Catering Students to Prepare Dishes for Public at Growers Market

Published 08.30.2004


Students from the School of Hospitality at Pennsylvania College of Technology will have the opportunity to work with fresh, local ingredients when they prepare food for the public at the Williamsport Outdoor Growers Market on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Students in the Catering class taught by Chef Michael J. Ditchfield have participated in the event for several years. This is the first event of the semester for the class.

"First and foremost, this is a class. As an instructor, it satisfies much of what I need to achieve," said Ditchfield, an instructor of food and hospitality management/culinary arts. "The students get to plan the event, create a menu based on the products that the growers provide, prepare food and serve it to the public. They get immediate feedback from the customers. Besides that, it's fun. It's really turned into a community event."

The students will prepare food at the market from 8 a.m. to noon. The growers market is held in municipal parking lot G, bounded by Fifth, Hepburn and Pine streets and Little League Boulevard.

Ditchfield said the event shows students alternatives for shopping and purchasing for a restaurant.

"I want the students to look at 'business as usual' a little differently," he said. "We are rethinking how we purchase food and looking at some other sources. We have some of the best products available right here locally. I want them to meet the producers firsthand. These are people who work hard and are proud of the work that they do. We are establishing a stronger chef-farmer relationship. These will hopefully be long-term relationships based on quality and trust. We are also keeping our money in our local economy."

Catering class students who will take part in the event are: John E. Lafferty, Lansdale; Nathan S. Marshall, State College; Amelia C. Pedraza, Williamsport; Paul W. Scheetz, Lansdale; Amy M. Schleicher, Baltimore; Julian D. Schramp, New Columbia; Lance A. Smith, Harrisburg; Jessica Sommers, Allentown; Athanasios N. Spanos, Carlisle; Adam A. Thompson, Trout Run; and Carli E. Zale, Shillington.

"All good recipes mention, 'Begin with the finest ingredients.' We have them here at the local growers market," Ditchfield said.

The Williamsport Outdoor Growers Market Association vendors sell produce and other food items each Saturday, mid-June through the end of October, at the downtown location.