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Pullman Plaza Hotel prepping for Farm and Food Conference

Oct. 10, 2012 @ 03:04 PM

     HUNTINGTON — According to the National Agriculture Statistics Service, West Virginia boasts more than 22,000 farms and nearly 4 million acres of farmland. The Tri-State Farm and Food Conference, scheduled Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12-13, hopes to bring farmers and the community together with one goal: Sustainability.  

When Small Farm Center Program Leader Tom McConnell approached Pullman Plaza earlier this year about hosting the conference, General Manager Jeff Broce knew it would be an exciting opportunity for the hotel.

     "We had hosted banquets with locally grown products before, but I knew that this was something special," said Broce. "This event is literally bringing local growers and local restaurants face-to-face and showing people that food sustainability is attainable."

     Pullman Plaza has worked closely with The Wild Ramp, located in Heritage Station, to source all of their food products. Executive Chef Tom Hickey compliments The Wild Ramp, saying the hotel could not have done this without them.

     "Shelly [Keeney] and all of the volunteers at The Wild Ramp have been an excellent resource for us," said Hickey. "I was in need of everything from local, grass-fed beef to pumpkins, and they knew exactly who to call. Huntington is lucky to have a place like this."

     The Tri-State Farm and Food Conference will host more than 30 educational courses and a Farm Festival at Heritage Station. The Farm Festival will begin at 5:00 p.m. Friday and will include a farmers' market and local restaurants offering dishes made with local ingredients.

     "It's a fantastic idea that brings farmers and chefs together," said Hickey. "Theoretically, you could be eating a homemade salsa that is made from the tomatoes and peppers of a farmer that's standing right next to you. It's going to an incredible festival, and I'm honored to be cooking for the entire conference."

     More information about the Tri-State Farm and Food Conference can be found at www.smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu including information on how to register. Guests of the conference can call Pullman Plaza Hotel for lodging and a detailed event schedule.

As part of the Conference, The Wild Ramp, the local market located at 210 11th St., at Heritage Station, is hosting a Farm Fest Meet and Greet at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12.

 Come out and meet-and-greet the local food producers currently stocking the local food market. This is a great opportunity to put a face with the products filling our homes.  There will also be local chefs selling food, as well as vendors and live music.

 At 5:30 p.m. Friday, the Wild Ramp will be hosting an Apple Bake-off contest of made-from-scratch desserts made from apples purchased at The Wild Ramp.

There is no entry fee but you must make enough to serve three judges and 20 guests.  Desserts must be delivered in person to The Wild Ramp by 5 p.m. Friday. Winners will be announced after the professional judging at 6 p.m.

 For more info on Farm Fest, contact The Wild Ramp (304) 523-7267 (RAMP) or info@wildramp.com for more information.