The Spence Farm Foundation has hosted three Chef Camp 2-day programs, which have focused on sustainability education. What are some of the benefits of this camp? Some chefs purchase enormous amounts of specialty products from growers in Central Illinois. In an effort to see that trend continue, we are educating chefs about sustainability, what that means economically, socially and environmentally for small-scale farming, and how purchasing locally-sourced sustainably produced products helps support economic opportunity for these farms. These chefs become educated about sustainably produced products, see the value of purchasing these products and experience the time and effort put into bringing these foods from farm to table first hand. They talk with farmers and begin to appreciate the passion these growers have for producing healthy food. Long lasting relationships begin, to the benefit of the chefs and to the farmers.
Chefs from a variety of restaurants and several students from Kendall College (culinary school) have attended. The campers participate in exciting farm to table cooking opportunities, where they harvest and create dishes from in-season produce and locally sourced products. They go out in the fields and “get their hands dirty” harvesting and work collaboratively to make meals for this two day adventure. Other workshop topics at the camp have included: beekeeping, soil health, eggs, organic meats, and asian vegetable production all with an emphasis on sustainability: economic, social and environmental.
Our featured image is a peek in on the “meat test” where campers try six sirloin steaks from six different farms or local stores and see (and taste) the differences in texture, flavor and quality. We look forward to the next two camps in 2013.