Students Enjoy Dining Services' Annual Harvest Dinner

by Maroof Haque '15
Cider is served at the 2012 Harvest Dinner
Local food and drink, like apple cider from Linvilla Orchards in Media, Pa., is served at Swarthmore's annual Harvest Dinner.

Dining Services recently held its annual Fall Harvest Dinner in Sharples Dining Hall. The event celebrates the harvest season, local farms, and the interpersonal relationships between local vendors and the College community. In addition to supporting local businesses, eating local is more sustainable for the environment than eating food that travels great distances to reach campus.

"The dinner is a time to showcase all the different places we get our food," says Associate Director of Purchasing Janet Kassab, who serves as the main liaison between suppliers and the dining staff for the Harvest Dinner. 

Menu items came from a variety of local sources. The roasted chicken with herbs came from Moe's Country Chicken in Paterson, N.J., while the romaine lettuce was purchased from Zook Farm in Lancaster, Pa. Dinner items were also sourced from Cassaday, Muth, Cayuga, and Flaim farms based in New Jersey, as well as dairy ingredients from Wawa Dairies in Wawa, Pa. Dining Services also routinely uses eggs, from Sandy Ridge Farms in Shippensville, Pa., and apples, from Beechwood Orchards in Biglerville, Pa.

"The Harvest Dinner isn't the only the day we use local ingredients," Kassab says. "We stick to local ingredients in our recipes every day."

Because of their dedication to keeping Sharples meals made from local ingredients, the Dining Services staff thinks of the Harvest Dinner as a time to celebrate that commitment. They also hope to have a day where students can meet the farmers responsible for providing the produce in their meals. 

One highlight from the evening's menu included local organic tofu with ginger carrot puree and baby bok choy:

Ingredients:

  • Tofu
  • Orange juice
  • Brown sugar
  • Soy sauce
  • Fresh coriander
  • Crushed garlic
  • Grated fresh ginger
  • Oil
  • Baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise

Sauce:

  • Chopped carrots
  • Grated fresh ginger
  • Orange juice
  • Vegetable stock

Steps:

  1. Combine OJ, sugar, soy sauce, coriander, garlic, and ginger. Pour over sliced tofu, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Drain tofu reserving marinade. Pan fry tofu to caramelize.
  3. Bring marinade to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Steam bok choy until tender.
  5. Combine sauce ingredients in saucepan, bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes until carrots are tender. Blend in food processor until smooth.
  6. Place bok choy in 2-inch pan in a single layer. Lay tofu over top, drizzle with marinade and top with sauce.