Inaugural Farm to Table event at UMC attracts a sold-out audience

    Northern Minnesota-grown food and drink were celebrated at Friday’s inaugural Farm to Table dinner at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The sold-out event attracted a crowd of approximately 190 people, who began their evening in the University Teaching and Outreach Center (UTOC), where they sampled beverages supplied by Revelation Ale Works and Far North Spirits, both of Hallock. In the UTOC arena, meanwhile, members of the UMC Equestrian Team performed a horse-jumping exhibition.

    Then everyone ventured to Bede Ballroom in Sargeant Student Center to enjoy a five-course meal featuring foods grown by UMC students, alumni and friends, including Protein Alliance, a global meat brokerage and trading company located in central Minnesota owned by UMC alumni Jeff Stauffenecker and Carl Wittenburg. The meal featured a Minnesota twist on “Ceviche” with pan-seared walleye as its focal point. That was followed by “Fall’s Harvest” salad, entrees of Beef Bourguignon and Buttermilk-Brined Turkey Breast, and a Blackberry-Rhubarb Crisp Tart for dessert. The person behind the feast was Executive Chef Shane Halvorson of UMC Dining Services/Sodexo, and the team of student and staff servers was led by Ned Price, Dining Services/Sodexo manager at UMC.

    Much of the food came directly from the Crookston campus. UMC senior Caleb Rempel and Rick Abrahamson, lecturer in horticulture, grew vegetables and sunflowers especially for the Farm to Table event and homegrown, grain-fed Angus beef raised locally by UMC students, faculty and staff was included on the menu.

    And through it all, guests enjoyed a trio of wines from Fantesca Estate & Winery, a Napa Valley, California wine company owned by University of Minnesota alumni Duane and Susan Hoff. Duane is the son of longtime Crookston residents and UMC faculty Dave and Irene Hoff. As everyone tried the wine, Duane was on hand to describe it and tell its story. Wines served included Fantesca’s Chardonnay, King Richard’s Reserve Pinot Noir, and All Great Things “Hope” red blend.

    Also sharing the microphone with Hoff was UMC Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause, several UMC students from a variety of backgrounds who told their stories and shared what UMC means to them, and UMC Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs John Hoffman, who led a champagne toast to conclude the evening.