A sellout crowd of nearly 500 people grazed on such goodies as braised elk tacos with stone fruit tequila salsa, Thai-style Mediterranean mussels, cedar plank roasted salmon with fennel slaw and chocolate raspberry almond marjoliane while learning how Washington State University programs affect their lives every day at this year’s “A Taste of WSU at Benaroya Hall.”
The annual event showcasing programs of WSU Extension and the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences was part of this year’s WSU Week in Seattle.
This year a dozen of the Puget Sound area’s top chefs outdid themselves, using mostly Washington-produced ingredients to create a wide range of delicacies highlighting the cornucopia of fine food and beverages produced by Washington state agriculture.
While food formed the centerpiece for the event, a total of nearly 40 displays offered information on how CAHNRS and Extension programs are addressing timely issues. They highlighted programs ranging from contributions to restoring Puget Sound, enhancing wildlife habitat in Central Washington through grazing management, helping orchardists transition to newer and safer forms of insect control, researching the causes and cures for honeybee colony collapse disorder, developing biofuels and other energy alternatives – and appropriate to the food theme of the event – improving nutritional health and family fitness.
One featured program, Extension’s Horizon’s Project, recently completed an 18-month leadership training program to help 22 rural communities throughout the state with high rates of poverty help themselves improve their local economies. Horizons Project director Doreen Hauser-Lindstrom says that, thanks to an additional grant from the Northwest Area Foundation, the project is in the process of recruiting 15 additional rural communities to participate in a new round of leadership training.
For those outside the WSU family, “A Taste of WSU” provided a unique opportunity to witness the breadth, depth and reach of CAHNRS and Extension programs in benefiting communities throughout Washington and beyond.
As noted Seattle food and wine writer Ronald Holden put it on his web site, www.cornichon.org , “It’s heartening to know that we have professors who study ways to improve transportation, keep bees healthy, reduce rural poverty, and provide technical assistance to small farmers, and that (once a year, at least) there’s a forum where they can see the results: on the plate.”