Rachele McCluskey is on to a good thing. Her booth in the vendor circle at the Arcata Farmers’ Market is little but packs a punch of flavor and eye appeal. The cashew based cheesecake slices are pristinely packaged to show off their marbled tops. Her large soup pot of artichoke leek soup, totally plant-based, sends forth enticing aromas to passers-by. Foodwise is on the scene.
Foodwise is McCluskey’s complete approach to sharing her love of food with folks. She started selling her wares during the winter market but this will be her first season with the full-on spring through fall Saturday market.
She started her business a year-and-a-half ago and the soups and cheesecakes are a great way to get the word out about her classes and kitchen services at the Foodwise location a block and a half away.
Foodwise is located at 971 Eighth St, across from the Arcata Co-op. There, McCluskey and other nutrition consultants, teach hands-on classes. The participants come away with “delicious meals, new recipes, and lots of inspiration,” according to the Foodwise flyer.
All meals are prepared without the use of meat, dairy or refined sugars. McCluskey does the prep: the chopping, the soaking, the sprouting, and even sometimes fermentation. Then when attendees arrive, she demonstrates two to three recipes, gets folks involved with hands on creating, and sends them home with delicious food in reusable glass containers and the recipes.
She offers classes free to the seniors who live in the apartments upstairs in the building and also teaches family classes in Fortuna.
McCluskey’s sunny personality and enthusiasm make it an easy way to learn about a different approach to food. She attended a culinary school in Fort Bragg called Living Light. Her soup ingredients come from her farmshare from Redwood Roots and she also “sources from all the farmers at the market.”
Once her booth sales are done, she can’t wait to roam around the market and get inspired for more creations.
“I’m thinking of a fresh pea soup, maybe with dill,” she said. Her voice carried the enthusiasm of a five-year-old getting an ice cream cone. It’s clear that food is her passion.
And the customers are passionate about her raw cheesecakes. The flavor of the day is Matcha Mint and the slices were all gone by noon. “Sold out?” a woman exclaimed. “I love your cheesecakes!”
“I’ll have more next week,” McCluskey assured her.
Participants must pre-register for the Sunday afternoon meal prep and for other classes, by calling (707) 633-8328 because space is limited.
Amy Aiello, a nutrition consultant who teaches Introduction to Ayurveda, was visiting the booth on Saturday. She and other food folks add to the variety of experiences at Foodwise.
Classes include Babies and Whole Foods on May 26 and Kids in the Kitchen on May 31 Visit foodwisekitchen.com, for more offerings.
Better yet, try McCluskey’s soup at the Saturday market. It speaks for itself.