Hoophouse Gala

September 12, 2010

Diane and I just got back from the annual Michigan State University Student Organic Farm Hoophouse Gala Dinner. The organic farm is a teaching and research effort at MSU that has been going for a little over a decade. They offer a certificate program that provides  people with no farming experience excellent training in methods of organic production. The hoophouse mentioned above is kind of a Michigan (well at least Northern) thing. It’s a plastic covered greenhouse that allows significant season extension for vegetable production. The Student Organic Farm is kind of second cousin to the Thornapple CSA, so it really is a party to hang out with the foodies for an evening.

The gala dinner has been possible in part due to leadership from Vennie Gore, the Assistant Vice President for Residential and Hospitality Services at MSU. Gore came to campus in 2007, and has been very supportive of programs that raise the profile of good quality, healthy food on campus. Chefs at the State Room in the MSU Kellogg Center plan and execute the dinner using all local, all Michigan ingredients, with the vegetables and pork being produced right on the Student Organic Farm. Residential and Hospitality Services is the key sponsor for the Gala dinner. Here’s the menu:

Appetizer

Wedge of Black Star Farms Raclette

By Chef Tom Stavischeck and Chef Matthew Wilson

Salad

Gathered MSU Student Organic Farm Greens

ByChef Patrick Merz and Chef Rajeev Patgaonkar

Fish

Tuscan-Poached Salmon

By Chef David Brown

Intermezzo

Michigan Peach Sorbet

By Chef Gerhard Steiner

Entrée

MSU Student Organic Farm Pasture-Raised Pork

By Chef Eric Batten, Chef Mike Clyne, Chef Brad Curlee, Chef Kurt Kwaitkowski and Chef Matthew Wilson

Sweet Potato Dauphinoise

By Chef Rob Trufant

Dessert

Michigan Bluberry Bread and Butter Pudding

By Chef Mike Clyne

MSU Student Organic Farm Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

By Chef Kurt Kwiatdowski

Alls I kin say is “Wow!”

O.K. maybe the salmon didn’t come from Michigan. And all right, there are no cows on the student organic farm so I’m not at all sure how Chef Kurt managed to make ice cream. MSU does have an organic dairy, but it’s down at the Kellogg Biological Station near Battle Creek. Maybe the students do have some organic bees that make organic honey. At any rate, I’m not going to pick nits after a dinner like that. I hope everyone will support the student organic farm by buying a ticket around this time next year.

Paul B. Thompson is the W.K. Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University


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