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Food fair offers education and eats

An omelet making challenge  and live music were among the highlights offered at Slow Food UNH’s “Good-Clean-Fair” fair.               The fair, which took place in the Memorial Union Building’s (MUB) Strafford Room on April 9 from 12 – 5 p.m. featured various farms and vendors from the Durham area selling their products, as well as lessons in crafting, a fermentation workshop and student organizations. The Kenny Brothers Band provided live music.

Abigail St. Pierre, junior nutrition and wellness major and the president of Slow Food UNH, greeted fair attendees.

“The fair is unique because of the live music and the omelet challenge,” St. Pierre said. “It’s different than a regular farmers market, it’s a smaller scale, but it’s great to get people connected with their local farms.”

According to St. Pierre, Slow Food UNH worked with ecogastronomy students to bring farmers markets to campus. Three markets are currently in the works, so the fair is a trial run. Planning for the event started at the end of February.

Junior wildlife conservation and biology major Eve Whalen, a member of Slow Food UNH, helped with the omelet station at the event. Students could select from a variety of fillings, like cheese, vegetables and sausage from Short Creek Farm, one of the fair’s vendors.

“Almost everyone who has come through has either made an omelet for themselves or done the competition,” Whalen said. “It’s cool to see what people come up with.”

As of 3:30 p.m., the fastest omelet cooking time was 2 minutes, 35 seconds.

Kailey Johnson, a freshman psychology major, was one of many students who came to the fair. Her favorite part of the event was painting a pineapple on a canvas banner.

“It’s definitely interesting having a lot of clean, organic organizations here on campus. It’s important to go back to eating clean and natural, and this fair reminds students of that message,” Johnson said.

Fair-goers were given a chance to try straw weaving, thanks to Andras Koncz, a community member who weaves as a hobby rather than a living. He sold some of his creations, including woven baskets and Easter rabbits, and taught about 24 students basic weaving techniques.

“I thought this crowd would be interested in this. I am pleased to see that people want to learn about weaving,” Koncz said. “It’s an amazing thing being able to pass it on to the next generation.”

Allison Christie, a sophomore civil engineering major and co-leader of Compost Cats, staffed the organization’s table, which featured stickers and seeds.

“I have had a few people planting seeds and wanting to join our club,” Christie said. “The omelet station was my favorite thing. I haven’t had one in so long, but it was so good.”

At 3:45 p.m., according to Slow Food UNH members, 190 students had attended the fair, in addition to numerous community members, surpassing Slow Food’s goal of 200 total attendees.

Slow Food UNH members agreed that the event was successful due to the large turnout.

“It’s about seeing student interest in farmers markets, showing people local farms and bringing them together to have a good time on a beautiful Sunday afternoon,” Whalen said.

Crowds started to thin with one hour left to the fair.

Sara Mihajlovits, a freshman hospitality management major and event coordinator of Slow Food UNH, reflected on what those in attendance took away from the event.

“I think people got to learn about local ingredients and fermentation,” Mihajlovits said.  “The workshop was filled, so people got to learn about things that they might not have known otherwise.”

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