What's cookin'? Fresh produce!

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The Walla Walla Valley Farmers Market is taking a hands-on approach to cooking with fresh seasonal produce.

A series of cooking classes using local items begins this weekend and will run every other Saturday through the duration of the market, said Manager Beth-Aimee McGuire.

The classes take place across the street from the market at Someone's in the Kitchen, 132 W. Rose St. The three-hour classes begin at 9 a.m. and cost $30 per person. Participants meet in front of Someone's in the Kitchen and will trek to the market to pick up a variety of seasonal ingredients.

For Saturday's kickoff, participants will tour the market, meet one of the local farmers and pick up some produce.

Participants can sign up via email -- sitkwallawalla@mac.com; telephone -- 240-6388; or in person at The Green Spoon, 13 E. Main St.

Featured produce throughout the series will change for each class. For this weekend, it's zucchini, cabbage, greens and rhubarb.

On the produce menu for the rest of the classes: Aug. 13 -- cucumbers, green beans, fresh herbs, raspberries; Aug. 27 -- corn, tomatoes, peppers, peaches; Sept. 10 -- eggplant, cauliflower, plums; Sept. 24 -- tomatillos, radish, carrots, blackberries; Oct. 8 -- leeks, potatoes, beets, melon; Oct. 22 -- winter squash, winter Walla Walla Sweets, spinach, apples.

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The Power House Theatre isn't the only venue getting a makeover for the works of William Shakespeare.

Renovation at the 120-year-old former gas plant/powerhouse at Sixth Avenue and Rose Street continues to take place as Walla Walla becomes a year-round destination for The Bard's works, as well as performances from other organizations.

But some work is also being done at the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater to make way for the "Shakespeare Walla Walla Summer Festival."

The stage at the outdoor theater has been redesigned for two upcoming Shakespeare performances in August. The two-week run will feature "Macbeth" and "The Comedy of Errors" on what is known as a "thrust" stage.

That means the pit will be removed and seating will be available on three sides. Shakespeare Walla Walla operators say the change gives the audience more intimate contact with the performers.

According to an announcement from the operation, screening will also be set up on the sides to reduce the amount of seating on the edges. "It's all about experiencing Shakespeare as the playwright intended," said Denise Slattery, director of marketing for the Power House Theatre.

The performances run Aug. 3-14. For more details visit www.shakespearewallawalla.org or call 742-0739.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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