An idea that was first seeded five years ago came to full bloom last week.
Last Wednesday, Field to Fork was featured at the University of the Fraser Valley – an agricultural research showcase and tasting event that brought together growers, buyers, chefs, suppliers, students and researchers for collaboration and inspiration.
Poster boards lined the foyer of the Trades and Technology Centre, filled with a range of different research projects currently underway from throughout the Lower Mainland.
Research on various vegetable packagings, premium composts, all-season leeks, pests, field studies and more filled the afternoon’s conversation circles.
Of the field tests, two in particular, derived from the Fraser Valley Field Trials, included different potato varieties to sample, and carrots too, ranging from sweet to bitter, and from typical orange to eggplant purple with a strip of yellow in the middle.
“It’s pretty neat; I didn’t know there were different coloured carrots,” said UFV culinary student Janet Wilson, who hopes to one day own a restaurant of her own.
UFV’s culinary arts students provided the hors d’oeuvres for the event using products solely taken from local fields. They created carrot glazes, carrot sautés, carrot cookies, red carrot soup, fried potatoes, steamed potatoes, syrups, and more.
“Cooking is an art form,” said UFV chef and instructor Bruce Corbeil. “You need an imagination, and when we get things like this in, it gets students thinking outside the box, helps them build a repertoire of cooking.”
The Field to Fork showcase was an idea Renée Prasad, instructor in the agriculture department, had first had when she was still a student at Washington State University, a leader in university and community collaboration with its agriculture studies.
“I felt we needed more extension [at UFV], an event where growers can come and learn about the different research, a place for interaction between growers, chefs, buyers – the whole ag community,” said Prasad, overwhelmed by the turnout.
“Growers are here, buyers are here, chefs are here. Our target audience came.”
Next year organizers hope to make the event even larger.