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1:40 AM Thu, Sept. 20th

Fresh from farm to table for the holidays

Tamara Sone/The Daily Courier,br>Using farm fresh produce from local farms or farmers markets can really kick up the flavor in your holiday meals.

Tamara Sone/The Daily Courier,br>Using farm fresh produce from local farms or farmers markets can really kick up the flavor in your holiday meals.

PRESCOTT -It's not necessary to be a professional foodie or chef to take part in the farm-to-table phenomena. With Prescott College's Winter Farmers Market and local farms offering a variety of fresh produce, home cooks have the opportunity to top their tables this holiday season with amazing mouthwatering meals.

"Even when I buy organic produce in the store, it just doesn't taste the same as when I buy produce from a farmers market," Jill Stebbins from Prescott Valley said. "You really can taste the difference between store-bought fruits and vegetables and those that are straight from the farm. It's like the food tastes more pure or clean."

Mortimer Family Farms, 12907 E. Highway 169, Dewey, offers home cooks a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables like squash, onions, green beans, and apples to use in holiday dishes.

"Everything that we sell is grown on the farm," co-owner Sharla Mortimer said. "The fresher the product the more flavorful it is. Grocery store produce loses a lot of flavor in the transportation process."

The farm also is offering fresh holiday turkeys for the first time.

"Those are right off the farm and ready to go," Mortimer said. "All of our turkeys are fresh, where grocery store turkeys are frozen. When you freeze a turkey you lose a lot of the flavor in the meat."

The Winter Farmers Market, 220 Grove St. in Prescott, is another option to finding farm fresh produce for your holiday dinners.

With more than 15 vendors, the market offers a variety of fresh fruits, produce, herbs, meats, jarred sauces and relishes to create a hoard of holiday culinary delights.

Every Saturday, Shanti Rade and her husband, Cory Rade, owners of the Whipstone Farm in Paulden, truck a variety of produce like carrots, green peppers, squash and onions to the college for the market.

"We have a dedicated following of customers and they are eager for fresh produce," Whipstone Farm co-owner Shanti Rade said.

Along with the health benefits that comes with buying food directly from the farm or farmers market, the food-to-table movement supports local economies and allows customers to get to know the people handling their food, Mortimer said.

For more information on farm fresh produce or meat, visit www.MortimerFamilyFarms.com or www.prescottcommunitymarket.org

Follow Tamara Sone on Twitter @PDCtsone