Community

Eat, drink, educate

Peninsula Local Food Chef Showoff to show importance of buying local.

The Kitsap Community and Agricultural Alliance, under a different name, hosted a harvest event last year at Olympic College and decided to do it again.

“We’ve never done one to this scale,” KCAA volunteer Jim Freeman said of this year’s event.

At least a dozen chefs and restaurants from Bainbridge Island to Gig Harbor will cook up their best dishes for the buffet-style dinner at the Peninsula Local Food Chef Showoff Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds President’s Hall.

All of the ingredients used, from the meats to the vegetables, will come from local farms.

“Most people are not able or don’t buy from local farmers. They buy it from the grocery stores,” Freeman said. “What we like to do is show people they can buy from local farmers.”

Freeman said there are 2,200 farmers in Kitsap County and thousands of acres of farmland, yet people still buy food from grocery stores. He said KCAA hopes the Peninsula Local Food Chef Showoff will educate and encourage people to buy locally.

“I want them to spend 1 percent of their annual food budget locally each year,” Freeman said. “Alright, make it 2 percent.”

Freeman said the average age of a Kitsap farmer is 56 and he hopes the harvest event will bring together old and young farmers.

“We need more production, we need more farmers,” he said.

The Peninsula Local Food Chef Showoff isn’t just a buffet dinner, but there will be educational presentations as well.

Keynote speakers include Nash Huber, the 2008 American Farmland Trust “Farmer of the Year” and owner of Nash’s Organic Produce in Sequim, and Kate Dean, co-founder of Mt. Townsend Creamery.

Huber and Dean will discuss the importance of and how to get young farmers involved in the business.

“They really need an audience,” Freeman said.

Huber manages more than 350 acres in the Dungeness River Valley on the Olympic Peninsula and uses the land to train young farmers in organic farming.

Dean coordinates the small farms program for Washington State University’s Jefferson County extension program and will discuss ways to connect young farmers with available farmland.

Freeman said KCAA hopes hundreds of people will attend the event.

“We think this is going to be a very productive night for a lot of people,” he said.

The Peninsula Local Food Chef Showoff is 4-10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the President’s Hall. Tickets cost $25 beforehand, $30 at the door and $40 for couples. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.localfoodchefshowoff.org.

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