After a couple of years without an in-person experience, College of Western Idaho's (CWI) annual Farm to Fork dinner made a triumphant return to campus this year! Seventy people from across the College and around the Treasure Valley devoured a savory, five-course meal at the Nampa Campus Academic Building (NCAB) Friday, Sept. 23, to support CWI's Campus Garden.
The 2022 Farm to Fork dinner raised more than $4,000 for the garden, which provides CWI students access to fresh produce and supports agriculture coursework.
Hosted by Agricultural Sciences faculty and students, this year was the first year back in person after the COVID-19 pandemic forced CWI to think of other ways to host the dinner. In 2020, guests were given a box full of ingredients and prepared their meals at home through the help of how-to videos. In 2021, the College did not hold the event.
For Department Chair and Assistant Professor of Agricultural Sciences, Andrea Schumaker, seeing the return in-person meant so much because she believes one of the best ways to connect with one another is at the dinner table and sharing a meal.
"Food is about connection and the pleasures of the table," Schumaker said. "It was wonderful to watch people experience a completely local, five-course meal served to them by the many wonderful student, staff, and faculty volunteers who helped to make the evening such a success."
The night began with Schumaker leading guests, and volunteers on a tour of the Campus Garden located east of the NCAB parking lot. People were able to see where much of the night’s meal came from.
The meal kicked-off with grilled zucchini and salsa verde, all from the Campus Garden, prepared by Schumaker and folks from The Tower Grill. This course was paired with Rhubarb Honey Smash whiskey from Centerfire Distillery created by Craft Lounge. Following was a plate of stuffed peppers from the Garden made with pork belly and cheese from the garden, McIntyre Pastures, and Eden Creamery. This was paired with Chicken Dinner Red Wine from Huston Vineyards.
A warm and tasty soup followed made from a variety of squashes from the Garden, prepared by The Tower Grill and sourdough bread from Hudson Bakery Co. paired with Mother Earth Brewing Company's Tierra Madre beer. The main course was delicious pork tacos from McIntyre Pastures with fermented salsa from the Garden, cheese from Eden Creamery, and tortillas from Rodriguez Bakery paired with the Tierra Madre beer from Mother Earth.
Guests then wrapped up their meal with a sweet treat — blackberry mint ice cream from Stella’s Ice Cream, made with blackberries from the Garden. Several also enjoyed pairing their dessert with blackberry fig Idaho Kombucha.
"It was so fun to watch our industry partners connect with our guests and learn more about their connection to the Treasure Valley and now to further support them. In some cases, folks show up as strangers but leave feeling connected and as friends."
Thank you to all who made this year's event a success!