Health matters – Read about our new cooking classes!

Our assistant operations manager, Kirby Rowton, has recently taken the initiative to increase nutrition awareness amongst our clients. Kirby, with the help of her nutrition interns, has started hosting a monthly cooking class teaching clients how to cook the food they receive from us with fun and healthy recipes. We are so excited that Kirby has enhanced our mission (to provide food to underprivileged families and individuals in the greater Hays County area) and is increasing the ways we can better the lives of community members in need.

Cooking class 9

On a (relevant) side note, we have been focusing on the importance of fresh food and have created a “Fresh Quest” campaign to encourage the community to donate produce. Considering we get most fresh food donations from local community gardens and community members during the spring and summer months, now is the time to remind everyone that we do in fact accept and encourage fresh produce donations. H-E-B has always been our primary produce provider, especially before this call to action, so we are excited to gain even more attention and support in this area of our mission . Kirby and other team members help run this campaign by representing us at local farmer’s markets, Healthy City Task Force meetings, and in the community overall.

Cooking class collage

We want to provide fresh food to our clients but teach them how to prepare and cook fresh items they may not be familiar with. The food provided for the cooking classes comes from our warehouse, using the same food that is available at public distributions. Though there have only been two classes so far, the number of interested clients is quickly growing. The classes are limited to 12 people, making it more hands on and beneficial to all who attend. The last class accidentally had more than 20 people in attendance , so there were quite a few cooks in the kitchen. Everyone had a good time, despite being a little cramped. Who can fuss when making watermelon gazpacho??

Check out the recipe:

  • 6 1/2 lbs tomatoes, cored
  • 2 lbs seedless watermelon, peeled – 2 cups coarsely chopped, 2 cups diced
  • 2 lbs cucumbers, peeled and seeded – 2 cups coarsely chopped, 2 cups diced
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup minced chives, for garnish


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the tomatoes and blanch until the skins are loosened, about 30 seconds. Transfer the tomatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool.

2. Peel the tomatoes and halve them cross wire. Working over a coarse sieve set over a large bowl, squeeze the tomato halves to release the seeds and juices.

3. In a food processor, puree the coarsely chopped tomatoes with the reserved tomato juice and the 2 cups each of chopped watermelon and cucumber. Transfer the soup to a large bowl. Stir in the diced tomato, watermelon and cucumber, the vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.

4. In a small bowl, mix the scallions, jalapenos, cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle the chives on top. Pass the scallion relish at the table.


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