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Columbia Farm to Table Festival brings farmers, chefs together

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 | 7:44 p.m. CDT; updated 8:58 a.m. CDT, Thursday, June 10, 2010

COLUMBIA – Columbia's first Farm to Table Festival aims to feed farmers, chefs and hungry people the facts about how food gets from the fields to mouths.

Through hands-on workshops and presentations from local, regional and national chefs, people will learn not just who prepares their food, but who raises it.

If you go

Full participant festival access: $300

  • Includes all seminars, market stroll, lunches and evening receptions on both Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday:

  • Full day seminar with lunch and evening reception: $175
  • Full day seminar with lunch: $100
  • Morning seminar and lunch: $75
  • Afternoon seminar and lunch: $75
  • Afternoon seminar and evening reception: $100
  • Evening reception: $95
  • Market stroll: $10

Sunday:

  • Full day seminar with lunch and evening reception: $150
  • Full day seminar with lunch: $100
  • Morning seminar and lunch: $75
  • Afternoon seminar and lunch: $75
  • Afternoon Seminar and evening reception: $95
  • Evening reception: $75
  • Market stroll: $10

Student full festival access: $150

  • Includes all seminars, market stroll, lunches and evening receptions on both Saturday and Sunday.

Student Saturday selections

  • Full day seminar with lunch and evening reception: $87.50
  • Full day seminar with lunch: $50
  • Morning seminar and lunch: $37.50
  • Afternoon seminar and lunch: $37.50
  • Afternoon seminar and evening reception: $50
  • Evening reception: $47.50
  • Market stroll: $10

Student Sunday Selections

  •  Full day seminar with lunch and evening reception: $75
  •  Full day seminar with lunch: $50
  •  Morning seminar and lunch: $37.50
  •  Afternoon seminar and lunch: $37.50
  •  Afternoon seminar and evening reception: $47.50
  • Evening reception: $37.50

Information from Farm to Table Festival



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"We eat too much fast food, processed food, food that is flown in from all over," said Daniel Pliska, festival organizer and executive chef for the University Club of MU. "I think that's fine, but there needs to be a balance." 

The festival will be from 9 a.m. t0 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Donald W. Reynolds Alumni & Visitor Center at MU.

The main goal of the weekend is to bring chefs together with farmers, said festival organizer John LaRocca, general manager of the University Club.

"I think everybody wants to do the right thing and purchase locally, sustainably and fresh, but there are obstacles," LaRocca said.

It can be simple for individuals to buy local, LaRocca said, but when it comes to someone who owns a restaurant and caters large events, obtaining a large amount of local food is difficult unless he or she has the right contacts.

"If you know it's local, if you know the farmer, if you know where the farmer is, it's a better chance that it's a fresh product, a nutritional product," LaRocca said.

The festival is not just for professional chefs and farmers. Anyone can attend and learn how to become a little more of a culinary expert. The weekend has a variety of events including cooking demonstrations, recipe sharing, worm composting and tutorials on rain barrels.

An open market with more than 30 farmers' produce and an educational stage will also be running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The cost for the market stroll is $10.

Pliska and LaRocca said one of the highlights will be a chance to meet and taste the cooking of nationally known chefs Walter Scheib and Ann Cooper. Both chefs will be available for book signings during the evening receptions.

Scheib was the executive chef at the White House from 1994 to 2005. He will be speaking at a special lunch both days and will host two hands-on cooking sessions where he will take volunteers from the audience.

Cooper, known as the "Renegade Lunch Lady," will host a seminar on the types of food that children are served in schools and how those meals are slowly moving from processed, packaged food to more natural offerings. She will offer tips and ideas on how to improve children's nutrition on a budget.

While plenty of educational opportunities will be available, LaRocca and Pliska agree the best thing about the festival is, of course, the food.

"There's great food and local beers and wine all weekend long," LaRocca said. "You can't beat that."

The festival is sponsored by the University Club of MU, University Catering & Event Services and the central Missouri chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

LaRocca said about three-fourths of the proceeds will go to the Columbia Farmers' Market pavilion fund and toward an American Culinary Federation scholarship.

Those wishing to attend can register online or mail a participation form to Farm to Table Festival 2010, MU Conference Office, 344 Hearnes Center, Columbia, MO 65211.


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