Eat Local Challenge 2012: You Really Expect Me To Eat That?

For Bon Appétit Management Company’s 7th Annual Eat Local Challenge, the Oracle Team in Reston, VA spent days preparing an exciting menu featuring 28 local farms and artisans.

Executive Chef Jason Stone and General Manager Cheyenne Luck enjoy a breather after a very busy Eat Local Challenge! Watermelon is from Lois Produce in Montross, VA

Some menu items included herb roasted chicken (with chicken from Legacy Manor Farm in Boonsboro, MD, and basil from Ploch Farms in Vineland, NJ), butternut squash bisque (with squash from Richardson Farms in Mount Airy, MD), and my personal favorite, a house-made apple pie using pastry flour from Wades Mill (Raphine, VA), cream and butter from South Mountain Creamery (Middletown, MD) and apples from Colora Orchards (Colora, MD).
But despite the hours of preparation that went into chopping, kneading, and cooking their local menu into a reality, the food item that received the most attention last Tuesday was never touched by a chef’s hand at all: the kiwi berry.
Driven in the day before from the Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative in Hustontown, PA, the unassuming group of kiwi berries were placed in the salad bar, where they received many a skeptical look from café guests. One person went so far as to say “it reminds me of something you would find a squirrel rolling around on the ground and playing with.”

Not exactly an appetizing description. But as the adage goes, looks can be deceiving — and in fact, once our guests gave the kiwi berry a try, many came back for a second, and even a third helping. Typical responses included: “That’s incredible!” and “Where can I buy these??”

Congratulations to the Oracle Team for your great support of local food!