Photo by Elizabeth Troutman Adams
When milling around the farmers’ market, I don’t always have a dinner plan in mind. I’m waiting for something seasonal to entice me—a fresh bunch of greens or a ready-to-eat peach will wind up in my bag, and I’ll figure out what to do with my edible treasures later.
Shoppers crave those fresh, local and seasonal ingredients that you provide, whether or not they know creative ways to use them in the kitchen. That’s the beauty of buying local—you have to work with what you have, for better or worse. For me, it usually turns out for the better.
Coming up with practical recipes that use seasonal products can be a frustrating task for everyday cooks—especially for shoppers who are crunched for time and feeding large families. Even for those shoppers who have plenty of time to experiment with their goods, executing a recipe using a local product requires leafing through cookbooks and filtering through Pinterest boards. Why not give your customers an added service by featuring a few recipe suggestions on a chalkboard tablet?
This recipe-suggestion chalkboard is a great tool to showcase how to use your farm products in the kitchen, and perhaps spark up some friendly conversations with your farmers’ market customers.
Let’s face it—nobody knows how to use your products better than you, the farmer. You’ve likely done your fair share of kitchen experimenting with a surplus of any veggies or fruits grown on your farm. In August, when those tomatoes are piling up, I start to get really creative with tomato-based stews and salsas. And when the banana peppers are up to my neck, I turn to the deep fryer or dice them up in Caribbean-style beans and rice. If you share your recipe ideas with customers, they will appreciate your products, purchase the products and learn to trust your advice.
- 8×10 photo frame photo with sturdy wood or plaster backing (A 5×7 frame might work if you are able to write small.)
- chalkboard spray paint
Take your. Remove the glass and store it away somewhere safe. Remove the wood or plaster backing, and set the actual frame aside.
Shake up a can of chalkboard spray paint. (One of my new favorite products, chalkboard spray paint costs about $8 at craft stores. There are multiple uses for this stuff, so it’s a worthwhile purchase!)
Spray the frame backing according to manufacturer’s instructions (outdoors and with a proper painting cloth or backdrop barrier under it). Wait at least 15 minutes and spray at least one more time thoroughly. Let the backing dry overnight.
Once the backing is dry, cure it by scraping the side of a piece of chalk over the area you plan to write and wipe it clean.
Now the fun begins! Once the chalkboard tablet is dry, decide what product you want to feature for the week. It should be a product that is plentiful—something you hope to empty from your stand. Come up with a list of recipe ideas that feature that product, and write them on your tablet.
I chose to feature strawberries, so I suggested everything from classic strawberry shortcake topping to a strawberry rhubarb pie to dried strawberry snacks to a simple chilled strawberry soup. List at least three recipe suggestions on your tablet, but no more than five or six. Also try to include recipes that cover all three meals of the day: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Reassemble your frame so the recipes are visible.
Be prepared to talk about recipes with your customers. If they say, “I’ve never made strawberry sorbet, but always wanted to try…” let them know how easy it is, and talk them through the process. Maybe even bring a stack of recipe cards so you can write impromptu recipes for them to take home. They will never forget your extra effort to create a more personal relationship, especially if the results in the kitchen are spectacular!
Get more crafts from HobbyFarms.com:
- DIY Framed Chalkboard (and Bonus Spice Rack!)
- Quick Craft: Chalkboard Labels
- Build a Cold Frame from a Storm Door
- Quick Craft: Magnetic Board