Harvest dinner showcases CPP agriculture

By Julian Mitchell

The Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture hosted the third annual Spring Harvest Farm to Table Dinner Event Saturday, celebrating California agriculture industries as well as California food products.

The event was inspired by the fact that California is lucky enough to have not only the traditional fall harvest, but also another harvest in spring.

The event featured two agriculture award recipients, as well as _ÀåÂ_Äve student speakers, all of whom are _ÀåÂ_Ärst-generation college students.

“I’m overwhelmed with the treasure that is Cal Poly Pomona,” said executive chef of Chase’s in La Verne, Christopher Gendreau, remarking on CPP’s rich farmland. “Let it never turn into condos or industry.”

The event was hosted at AGRIscapes, the section of the school that is home to the Farm Store and pumpkin patch.

Most of the produce and meat products served throughout the dinner were provided by CPP’s farms and pastures.

CPP students not only farmed the produce provided for the meal, they also were responsible for the growing and cultivation of much of the decorative _Àå‰Û_owers that donned the lush _ÀåÂ_Äeld housing the evening’s guests.

“They’re labor is our bounty this evening,” said University President Soraya M. Coley.

One of the key themes of the night was the emphasis on the work that agriculture does for our state and how the College of Agriculture provides students the opportunities to work in the industry, often times learning by doing.

Cesar Diaz, a fourth-year animal and veterinary sciences student, said that one of his biggest benefits is being to work with actual animals and amongst professors who have worked in the industry.

Diaz is looking forward to attending veterinary school this fall at the Royal Veterinary College in London.

“The College of Agriculture has helped in bridging the gap between the real world and the textbook,” said Braden Garner, a fourth-year agribusiness and food industry management student.

Each of the _ÀåÂ_Äve student speakers provided vivid details of the actual work they have been able to do while being members of the college.

In addition, each student also speci_ÀåÂ_Äcally thanked the professors who guided them through this work.

“Our department allows students to know professors one on one,” commented Jennifer Hernandez, a fourth-year apparel merchandising and management student, during her speech.

Hernandez said her road to college was “not common.”

Being a mother of four and 21 years removed from high school, she said during her speech that she faced many fears while attending CPP.

“Fear is what will stop you from ful_ÀåÂ_Älling your dreams,” said Hernandez as she wrapped up.

The event was also a night for honoring two members of the agricultural industry and community, A.G. Kawamura and George Soares, with the Jim Hicks Agricultural Achievement Award for their contributions to the industry.

Kawamura hails from Orange County and is a grower and shipper, in addition to being the secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 2003 to 2010.

He also is the co-chair of Solutions from the Land, a non-pro_ÀåÂ_Ät organization looking for sustainable developments in the agriculture industries.

Soares is a lawyer, receiving the highest peer rating AV-Preeminent status.

He has helped to create vital legislation that benefits the California agriculture industry, such as the largest tax relief program in California agriculture history.

The menu for the night’s festivities was put together by three local chefs: Gendreau, a former CPP student; Travis Flood, executive chef at Pappas Artisanal in La Verne; and Arnold Zavalza, executive chef of the Los Olivos dining complex and CPP Foundation Services.

The menu included a salad course, pasta course, main course and dessert, all specially prepared and selected by the chefs, along with a beer and wine pairing for each course.

The harvest dinner was prepared mainly with produce from the CPP campus.

Albert Muro / The Poly Post

The harvest dinner was prepared mainly with produce from the CPP campus.

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