School’s PTO will host a farm-to-ta­ble fundraiser

Folks at Avon Grove Char­ter School are host­ing a din­ner to con­sume what’s grown on cam­pus

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Chris Barber cbar­ber@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com

It’s a fundraiser to sup­port the con­tin­ued op­er­a­tion of the project that en­gages the stu­dents in car­ing for an­i­mals, rais­ing crops and main­tain­ing the farm. Ad­di­tional funds raised at the din­ner will go to the STEM and arts pro­grams.

LON­DON GROVE >> In the spirit of the leg­end that true love and home­grown toma­toes are the only two things that money can’t buy, the folks at the Avon Grove Char­ter School are host­ing a din­ner to con­sume what’s grown on cam­pus. That way, friends and par­ents can taste what comes from the heart of the school.

There is one caveat to that love-and-tomato leg­end, how­ever, and that is the din­ners are $50 apiece. It’s a fundraiser to sup­port the con­tin­ued op­er­a­tion of the project that en­gages the stu­dents in car­ing for an­i­mals, rais­ing crops and main­tain­ing the farm that is over­seen by man­ager Bill “Mr. Bill” Aff. Ad­di­tional funds raised at the din­ner will go to the STEM and arts pro­grams.

The event will take place on Oct. 15 at the el­e­gantly ap­pointed barn at Katt and Mathy Farm in Cochranville. Much of the food comes from the agri­cul­ture that takes place on the char­ter school prop­erty, but to round out the menu and pro­vide ex­tra vol­ume, there will be beef and ad­di­tional veg­eta­bles from nearby farms.

“Ideally it would come from the school,” said science teacher Bon­nie Dick­son, who is help­ing co­or­di­nate the PTO-spon­sored event.

The menu will of­fer guests quite a va­ri­ety of foods, she said. It in­cludes eggs from the school’s chick­ens, pesto from school-pro­duced basil and gar­lic, roasted corn salsa, quiche, egg­plant parme­san with toma­toes, squash, a spinach dish and jas­mine rice and a dessert made rich with honey from the farm’s bees — just to name a few.

It will all be pre­pared ahead of time and then re­heated by

Tim Smith, the chef of Twelves restau­rant of West Grove.

To add to the charm, the room, which is fre­quently used for wed­dings and other par­ties, will be dec­o­rated with twin­kling white lights and stu­dent art.

There will also be an ad­di­tional fea­ture called the “wine pull.” This is how it works: mem­bers of the com­mu­nity con­trib­ute bot­tles of wine which are placed in pa­per bags and topped with rib­bons and la­belled only “white” or “red.” When the guests ar­rive they pay $10 and choose ei­ther a white rib­boned or red rib­boned bag. It’s a pleasant gam­ble whether they get the finest cham­pagne or the most eco­nom­i­cal bot­tle.

Guests also have the op­tion of bring­ing their own bot­tle.

Inas­much as there is al­co­hol in­volved, the ban­quet is adults-only, but there will be an art-project/chil­dren’s meal/movie down­stairs for a $25 fee for chil­dren 8 to 13 years old.

“Farm to ta­ble” is the con­cept of pur­chas­ing lo­cally grown food di­rectly from the source, which in this case is the school and lo­cal farms. The term comes from the idea that the less time and fewer hands it takes for the food to get from the farm to the ta­ble, the fresher and more en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive and com­mu­nity minded it is, ac­cord­ing to the event’s in­for­ma­tion flier.

Avon Grove Char­ter School op­er­ates a mi­cro­farm in its back field that in­cludes goats and sheep, while in its green­house it pro­duces plants and ti­lapia. Dick­son said there will be no ti­lapia served at the din­ner. The farm is run mostly by mid­dle school stu­dents on the “Green Team” un­der the di­rec­tion of Aff.

Co­or­di­nat­ing the din­ner with Dick­son are teacher Ali­son Hahs and par­ent Theresa Zunino-McFalls.

CHRIS BARBER — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

In this file photo, Farm Man­ager Bill Aff dis­plays herbs and veg­eta­bles grow­ing in a hy­dro­ponic tank nour­ished by the wa­ter en­vi­ron­ment in­hab­ited by ti­lapia.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

This is the in­te­rior of the re­fur­bished barn where the farm-totable din­ner will take place.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The barn at Katt and Mathy Farm has been con­verted into an en­ter­tain­ment venue.

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