Meet at the market: school’s out, but lunch is not

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Photo: Santa Barbara County Food Bank

Each week we meet up with Katie Hershfelt of Cultivate Events as she chats with farmers, chefs and shoppers at the Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market.

This week, she met up with Misha Karbelnig, the development manager at the Santa Barbara County Food Bank. She and her team kicked off their fifth annual Picnic in the Park program this week. Just because school is out, she says, doesn’t mean kids can’t find free, healthy lunches.

Here’s how the program works. Since the Food Bank is not equipped to prepare meals themselves (they stick to bulk items), they partner with Revolution Foods, an L.A. based group that creates nutritious meals including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat bread and meats with no added nitrates or nitrites.

Those meals get trucked up from L.A. every day and delivered to parks, community centers and affordable housing complexes throughout South and North Santa Barbara County.

Monday through Friday, kids 18 and under are invited to come with their parents, grab a free lunch and play games with volunteers.

Photo: Santa Barbara County Food Bank

The Food Bank also takes the opportunity to educate kids and their parents on healthy food choices, handing out recipe cards like this one.

Tomatoes and Peaches Heirloom Tomato, Peach, and Basil Summer Salad

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 2 heirloom tomatoes (any color), cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 ripe peaches, cored and thinly sliced
  • ¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup torn or julienned fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste

Combine the tomatoes, peaches and red onion in a bowl and toss with the basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper until evenly mixed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to two days. Substitute nectarines for peaches if you prefer smooth to fuzzy skin, or apple cider vinegar for balsamic vinegar for a milder taste. Add a sprinkle of creamy feta or goat cheese for cheese lovers, or pistachios for a sweet crunch.

Photo: Santa Barbara County Food Bank

To check out all our past farmers’ market guests, click here.