Wild Game What?

CMH_7749

Hundreds of community members attended South Montgomery County Academy’s annual Wild Game Supper on March 14.

Every year my high school hosts an event around the beginning of turkey hunting season to raise money for the school. It is called, The Wild Game Supper, and it is exactly what it is called. A huge line of wild game, there is also a few “regular” foods, prepared and ready to eat. This event has become a major fundraiser for South Montgomery County Academy. More than $30,000 was raised this year, which was the most successful Wild Game Supper the school has ever had. All of the money raised goes directly toward educating the children at the school, from the surrounding area.

There was quail, alligator, deer, turkey, squirrel, wild rabbit, catfish, duck and so much more….. One of my personal favorite foods, that was also included in the line up, was cheese grits. I eat wild game, but cheese grits holds a truly special place in my heart. It is one of the few foods that is hard to “mess up.” If none of the food interests you, there are plenty of other ways to support the school through this event.

In addition to the food, there was also a silent auction. There were more than four hundred items that people could bid on. There were several items that were handmade, including incredible cedar furniture and jewelry. Although, several bidding wars occurred, it was all in good fun.

Along with the auction, the school had a $5,000 money draw down and a turkey rodeo. The turkey rodeo was a first and ended up being a great success with many participants. Teams of two people per team went out on a hunt and whichever obtained the best bird, won a pair of shotguns. There were a large number of tickets sold for the money draw down. Each ticket held ten spots that each cost $10.CMH_7746psd

This event is a great way for the members of the community to come together to help out the small, private school located only just a few miles from where I live. The school hopes that the next year’s Wild Game Supper will be even more successful than this year.

Advertisements

Ready… Set… COOK!

This past weekend I covered the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Culinary Arts Competition in Birmingham. The event was held at Virginia College’s Culinary Institute, known as Culinard. Thirteen high school teams from around the state of Alabama competed for more than 115,000 dollars in scholarships and prizes.

The day was filled with much excitement from participants and even a few spectators. I, for one, was amazed at the precision of each team and how they cooked their meals with such focus. I have never been to any event quite like this one. It was very much like the famous television show on the Food channel, Iron Chef.

16646736940_bbb07d589c_o

The “gold” winning team, from Huntsville Center for Technology, preparing to go into battle at the 2015 FCCLA Culinary Arts Competition.

Huntsville Center for Technology ended up taking home the “gold” prize, which doesn’t happen every competition. In order to have “gold” status the team must score 90 or more. They did it! They were extremely excited to have their school called out as the winning team. The team was also given a complete knife set made by Mercer Cutlery, a gift card to use at local Birmingham restaurants, and all schools that took part in the event received two culinary books. Just two years ago, there was roughly $25,000 in scholarship money awarded. That figure has more than tripled in the past two years.

16832980071_9c4e0384e3_o

The fantastic apple trifle dessert made by the HCT team.

All teams were required to prepare breast of chicken with a mustard cream sauce with sautéed broccoli and rice pilaf. For dessert they prepared an apple trifle. HCT took it a step further and actually made their on caramel sauce and drizzled it atop the dessert. No other team did this for their dessert.

Each dish had it’s own appeal to it. No dish was exactly the same, because students with all kinds of artistic abilities prepared them. All of the dishes were lined up, in front of each school’s name, so they could be viewed

This was the first event that I covered by myself, so I had to shoot enough photos and acquire enough information in order to write an article about it. I wrote my very first article, ever, about this event. I am very proud to have had the privilege to do so.

Until next time…

Young Farmers Meet in Montgomery for Annual Conference

This past weekend I attended the 2015 Young Farmers of Alabama Conference held in Montgomery, Alabama. This conference is a great way for young farmers across Alabama to come together and learn more about agriculture. It is also when the three finalists of the Outstanding Young Farming Family are decided and announced at the final dinner.

The night started off with a great buffet style dinner, consisting of fried catfish with a side of cole slaw. What could possibly be more southern than that?! There is possibly only one thing, a room full of 250 farmers, agriculture advocates and also a few agriculture scientists. As we ate dinner, the president of the Alabama Farmers Federation, Jimmy Parnell, answered various questions the crowd had. After dinner it was time to hit the hay (pun intended), so that we could wake up in time for the delicious breakfast and attend the first keynote address of the day. The morning keynote was given by Matthew Lohr, who is from Virginia and been a farmer for many years. He gave a truly inspiring story of his late wife’s battle with cancer. From what I could tell, she was an extraordinary woman.

After the morning keynote, it was time for the workshops. There were three workshops throughout the day that we attended. Each time slot had two options to choose from. In the first workshop I went to, a panel of scientists discussed how to stop the spread of misleading articles about agriculture in social media. For the second workshop, I chose to go to Matthew Lohr’s, which was a very good decision. He spoke about how to be better advocates for agriculture. In order for us to get to know one another better he used a unique “icebreaker,” by which we had a to tell another person what our most embarrassing moment. There were some very interesting stories. Lunch was then served and the keynote speaker then was Jolene Brown. She and her husband own a farm in Iowa, and she spoke about her adventures in the jungle. Later that day, she spoke about “The Top Ten Mistakes That Break Up A Family Business” in her workshop.

The day was concluded with the banquet along with an auction to benefit the Alabama Agriculture Foundation. The top three finalists for OYFF were announced this night also. This conference has definitely been one of my favorites.