ROCK CAVE — Herbs can be incorporated in cooking a variety of dishes as was showcased at Wednesday’s dinner at Fish Hawk Acres’ farm in Rock Cave.
The dinner was designed as an educational and fun event for members of the Stargazers Garden Club, who wanted to do something more “fun” after a season of working on various projects, according to president Helen Heater. Members of the Fred Brooks Garden Club were also invited.
Fish Hawk Acres provided a dinner using several herbs and club members were invited to identify the herbs in vases on the table.
Members also had the opportunity to learn more about the Farm 2 Table initiative embraced by Fish Hawk Acres owners Dale Hawkins and Teresa Lipps.
Debbie Huber is the catering and market manager for Fish Hawk Acres. She talked about the Farm 2 Table movement that Fish Hawk Acres adopted at the very beginning.
“One of the big things is, they want to try to use the freshest local ingredients that they can,” she said. “Fish Hawk Acres really wants to reduce the carbon footprint from where the food is produced, shipped on a truck and into the restaurant or market.”
That is why Hawkins and Lipps feature seasonal produce items in the market and when catering. That doesn’t mean that they cannot get produce at other times of the year, but the cost is higher because it is not in season, according to Huber.
For example, a client may want asparagus in December when it is not in season.
“We can do that for the guest, but they have to realize that we have to pay more for it because it is going to come from a different place,” she said.
Striving for freshness goes beyond fruits and vegetables.
“Dale and Teresa want to always make sure they have the freshest eggs,” Huber said.
At the same time, they want to make sure that the chickens are being adequately cared for on the farms they buy eggs from.
“Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, all of the baked goods and foods at the market are made with local, fresh eggs,” she said.
The benefits to shopping local go beyond just the food itself.
“We want to keep local farmers in business, because that supports the local economy,” she said. “We have a lot of people who will bring in fresh herbs —everything from basil to dill to fresh oregano.”
Supporting the local farmers also means that local produce may be priced slightly higher.
“Trying to get locally grown food and paying the farmers a fair trade price may mean the price is more elevated than Walmart,” she said. “If the customer wants a cheaper price, we have to go with a cheaper product.”
More information about Fish Hawk Acres’ market and its catering business can be found at www.fishhawkacreswv.com or on Facebook at Fish Hawk Acres.