Thomas Haney Secondary chef Brian Smith and his students have been flavouring plums with basil - and they plan to serve them frozen into a popsicles.
This is just one creation being made by THSS students - and they will be served up with other goodies made by students from Maple Ridge and Garibaldi secondary schools, Big Feast Bistro, Chameleon Cafe, Concierto's, Cheesecrafters, and Hopcotts - all at Golden Harvest: A Taste of Maple Ridge and Beyond next Friday at The ACT.
This is the fifth year for the foodie event that highlights and features locally grown, produced, and cooked food. It's put on by the District of Maple Ridge, the Haney Farmers Market, the Agricultural Advisory Committee, and the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows
Agricultural Association that runs Country Fest. Smith and his students will serve their creations - which include raspberry-cream popsicles and spring rolls. Smith hopes his students get a "reallife" experience of serving the public as they learn about locally sourced food and the importance of supporting local producers.
In addition to food from local restaurants and the three high schools, there will be information and sample booths from local vendors and organizations.
The purpose is to highlight local food and everything served at Golden Harvest will be local - not all from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, but from a short radius.
Grade 10 Thomas Haney student Makenna Bradford is currently taking Cooks Training 11 under chef Smith, and said it's making her a better cook, but it has also highlighted food that is grown close to home.
"I know it's good to support local businesses," Makenna said. "I know it's better to eat locally."
Smith said he likes his culinary students to be involved so they understand where their food comes from and how farmers earn their livelihood producing food.
In addition to Smith and his crew from Thomas Haney Secondary, chef Daniel Lesnes from Garibaldi Secondary and chef Trevor Randle from Maple Ridge Secondary will be at Golden Harvest.
The evening event taking place in the lobby and studio theatre of The ACT is "very casual" and provides an opportunity to sample food and mingle with other foodies, said this year's coorganizer Kim Lauzon.
"This event celebrates the local harvest, but it's also a great way to establish connections with local agriculture, food producers, and area consumers to help create a strong 'food culture' in our community," Lauzon said.
"Our event celebrates great food and connects us with the amazing farmers who work around us to create the bounty we all enjoy on our dinner table," Lauzon added.
"Over the last decade we have cultivated a great food culture in Maple Ridge that's reflected in the fact that local farmers and food producers have their products featured on the menus of local restaurants," said Eileen Dwillies, co-chair and co-manager of the Haney Farmers Market, who is sourcing the food for the local schools taking part.
"People are beginning to understand that the loyal shoppers at the farmers market are also people who like to entertain with friends at local eateries and create great meals at home. The Golden Harvest is a celebration of the new relationship we all have in our community with our farmers, chefs, and 'foodies' who want to eat healthy and eat well."
Tickets for Golden Harvest are $25 and are available at The ACT box office, in person or by calling 604-476-2787, or directly from the Haney Farmers Market. The ticket price for seniors and students is $20.
Golden Harvest runs 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 18 at The ACT, 11944 Haney Pl., Maple Ridge.
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