Monday, June 18, 2012

The Three State Organic Training Has Begun


With funding from Southern SARE obtained by Tuskegee University, we have embarked on the advanced organic training for agricultural educators from North Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas.  The beginning level training last year was organized by Leonard Githnji at Tuskegee and held in Alabama. I organized this advanced level training for the Asheville, NC area.  Many of the participants arrived late this afternoon, so we started our training with an introductory session and wonderful dinner at Posana Cafe in Asheville.

I have been planning this training for months and had all my farm visits and restaurants lined up way in advance, when last Saturday the restaurant that was supposed to serve us tonight backed out with the stupid excuse of "I didn't realize it was Father's Day." I put a desperate plea out on Facebook and one of the farms we are going to visit suggested I try Posana. I sent them an email Saturday night, and Chef Peter got right back with me. Even though our budget was quite limited, he was enthusiastic about working with us.  Thank you, Peter!

Thirty-two of us arrived tonight at 6 pm and you can see what a beautiful room they had us in. The service was wonderful, the setting attractive and comfortable, and the entire experience was perfectly delightful. The chef put together a special menu just for our group with about 85% of the food coming from local farmers!
The presentation of the food was beautiful and all the dishes were delicious.  I had the Sunny Creek Farms Bibb Salad with tender lettuce and the thinnest slices of crunchy big radishes. My entree was the Sunburst Farms Trout with the best cheddar grits I've ever had, sweet roasted cauliflower, and a delightful tomato butter. But the dish that made the whole group go "ahhhhh!" was the pecan chiffon cake with peach mousse. Oh my. It was light as a cloud, subtly flavored, and lightly sweetened. It was the best cake I can ever remember having.

Chef Peter gave a short presentation to our group, explaining how he sources from local farmers, the challenges and opportunities of buying local, and the relationships he's built. The group had lots of questions which he most graciously answered. 

All in all, it was a wonderful way to start our training and I am excited about the upcoming two days. And, I will be making plans for my husband and I to return soon to Posana's for dinner!

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