The reason Allegheny College’s annual DeHart Local Foods Dinner is wildly popular is simple.
“It’s really, really delicious,” Kelly Boulton, Allegheny’s sustainability coordinator, said with a laugh.
This year’s dinner, the 15th, will be held Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 6:30 p.m. in Schultz Banquet Hall and promises to be no different, with a mouthwatering menu featuring vegetables, proteins, dairy, fruit and other products from local farms and produce grown in Allegheny’s Carr Hall Garden.
Tickets will be sold from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, and Tuesday, Oct. 2, in both the Henderson Campus Center and Brooks Hall. The cost of each ticket is $15 cash, one Allegheny dining plan meal swipe or $9 Munch/Gator Cash. The 2016 event sold out in four hours.
Diners will have the chance to enjoy pork sausage from Pine Run Farm in Conneautville and a kale salad with dried strawberries from the Carr Hall Garden and Asian pears from Heagy’s Orchard in Meadville, among other treats. The Edible Allegheny student group will make an apple crisp with fresh apples from Davenport Fruit Farm in Meadville.
“It’s an opportunity for students which they don’t get very often, to have a meal that is sourced entirely locally,” Boulton said. “It’s exciting for students to try different kinds of (foods), to know they were grown locally, and to sit at a table with the farmers. The meal is delicious, it’s unique, and it’s exposing students to new things.”
The DeHart Farmers Market, featuring local food vendors, flowers, handmade products, baked goods and live music by Salmon Frank, will precede the dinner, starting at 4 p.m. on Brooks Walk.
The dinner and market are named in honor of the late Jennifer DeHart, who taught in Allegheny’s environmental science program and was integral in the revival of Meadville’s local foods movement and the reinvigoration of the weekly downtown farmers markets at the Market House. She introduced the first local foods dinners on campus to annually showcase what she called “the bounty of Crawford County.” DeHart died in 2010 after a five-year battle with cancer.