When Campus House opens its doors to the SUNY Buffalo State community on Friday, October 18, for its fourth annual Harvest Dinner, diners can expect an array of scrumptious dishes made from food grown right here in Western New York.
For instance, the ingredients in the harvest minestrone soup, the butternut squash and farro salad, and the pan-fried heritage pork chop come from two local farms.
“One of our students’ family owns High Hill Farm, and that’s where we’re getting the chicken for the dinner,” said Krista Constantino, guest services manager at Campus House. “We’re excited that we can feature that.”
The idea behind the harvest dinner is to feature an assortment of food that originates within 60 miles of the campus.
“We realize it’s important to educate students and campus community members about the importance of eating from farm to table,” Constantino said.
According to chefs surveyed by the National Restaurant Association, local food sourcing and doing more “whole animal cooking” ranks at the top of the list of 2013 culinary trends, as it did in 2012. The movement has gained traction as more consumers are becoming educated about the quality of the foods they eat and more concerned about the environment. When food isn’t trucked halfway across the country, our carbon footprint, obviously, is reduced.
However, Buffalo State has been using locally grown meat and produce for years.
“We discussed this as one of our missions 10 years ago,” said Stephen Burgeson, a chef who teaches in the Hospitality and Tourism Department and oversees students in the Campus House kitchen.
Campus House gets some of its food from Guercio’s market on Grant Street, Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market, and Wegmans year-round. Along with Campus Dining Services and the Caudell food labs, Campus House recently began participating in a compositing program through the Community Action Organization of Erie County.
“We are trying to be as green and sustainable as we can be,” Constantino said.
While a number of upscale, independent restaurants in Buffalo feature locally grown food, it isn’t widespread. Burgeson predicts with more education—and this includes teaching students who are heading into careers in the hospitality and tourism industry—it will be. Burgeson regularly takes his students to places such as Becker Farms where they can see grass-fed cattle and juicy heritage tomatoes and then recognize the difference from the mass-produced variety.
Faculty and staff who not only want to see but taste the best in local food have the opportunity during the October 18 harvest dinner, which runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with time for networking beforehand. The menu includes soup, salads, appetizers, three main courses, and desserts a la carte.
To make a reservation, call (716) 878-3300.