Like many things during the past year, the Co-op sure made a “quick pivot” in response to our changing environment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. One of our biggest partners in this shift was the Intervale Center. As the warmer weather arrived last summer, we coordinated a weekly outdoor cooking class series in their beautiful location and fired up the charcoal grill for instructors like Abby and Emily Portman of Poppy Café & Market and Maria Lara-Bregatta of Café Mamajuana (now together in the Oak Street Co-op in the Old North End), City Market’s Executive Chef Michael Clauss, and Chef Maria Garrido.
Participants learned how to set up camping stoves and cook unique “backcountry” meals with instructors from Outdoor Gear Exchange, and picked and arranged their own unique market bouquets at June Farm. Member Workers joined together at Crop Mobs to help the People’s Farm with tasks like planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting food for a need-based CSA program.
As the weather cooled, we took our usual indoor class programming lineup and made it virtual! Instructors came into our Teaching Kitchen space and taught their recipes (or their painting techniques) to a live, virtual audience, either through recipe demos or cook-alongs and paint-alongs. Even our annual We ♥ Local month in February went virtual, as our instructors focused their classes on local produce, dairy, beverages, and pantry staples to match that week’s theme.
One of the silver linings of this year full of challenges was just how wide of an audience we were able to reach with our new virtual programming options. We had people tune into City Market classes from all over the world, including Canada, Russia, Iceland, Australia, the UK, and Peru as well as across the United States. It felt amazing to be able to share a little bit of Burlington with such a global audience!
Now that we’re able to hold in-person outdoor classes again this summer, it’s been fantastic to gather, cook and share food, reveling in the company of others. We’ve sampled the flavors of the Mediterranean from Honey Road executive chef and owner, Cara Tobin (find her recipes here!) and Chef Jason Gelrud, fermented veggies with local fermentation expert Christa Bevan, arranged more hand-picked flower bouquets, and painted-along in person with Little Artsy Faces and Arts So Wonderful.
Summer may well underway, but we’ve got a great lineup of classes and instructors still in the pipeline, including cooking classes, nature walks, Crop Mob volunteer days, and so much more. Check out our Class Calendar page to learn more and sign up!