To any Gallaudet University students walking into the Bon Appétit café on Tuesday Sept. 27, it seemed like a transformation had occurred. The normally wood-colored tables were decked out in blue and red checkered picnic-style cloth, and the entire café staff had donned blue jeans and farmers hats.
It was Eat Local Challenge Day, and the point was to celebrate local, farm-fresh food. Students scattered themselves at different stations throughout the café in honor of the event. One group hosted a Taste Test, challenging their peers to guess which tomato was local (picked fresh that day from the Gallaudet Community Garden) and which was conventional (from California). Green Gallaudet, the on-campus environmental group, spoke with passers-by about the impacts our food choices have on the environment (did you know that by eating one less hamburger a week, you can significantly decrease your carbon footprint?) Other stations included face painting, drawing, and my personal favorite: bobbing for apples. Students stood in line for the chance to boldly dunk their heads into cold water and fish for local apples from New Morning Farm (Hustontown, PA) for the cheering crowds around them.
Central to all the evening festivities, was, of course, local food. The Gallaudet café went 100% local for their dinner, featuring such items as spaghetti squash with tomatoes (squash from Tuscarora Organic Growers Coop in Hustontown, PA, and tomatoes from the Gallaudet Community Garden), and a local cheese display, with feta, Havarti, mozzarella, and Colby goat cheese from Lancaster Farm Coop (Leola, PA), and Hope Springs Farm (East Earl, PA).
Even the soda machines were covered up for the evening, and house-made apple cider (with apples from Kauffman’s Fruit Farm in Bird in Hand, PA) was served in its place. The chicken from Legacy Manor Farm was a particular hit, with one student commenting that it reminded her of home.
To see more photos of the Gallaudet Eat Local Challenge, check out Gallaudet’s Facebook page.