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
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.
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.
This is the interior of the refurbished barn where the farm-totable dinner will take place.
The barn at Katt and Mathy Farm has been converted into an entertainment venue.