By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation
Hungry? Join me for a virtual lunch at the University of the Pacific Café! I went there for Bon Appétit Management Company’s sixth annual Eat Local Challenge and it was an event worth experiencing – if only via your imagination. The best part about it? It’s not far off from lunch served there every other day of the school year.
First, let’s stop by the all-local salad bar. Grab what you want and remember to top your bowl off with strawberries, figs, and feta cheese. I recommend drizzling it with the creamy honey-goat cheese vinaigrette.
Next on deck, there are several entrée options. How about trying the seared Sacramento Sturgeon lettuce wraps with fresh Sausalito watercress? Or a Dixon lamb chop with Gypsy peppers, Zuckerman fingerling potatoes, and cremini mushrooms? I’m going for the vegan stir-fry with maitake mushrooms, Toybox squash, and Chinese eggplant.
The eggplant, by the way, is from Eric Fripo’s new farm. Eric just left a 20-year career in journalism to start Stockton Harvest, an urban farm and organic produce delivery business. Eric is a new Farm to Fork partner and is right here on campus, taking a break from setting up crop irrigation whilst selling heirloom tomatoes. Eric and a few other farmers come to the University of the Pacific every Wednesday to set up a farmers’ market right outside of the café.
Finally, we’ve arrived at my favorite part of the meal. You guessed it: dessert. There are flame-grilled De Palma Farms White and Yellow peaches with Nicolau Farms goat cheese, mint, and Marshall’s Farm Orange Blossom Honey. Chef Paul is preparing our treats right now. Flames are a’roaring, peaches a’grilling, and my mouth is a’drooling. Bon Appétit!
What a lunchtime experience. Oh, and before you leave, remember to say hello to the De Palma Farms family at their farmers’ market stand and ask them about their story. The De Palma family immigrated here from Bitritto-Bart, Italy in 1947 and is in its third generation of farming in Northern California.
Now off to class you go!