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Morrisville State College serves up Capitol Hill with local products during New York Farm Day

MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Morrisville State College recently served up some of its tasty local fare on Capitol Hill.

The college showcased an array of food samples during New York Farm Day held in Washington DC on Sept. 12, an annual event which boasts New York state agricultural products.

The event, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, attracted approximately 700 federal officials, guests, area restaurant operators and media.

Attending from Morrisville State College were: Christopher Nyberg, dean of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Rebecca Dowsland, executive chef, Morrisville Auxiliary Corporation (MAC) Dining Services, Meredith Beardsley, of Interlaken, NY, and Cora Mason of Silver Springs, NY.

Beardsley and Mason are both students in the college’s agricultural business development bachelor degree program and active participants in Morrisville Fresh LLC which produced some of the food served during the event.

“Farm Day is a unique and important opportunity for us to showcase the best of what New York’s farmers and producers have to offer. Every year we bring New York to Washington DC, and I am thrilled that this has become such an anticipated event on the congressional calendar,” Gillibrand said in a news release.

Morrisville State College’s menu, designed by Dowsland using local products also used in the college’s dining centers, included a variety of delicacies produced on-campus or locally with help from Morrisville State College students.

Among the indulgences presented by the college were cheese curds made by agricultural business development students, in addition to a number of value-added products made through the Morrisville Fresh LLC, a business formed in conjunction with Nelson Farms, the college’s unique entrepreneurial agri-business incubator and food processing facility that helps budding entrepreneurs turn their ideas into marketable products.

Featured on the college’s menu were: fennel, orange & beet salad; baby new potatoes stuffed with leeks, salmon and Chevre Cheese; fire roasted heirloom tomato & carrot soup topped with fresh crème; roasted garlic and rosemary crostinis topped with red pepper aioli; balsamic roasted chippolini onions stuffed with gargonzola and bacon; and chicken skewers marinated in blueberry wine and Chobani yogurt.

In addition to showcasing local products, a unique aspect of Morrisville State College’s menu was its representation from many students in a variety of programs.

Horticulture business management students, for example, helped Alambria Springs Farm, of Earlville, NY, grow seedlings for vegetables that were used in many of the college’s featured dishes.

Environmental science and renewable energy students provide power and heat to the college’s aquaponics greenhouse where lettuce is grown using nutrients from fish raised by the aquaculture program. That lettuce, featured in various samples at Capitol Hill, is also served in the campus dining hall. Restaurant management students also had their hands in the menu.

“Through our participation in this event, we were able to show so many people how we use local products and utilize them on campus,” Dowsland said.

The event was held in the elegant Senate Kennedy Caucus Room at the crest of Capitol Hill. Since its inaugural launch in 2002, New York Farm Day has become one of the most popular events on Capitol Hill.

Attendees included many other senators, the New York Congressional delegation from the House of Representatives, members of the Committees on Agriculture, legislative chiefs of staff, agricultural specialists in congress and administration, members of the Washington media, top area restaurants and fine wine shops.

Through Morrisville Fresh LLC, students are involved with everything from making products to labeling and marketing them with assistance from Nelson Farms, the college’s food processing partner. The lineup of products includes hydroponically produced lettuce, salsa, cheese curds, sauces, spices and more, which students sell on campus, in the Nelson Farms’ Country Store, and in local farmers’ markets. Morrisville Fresh is also providing another avenue for local farmers to market their products.

Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Community Service Honor Roll. Visit to experience, Morrisville in motion.