Ah the lowly zucchini –– so unloved in the garden, with its tendency to grow in leaps and bounds and in all sorts of weird shapes, but so beloved once it’s picked and sauteed in a little garlic and olive oil.
The zucchini is just one of the edible delights that will be discussed, and enjoyed, at Saturday’s Caetani Art Market which is dedicated to the culinary arts.
Those who love the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetable found in this neck of woods this time of year will want to head to the Caetani Cultural Centre, and bring your appetite for the flavours and colours of the season, says Judy Katalinic, Caetani centre executive director.
“The market will play host to a number of guests who will guide visitors through the art of growing your own food, eating for health, and transforming the bland to the delicious,” she said.
Those who have ever wondered what to do with those surplus of zucchini will want to take in a talk by local storyteller (Ghost Tours of Vernon) and social arts practitioner Gabriel Newman.
A firm believer in the practice of combining food and story telling, as seen at his recent Social Potluck gatherings, Newman will exchange stories and recipes at an open forum he’s calling the Zucchini Support Group at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the Caetani centre’s Courtyard Café.
People will be able to share their own experiences of growing and surviving the prolific results of harvesting zucchini, said Newman.
“Any surplus zucchini collected at the market will be donated to the local food bank.”
The art of plating –– using colourful foods with design for plate dressing –– will also be discussed by Antje Schirwinsky in the Courtyard Café at 11:30 a.m.
The owner/chef of Vernon’s Crush Bistro, Schirwinsky will be giving talks at the market to demonstrate how a little bit of twist in preparation and presentation can make simple, everyday foods more appetizing and fun.
“Colour can influence the appetite (and) meals from breakfast, through dinner and dessert can be an artful, pleasurable experience,” she said. “Taste buds play the most important part in helping to enjoy the many flavours of food, but much of it lies in the art of presenting a plate.”
Schirwinsky will also talk on the art of blending herbs and spices for maximum flavour and effect at 2 p.m., also in the Courtyard Café.
Organics versus non-organics, local versus non-local will also be discussed –– and tasted –– when local cookbook author and local farmer Kathryn Hettler gives a presentation at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Trellis Patio.
“She will challenge visitors to taste the difference between locally grown, organic produce compared to the same shop-bought produce,” said Katalinic. “She will also be talking about her book with great tips on eating for good health.”
Hettler runs Pilgrim Produce, an organic fruit and vegetable farm in Spallumcheen, with her husband, Robert, using sustainable methods to preserve the land.
She co-wrote Real Food Real Health with Dr. Maureen Clement, a book with recipes and serving tips provided by many local growers, and a guide to the farms and farmers markets in the North Okanagan/Shuswap region.
Those still hungry will want to head over to the Trellis Patio at 10 a.m. and at noon for tips and treats, with nourishing drinks and divine treasured eats, prepared by Mirranda Maxson, an artist/resident at the Caetani house.
“Artistic expression manifests itself in anything you have a passion for,” said Maxson, who has cultivated a plot on the east side of the Caetani property, where she grows her own vegetables and herbs.
Fellow green thumb resident Christine Pilgrim will welcome visitors to her front porch for bunches of the fresh, aromatic, and prolific mint she grows in her own garden at the house.
An actress known for her enactments of historical figures, visitors just may find themselves served by Emily Carr, said Katalinic.
For those who don’t have the space to grow in their own backyard, the Community Food Action Group will have a booth at the market to provide information on how and where to grow locally.
“There will, of course, be live music and kids crafts, not to mention more paintings, sculpture, jewelry, clothing and skin care products on sale than any other Caetani Art Market this year,” said Katalinic. “Artists will share how they create their work in their on-site studios, while Crush Bistro’s catering will add a little more flair to the Courtyard Café, with toonie tapas, soup and gourmet sandwiches.”
In addition, visitors inspired by the guest speakers may find themselves tempted by unique drinking glasses hand crafted by Angela Broad in the Ninfa studio or Laurel Freden’s pottery range on the front deck.
Kids will not be disappointed with junior apprentice wand makers Lucas and Ella Newman, who will have a small display of handcrafted wands for sale in the courtyard and will lead demonstrations on how to make your own wand, added Katalinic. The make-your-own-wand kits and demonstrations are by donation.
For more information, visit www.caetaniculturalcentre.org.