New West KnifeWorks is partnering with a Jackson Hole nonprofit, Slow Food in the Tetons, to help teach kids how to use sharp knives! While this sounds terrifying, this fundraising partnership will actually allow local kids to learn lifelong skills in the kitchen and maintain a connection to food that runs deeper than shouting orders at a fast food window.
One of Slow Food's main programs is the incredibly popular People's Market, an open air framers market that takes place every Wednesday from late May through mid September from 4-7 p.m. in the shadow of Snow King mountain. This year, New West Knifeworks will set up a booth every other week alongside local farmers, ranchers, and craftsmen and women, and 100% of their sales up to $5,000 will be donated to the organization, sponsoring one of their cooking camps for kids.
What is “Slow Food?”
The official Slow Food movement was founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986, and Italian foodie who watched in dismay as younger generations lost interest in farming, gardening, and cooking. A McDonalds opening next to the historic Spanish Steps in Rome was the last straw, and so he founded the organization in an effort to educate people about the harmful effects of fast, anonymous and homogenous food on the human body, psyche and the environment.
His organization, Slow Food, promotes local, seasonal food, traditional cooking, small local businesses, and the farming of plants and animals that makes the most sense in each respective ecosystem. It has since spread through Italy and opened chapters in 150 countries, including one in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Cooking Camps for Kids
New West Knifeworks founder Corey Milligan is a huge fan of the organization and practices Slow Food principles in his own home- he turned a closet into a meat locker where he cures his own locally harvested meat, for example- and he is careful to pass these principles on to his three children.
Milligan's son, Buck, is actually Food Network’s Chopped Junior grand champion, owing in a huge part to the emphasis his family placed on cooking together and staying inventive with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Mulligan explains, “I have seen the value first-hand of spending time as a family and cooking and eating together; it is our finest quality time.”
Slow Food in the Tetons runs several cooking classes and camps for kids, and the cooking camp receiving New West KnifeWorks' sponsorship is unique in that it begins at the People's Market every Wednesday, where the group of 12 future chefs receive a shopping list and must shop for local ingredients. Scott Steen, who runs the program, explains: “It is important for kids to understand where their food comes from. During the camp they are buying ingredients that adhere to the slow food values– clean, local, good for you and good for the environment.”
Slow Food awards four scholarships to kids for this particular camp, which the fundraising dollars from the New West KnifeWorks booth will help support.
“It’s cool to see these ten years olds using ten inch chef’s blades,” Steen laughs. “Some people might find that frightening, but these kids are amazingly responsible with them.”
Enjoying The People's Market
Stroll around the People’s Market in Jackson Hole on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, and you’ll see a huge conglomeration of bikes at the entrance, reusable bags, plates and cutlery inside, and community members supporting local framers, ranchers, and craftsmen and women. Between buying bread, sipping locally brewed iced coffee, kombucha, or beer, and buying plant starters for you garden, now you can throw a tomahawk, too. New West has a target set up for practice and is giving demos.
In case you take a shine to throwing the 'hawk, remember, 100% of your purchase goes through supporting this much loved community event, organization, and the future generations carrying on its values.