Ed. Note: What follows is a Patch reader-generated announcement:
The Valley Table's first "Farm-to-Table Award," recognizing leadership in the support of regional agriculture, was presented to Dr. Tim Ryan, president of the Culinary Institute of America, at the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week launch event at the CIA on February 28.
Presenting the award to Dr. Ryan, Janet Crawshaw, publisher of The Valley Table and organizer of Restaurant Week, acknowledged the impact the Institute has had on local farms and on the farm-to-table movement in the Hudson Valley. "The CIA's commitment to sourcing ingredients and produce from regional farms has been a tremendous boon to farming in the Hudson Valley," Crawshaw said. She noted the school buys $750,000 annually of local fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy and meat from 30 Hudson Valley farms within 35 miles of the Hyde Park campus.
"Under Dr. Ryan's leadership, The CIA's 'buy local' commitment continues to grow and expand," Crawshaw continued. "Lessons in sustainable agriculture and sustainable cuisine have been integrated into the college curriculum-the CIA is graduating chefs with a heighte ned awareness of and appreciation for local farm products. As Dr. Ryan recently stated, 'There is an inextricable link between chefs and farmers' in the region.' The inaugural Farm-to-Table Award is an acknowledgment of his leadership in advancing the farm/chef connection."
This year marks Ryan's 30th anniversary at the Culinary Institute and his 10th year as president. An advocate of American cuisine, he opened the CIA's American Bounty Restaurant in 1982 with the idea of elevating American cuisine and incorporating local ingredients.
The 2012 Farm-to-Table Award is an original bronze sculpture designed and cast by artist, writer, gardener and heirloom seed advocate, Amy Goldman, whose works "celebrate and preserve the agricultural heritage and genetic diversity of the world's heirloom fruits and vegetables." The piece is part of her Rare Forms series of bronzes. The base for the award was created by Jessica Wickham, a woodworker and furniture maker in Beacon.
Since 1998, The Valley Table magazine has covered the food and farm scene in the Hudson Valley, promoting the region as a premier culinary destination and cultivating consumer interest in local, sustainable food. The magazine produces Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, which this year runs March 18-31. Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is the largest and most successful culinary event in the region and one of the largest restaurant weeks in the country.