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November 6, 2003, Bryce Hall of Epiphany Catholic Church, Oklahoma City

By Robert Waldrop

Our first "Celebration of Oklahoma Food" was a tremendous success, attendance was 90 something, and there were tangible feelings of hope and good will present throughout the event. The Daily Oklahoman newspaper and Farmer Stockman magazine were represented by reporters.

The kitchen crew included: Jo Logan - Honey Hill Farm, Michelle and David Worley of Westville, Jonalu Johnstone - OKC, Walter Kelley - Norman, Mark Parman - Webbers Falls, Kathy Carter White - Tahlequah, Charlotte Salas - Norman, Kim Barker - Waynoka, Sean Kay - Oklahoma City, Lou Ann Batey - OKC, and yours truly. Many others helped clean up afterwards.

A lot of pictures were taken, as soon as I get some digital photos we will post them on the internet. The individual tables were decorated with bunches of fresh herbs brought by Jo Logan, and pumpkins and squash from Worley Farms. We decorated a center table using four candles, some fresh green herbs, and fall decorations furnished by the Horne Organic Farm in Cordell - sheaves of wheat and milo, bundles of maize and corn stalks.

We had a question and answer time, and there was considerable sentiment to have another celebration. My suggestion to the board is that we do this every quarter, and have the next one in February. I also think we should set a date and place fairly quickly, as that will help in getting advance publicity. We were a little "publicity challenged" with this first one, as everything was happening at once - new producers and customer were joining, we had to plan and deliver the banquet, etc. More lead time would help reduce that last minute crush and work craziness.

One of our principles is "eat with the season". Doing a Celebration of Oklahoma Food in the midst of each season would be a practical and effective way to teach that principle. Table fellowship is an important aspect of building a community. Given the resources we have or are likely to have, it is probably the single most effective method of promoting our organization. As we grow, we should move the location around a bit too. We can tell people that local food tastes better all day long, but they really won\'t believe us until we put a plate of Oklahoma Food right in front of them and hand them a fork.

Yes, we probably had enough food for 200. But not to worry, nothing went to waste. Everybody was invited to take food home for themselves or household members who weren\'t present. All of the food that was left was delivered to the Jesus House. The kitchen scraps were conserved for compost or feeding animals. The one thing we forgot to do was ask people to scrape their plates into a compost container before disposing of the plate in the trash can. I have found myself wondering if eventually we should buy our own table cloths and dishes/utensils and bring them along for each "Celebration" and thus take one more step away from the disposable mentality.

A very good time was had by all. Season\'s Eatings, folks, Season\'s Eatings..

The Celebration of Oklahoma Food Menu

Entres and side dishes

Meatloaf. The ground beef was from Kim Barker, Walnut Creek Farm in Waynoka, and was 100% grass finished beef. Ingredients included eggs from PDH Farms (Okemah), goats milk (Swinging Gate Farm, Norman), tomato sauce (from my home garden). The recipe was from "Quantity Cooking," a book of recipes for use in cafeterias which was published in 1952. All of the recipes use basic foods as their ingredients, this was published before the shift to packaged food service mixes.

Baked butternut squash, certified organic, from Worley Farms, Westville. We drizzled butter and sprinkled brown sugar on the squash.

Bulgar wheat pilaf, PDH Farms (Okemah) certified organic wheat, herbs from home gardens, cooked in a ham hock stock (PDH Farm ham). The wheat was boiled the day before and then dehydrated in an oven. Walter Kelley and David Worley cracked it Thursday morning using my hand crank mill.

Cooked mixed greens - mustard, turnip greens, and kale, certified organic from Crestview Farms in Edmond, cooked with crushed red pepper and various Italian herbs, in ham hock stock, recipe by Bob Waldrop.

Turnips roasted with honey/wine sauce, certified organic from Crestview Farms, Edmond, honey from Honey Hill Farms, Edmond, recipe by Jonalu Johnstone.

Quiche with cheese and mixed greens (vegetarian entre), Redbird Ranch (Webber\'s Falls) eggs, Crestview Farms greens, Kathy Carter White was the quiche maker.

Pumpkin pie, certified organic pumpkin from Worley Farms, Westville, PDH Farms eggs. Pie crust and filling by Jo Logan, Honey Hill Farms, Edmond. Kim Barker and Michelle Worley processed the whole pumpkins into pie pumpkin.

Pecan pie made with honey, Pecans from Whipporwill Ranch, Okmulgee, honey from Honey Hill Farm, mixing and baking by Jo Logan. Note: I love pecan pie, but it always gives me fierce heartburn. However, no heartburn from this pie.

Appetizer Buffet

Chicken salad, Redbird Ranch chicken

Baked ham, PDH Farms

Meatballs, Kastl\'s Quality Beef, Stillwater

Shiitake mushroom gravy and soups, Lost Creek Mushroom Farm, Perkins

Buffalo chili, Belle Starr Buffalo, Eufaula

Buffalo tenderloin, Wichita Buffalo, Hinton

Buffalo meatballs, Wichita Buffalo, Hinton

Buffalo summer sausage, Wichita Buffalo, Hinton

Lamb summer sausage, Walnut Creek Farm, Waynoka

Venison summer sausage, Honey Hill Farm, Edmond

Venison pot roast, Honey Hill Farm, Edmond

Grilled Italian and kielbasa sausages, bratwurst, Natural Farms, Tulsa, grilled by Kathy Carter White, Tahlequah.

Sliced and rolled smoked brisket, Natural Farms, Tulsa

Christian cheese, George Christian, Kingfisher

Deviled eggs, Redbird Ranch eggs

Bread rolls, PDH Farms certified organic grain

Roast leg of lamb, Red Pond Farm, Agra

Roast smoked leg of lamb, Walnut Creek Farm, Waynoka.

Chicken and dumplings, Redbird Ranch, Webbers Falls, dumplings by Michelle Worley, Westville

Styxx barbecue sauces, Midwest City

Sand plum jelly and sand plum butter, Country Sunshine Specialties, Enid

Van Pig Stand barbecue sauce, Shawnee

Barbecue sauce, Natural Farms, Tulsa

Lettuce, arugula, basil and parsley garnishes, Worley Farm, Westville, Crestview Farm in Edmond, and home gardens

Sorghum Molasses, PDH Farms, Okemah

Fall decorations, Charles Horne Organic Farm, Cordell

Banquet Dedication

At the beginning of our first Celebration of Oklahoma Food, we paused for a few moments of silence to reflect on these dedicatory intentions. The intentions were read by young people representing the Barker, Graf, Heskamp, and Evans families.

We come together from many different communities. We walked many roads to find this place. Now as we gather in fellowship around this table, let us remember those who grew this food and prepared it for us to eat, and the cycle of life and work, seedtime and harvest, which this meal represents. (Silence)

We did not come here from nothing. Behind us are the ancestors of body and culture, ideas and hopes, geographies and biographies of place, mind, soul, and spirit. After us come our children, and their children, generations yet to be, stories yet untold. As we begin this evening meal, let us recall with gratitude those who have gone before us, and look forward in hope and joy at those who will come after us. (Silence)

Here we meet in peace, safety and abundance, but many people in this world experience war, danger, and famine. Let us remember them, and all who come to their rescue and assistance, and resolve to do our part to build a world of justice and peace. (Silence)

The work that we do is fundamental to our dignity as human persons. As we commence this new cooperative enterprise, let us therefore dedicate ourselves to be good and faithful stewards and create a marketplace that is socially just, environmentally sustainable, and economically viable. (Silence)

Oklahoma Food Cooperative
PO BOX 681, Oklahoma City, OK 73101