Story by Bella Utley, Contributing writer
Winslow Dining Hall hosted its second annual Harvest Dinner featuring local foods Sept. 7 where students were able to have a meal with homegrown ingredients, featuring dishes such as Vesuvio potatoes and panzanella salad.
Emily Asher, manager of data and communications with dining services, said since the Harvest Dinner was such a success last year, Dining Services wanted to make it an annual event for the university community.
“The local farms and businesses were proud to be a part of the dinner, as it gives them acknowledgement and appreciation for what they provide,” Asher said.
Paula Amols, director of Dining Services, said since joining the Kentucky Farm to Campus program, it has been difficult.
“It has proven to be very challenging to find Kentucky and other local/regional suppliers who can provide us with the volume of meat and produce we need on a continuing basis at prices that will fit within financial model, and who will deliver this far west,” Amols said.
Factoring in the budget, proximity of resources and volume, Dining Services decided to combine all of the local and organic produce into one meal, Amols said.
Amols said the dining team comes up with the recipes, with the guidance of Executive Chef Tim Bruce and Chef de Cuisine Nick Buckingham.
Local businesses such as Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, Harris Farms, Wurth Farms, Benton Bottoms Bison and Magney Legacy Ridge Farms were involved in the dinner.
Amols said preparations for the meal began early in the summer, so that produce such as strawberries and corn wouldn’t spoil.
“Some menu items weren’t finalized until just a week or two before the dinner, when we knew what other produce would be available,” Amols said.
Emma Rodgers, freshman from Verona, Kentucky, said she liked that the food was all locally grown and wants to see this happen again.
Rodgers said that if anything could change, she would like more stations to get food because the massive crowd caused long lines.
Karina Weaver, freshman from Louisville, Kentucky, said she enjoyed the meal and agrees that Dining Services should run programs like this more often. She said she especially enjoyed the meatballs and cannoli.
Asher said there was a lot of hard work that went into this event, but it was well worth it.