By Patty Rominger Farm to School On Saturday, June 22, Winters Farm to School will host its eight annual Feast. Held from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the historic Wolfskill Ranch in Winters, the feast has become a favorite summer celebration for our community. Tickets are currently available at ACE Hardware on Main Street in Winters, on-line at wintersfarmtoschool.com or by calling 530-795-6109. Tickets are $100 per person if purchased before Wednesday, May 1 and $125 if purchased on May 1 or after. The feast has sold out every year, so those wishing to attend are encouraged to purchase their tickets early. Each year, the feast has become more popular with more monies raised to support the non-profit Winters Farm to School Program. Because Winters Farm to School is an all-volunteer board, all of the monies raised at the feast go toward meeting the mission of the organization. In a nutshell, that mission is to provide fresh, locally-grown healthy foods to our school children; to educate our children about the importance of eating healthy foods for their long-term health and well-being; and, to reconnect our children to the land and our rich agricultural heritage. That mission plays out with children having a selection of fresh, local foods served every school day, green and growing vegetable gardens at Waggoner and Rominger Schools and weekly Kids Farmer’s Markets held at Waggoner and Rominger Schools. Each of these programs makes a positive difference in our children’s lives. The Winters Farm to School began in 2011 with the effort of trying to answer several serious questions: We are a small town surrounded by working family farms. Why aren’t we serving our children all of the seasonal crops grown right here? What can we do to fight childhood diet-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes? Could we collaborate with local farmers to get healthier foods into our schools? And, if we could get healthier foods onto our school children’s plates, would they be willing to eat them? We began by asking Cathy Olsen, a founding member of the Winters Farm to School Board and the WJUSD Food Services Director what she needed. Her answer was funding. Her budget for fresh produce when we first started was $7,000 per school year. Olsen knew that with a growing student population, she needed at least $50,000 per school year. We knew we needed a fundraiser in a unique location that would celebrate our rich agricultural heritage and bounty. UC Davis’s Department of Plant Sciences partnered with us to host the event at the historic Wolfskill Ranch just south of Winters. The Wolfskill Ranch has a long and fascinating history that weaves into the greater story of California becoming a state and Winters becoming such an agricultural hub. Today Wolfskill is a topnotch research facility housing both the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences Experimental Orchards and the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Clonal Germplasm Repository. Every year, guests of the Farm to School Feast have had the opportunity to learn more about all of the work being conducted at Wolfskill – innovative work which draws visiting scholars from around the world. Guests for our 2019 Feast will have the opportunity to participate in a 30-minute walking tour of the Experimental Orchards led by a professor from the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences to learn more about UCD’s cutting-edge research being conducted there. Dr. John Preece, Director of the USDA’s National Clonal Germplasm Repository located at Wolfskill will also be available to talk about their important work at the Repository. Dr. Preece is also a wealth of information about the fascinating history of the Wolfskill property. So the location of the feast is very special. So is the food. Every year, local farmers have donated the seasonal foods prepared by Buckhorn Catering, and Yolo County wineries and breweries have donated wine and beer to compliment the meal. Guests gather under the canopy of the 160-year old olive trees (planted by John Wolfskill) lining the drive at Wolfskill and tuck in for a leisurely, multi-course, simply scrumptious meal. The food, the drink and the interesting conversations around and across the table make for a lovely, relaxed afternoon … and all for a good cause. And the really good news is that with the support of our local community, farmers, vintners and businesses, we do raise at this one event the $50,000 needed to continue feeding our school children healthy, local foods. The other equally good news is that Winters children are eating and enjoying the healthy foods they are now served every day at school. For further information about the Annual Feast or Winters Farm to School, call 530-795-6109.]]>
Winters Farm to School Annual Feast tickets on sale now
The Annual Feast will be taking place on Saturday, June 22. Tickets sell out every year, so the Farm to School Program recommends buying them early.