Almost 200 people turned out for the locally sourced meal. Submitted photo

BETHEL — The fifth annual Local Food and Learning Event was put on by the Telstar Freshman Class on Friday, Nov. 8 at the Bethel Alliance Church. More than 170 people turned out for the locally sourced meal, which was split into three different sessions, running from 5 to 8 p.m., with the same meal being served each hour.

All the food served came from Maine, with the exception of a few spices.

“All the meats, dairy, vegetables and grain came from Maine,” 4-H Professional Educator Norm Greenberg said.

Greenberg and 4-H Professional Educator Tara Pocock coordinated much of Telstra Freshman Academy’s project.

Food came from Middle Intervale Farm, Swain Family Farm, Gibsons Orchard, Peaked Hill Orchard, Pie Tree Orchard, The Good Food Store, Maine 4-H Foundation and Slattery’s Sugarhouse.

The event was sponsored by Maine 4H Foundation, Good Food Store, Oakhurst, Maine Grains, Pineland Farms, Middle Intervale Farm, Pie Tree Orchard, Gibson’s Orchard, Peaked Hill Orchard, Coopers Orchard, Slattery’s Sugar House, Sunshine Landscaping.

Class members raised more than $1,500, which will go toward their trip to Washington, D.C. in the spring.

The class holds many fundraisers over the course of the year, but the Food and Learning Event is their biggest one.

The event is a culmination of a month-and-a-half-long unit of the class studying food systems.

Students learned how to cook a wide range of food, follow recipes and press apples for apple cider. They also learned how to keep the food clean.

“It gives them skills, knowledge, but most importantly it gives them confidence,”Greenberg said.

The menu offered a wide range of food, including corn chowder, vegetable bean soup, garlic herb focaccia, pumpkin muffins, apple cider, shepherds pie, turkey pot pie, butternut squash lasagna, blueberry cake and apple crisp.

“We got a lot of great feedback on the food and the service,” Greenberg said.

“It’s a great project for the students because they learn a lot about job skills,” Greenberg added.

Greenberg said students filled out job applications for different positions relating to the event. Each application was then anonymously evaluated by other students on its overall quality.” After each application was looked over and scored by several people, the overall grades were compiled, and that determined what each student got for a job.

Jobs included bussers, servers, dishwashers, hosts/hostesses and cooks.

“Each of them learned a lot of different skills,” Greenberg said.

The TFA has now begun its energy systems unit and recently visited the Rumford Falls Hydro Facility. In a few weeks the TFA will travel to the University of Maine at Orono to visit multiple facilities on the campus.

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