Oberlin Team Puts Together Local-Food Feast in Ohio — in March!

By Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation

DSC08675 Every year around February I begin impatiently anticipating the time when DC Farmers Markets will fill up with produce again, and I’ll receive that wonderful email announcing the start up of my CSA after its winter hiatus. As of May, the waiting was over—I’m finally getting to enjoy so many fresh, local greens (which are plentifully in season right now!) that I don’t want to look at another leafy anything for quite a while… That said, I’m relishing the moment, and even if I do envy those spoiled Californians for getting to enjoy fresh, local produce year-round, I’m grateful at least that I don’t live any farther north!

I was reminded of the challenges that our neighbors in colder parts of the country experience when it comes to eating locally during a March event the Bon Appétit team at Oberlin College (in Ohio—read: cold!) helped put on. In the fall, a group of student-activists and I had started coordinating Oberlin’s first-ever Food Week to raise awareness about problems in our current food system and create a space for different activists to network and come to new solutions. To kick off the week, the students asked Bon Appétit to host a Local Foods Banquet.

Let me repeat: they wanted to have a local foods banquet. In Ohio. In March.

DSC08671 Needless to say, this was no small feat to pull off—but our chefs did it!

They began by calling our Farm to Fork partners in the area to see what would be available then. We also extended an invitation to the farmers to attend the banquet so that students and community members could not only eat local food, but actually meet the producers of that food and learn about their challenges and successes as small, local farmers and business(wo)men.  

Left: Food Week Student Coordinators Julia Munson and Erin Swenson-Klatt with Farm to Fork Partner Roger Miller of Miller’s Farms.

The final menu featured local foods from 12 different producers. Some highlights included local free-range turkey from Bowman & Landes (read more about them here), cornmeal and flour from an Amish farm in the area (Stutzman Farm), and mesclun mix and radishes from right on campus, where Sous Chef Chris Brunst has started his own garden. (See below for full menu!)

My personal favorite was the peach clafouti, and not just because I have a sweet tooth. It was so mouthwateringly delicious!



Smoked Tofu on toast point with pickled cucumber and garlic

  • Tofu from Cleveland Tofu, Cleveland, OH

Bacon Swiss chard and tomato consommé on toast point

  • Bacon from Blackbird Hog Farm, Pierpont, OH
  • Swiss Cheese from Great Lakes Cheese, Hiram, OH

Curried turkey cabbage rolls with tomato jam

  • Turkey from Bowman & Landes, New Carlisle, OH


Cucumber Ice Water

Rolls and Butter

Mesclun salad w/ Radish, Cucumber, and Cider Vinaigrette

Chicken Breast with broccoli rabe, asparagus, mozzarella, and polenta cake

[Vegan option] Grilled Tofu with broccoli rabe, asparagus, mozzarella, and polenta cake

  • Cucumber from R.O. Apelt Farms, Grafton, OH
  • Butter from Hartzler’s Dairy, Wooster, OH
  • Mesclun mix and radishes from Sous Chef Chris Brunst’s on-campus garden, Oberlin, OH
  • Vinegar from Woebers, Spingfield, OH
  • Chicken from Gerber’s Chicken, Kidron, OH
  • Mozzarella from Great Lakes Cheese, Hiram, OH
  • Corn meal from Stutzman Farm, Holmes county, OH
  • Tofu from Cleveland Tofu, Cleveland, OH


Peach clafouti with basil anglaise

  • Peaches (grown and frozen in season by Miller’s Farm, Amherst, OH
  • Basil from Chris’s garden, Oberlin, OH
  • Flour from Stutzman Farm, Holmes County, OH
  • Coffee roasted locally by Crooked River, Cleveland, OH

Students enjoy food from our Farm to Fork partners at Oberlin's Local Foods Banquet.