It has been a wonderful whirlwind weekend, enjoying so many things with my good friend and colleague, Barb. She arrived Friday afternoon and after a quick tour of the house and grounds we hurried to the 3rd annual Harvest Challenge at our town's middle school/high school.
(Immediately upon entering and spying the library I was overcome by an urge to call and volunteer myself to the librarian. I guess I miss it more than I let myself think.)
We were escorted to the registration table by a diminutive middle schooler named Garret, no bigger than a minute and hair sprayed bright orange red. Cute as could be. After paying our entry fee we first watched the world premier screening of a documentary film titled Chefs Move to Schools introducing our local Farm to School program.
Under the direction of Monique Hooker, the schools in Vernon county have developed a curriculum that pairs the ideas of growing and eating in the school setting. To focus community attention on this remarkable initiative, the local high schools began a friendly competition.
Our meal for this year's event was prepared by 5 participating schools:
Viroqua High School: creamy chicken rotini, vegetable medley, fruit pizza
Youth Initiative High School: Thai peanut pizza, fall spinach salad, sauteed apples with cinnamon
La Farge High School: wildcat willy chili, savory harvest bread, purple pride apple salad
De Soto High School: pirate pork easy wrap, garden mac and cheese, pineapple slaw
North Crawford High School: zucchini casserole, fruit salad, pumpkin carrot swirl bars
Each school's student team, under the direction of a staff mentor and a chef mentor, planned and prepared the meals with strict culinary guidelines and a tight budget. We tasted samples of all these, served on small plates, but displayed on school trays as the students would get in the lunch lines of their school cafeteria. Each paid attendee and a judging panel of 7 were given one vote to cast. I did cast my vote, but Barb couldn't decide which should be first and declined voting.
I have not as yet heard which school's team won the challenge but will post the result when I hear it. Congratulations to all. I already look forward to Challenge 2012.