Learn About and Love Vegetables

We grow all types of vegetables of many varieties at Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm. Chef/Farmer Mark loves to have variety in his cooking. We know that not everyone was brought up with the kinds of vegetables we grow -- and sometimes when you don't know what they taste like, you don't want to try them out.

4 kohlrabi on a table with a red cloth

We wanted to introduce people to vegetables that they had not grown up so they could see that they might like them and would know how to make them. Our biggest success for that this year was helping many more people grow a love for kohlrabi (see left)!

plastic containers with pickled vegetables
Class Quickaling Creations

We wanted to help people learn new ways of making things they already liked. Our biggest success for that this year was our "Pickling and Quickaling" class. You can see some cucumber, carrot, and mixed veggie quickaling creations here! In the class, you get to experiment with herbs, spices, and vinegars to find the combination you love!

In 2023, we offered 9 different types of classes on how to make veggies.

Classes for Learning the Science and Art of Chocolate and Sweets

We also thought folks would enjoy the science and artistry of making their own chocolates and other sweet treats! In 2023, we offered 7 different kinds of chocolates and sweets-making classes.

6 rolled chocolate truffles of various kinds
One person's rolled chocolate truffles

Making Rolled Chocolate Truffles (left) became an early favorite of both public classes and private parties.

We also taught people how to temper chocolate (in Snap and Shine), color and fill chocolate truffles, make chocolate melt-aways, and make caramels and gummies.

Bread and Dessert Classes, too

Chef Mark is a trained pastry chef who makes all kinds of yummy things. People kept asking us if we would teach them how to make bread and give classes in pies. We had some special fruits classes where we made frasier cakes and custard pies, then we had some classes on making pie crusts and sweet/savory fillings, and one on sourdough bread.

Cooking at The Learning Kitchen

We are so appreciative of the more than 100 people who bought classes and the even more people who came to The Learn Kitchen as guests of their friends and family. In January 2024, we will start to list our new classes for the new year. In the meantime, you can purchase a gift certificate for yourself or others to get ready to start having fun like the folks in the pictures below from classes in 2023.

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