Hi all, it’s Debbie here!  We have been busy this past week at Rural Resources in East Tennessee!  (as if we are never busy every week during the summer!)  We are going to post two times this week, our end of the week post has been reserved for Faelyn Campbell, my intern.  This is her last week with me and she is going to report about our Grow Appalachia group, Food Commanders, and share how her summer has been as an intern.  I am hoping to survive without her!

This week has been busy with two major food events for my other teen groups, which I felt I needed to share.  Saturday our cooking group, who calls themselves “The Silent Farmers”, greeted our rainy early morning at our local farmers market.  There they met up with Chef Geoff, Chef at General Morgan Inn of Greeneville, TN, to set up for a fresh salsa demonstration.  They spent two days prior in the week with Chef Geoff learning how to make salsa – he went through all the skills of how to use a knife, how to cut each of the items in the salsa, and made sure each of the teens understood each step.  He worked with this group of 7 teens and prepared them to show their skills and recipes at the farmers market.  After our local farmers set their produce out, we went around and collected all the local ingredients we needed.  The only thing we used that was not local were the limes and salt.

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During practice, the teens made a standard salsa, black bean salsa, blueberry salsa, and strawberry/peach salsa.  There were so  many flavors and wonderful colors!  During our demonstration, we made a standard salsa and a peach salsa from all the local ingredients we had at the market.  Here is the peach salsa recipe (it was really good!):

Peach Salsa

1 small red onion diced

1 jalapeno

8 roma tomatoes

4 peaches

3 limes

½ cup chopped basil


Dice the jalapeno, red onion, tomato and peaches and place in a bowl. Juice the limes and add to the salsa. Chop the basil and mix well with the rest of the salsa. Add salt to taste and serve.

After doing salsa all last week and a demo Saturday, these teens turned around this week and prepared a local foods lunch for our Soup Kitchen.  What a blessing it was to prepare food and serve it to our underserved population.  The teens had a wonderful time cooking with our chef and farmer, Melissa.  They made pulled pork bbq; lettuce salad with cucumbers and tomatoes; macaroni salad with onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers; and homemade brownies!  Everything came from the farm at Rural Resources other than the lettuce.  We served 134 meals!  The teens were thrilled to help so many and to be able to take food left home to their families!

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Cooking local food is what this group does for the year.  They spent last year learning how to grow the food and this year learning cooking and culinary skills.  They are also learning some canning skills.  They are preparing for another demonstration in a couple of weeks at our local fair.  They will be making pickles in the old crocks.  They have made one batch of sweet pickles, and have enjoyed the jars they took home.  They will be catering a big dinner in September, a Thanksgiving meal for a retired low-income assisted living facility, and catering our annual Teen Promotion Dinner in September.  The skills they have learned will be put to the test this fall!  I am excited to see the food they will be preparing – this past week was simply divine!