FISHER, W.Va. – The Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College Foundation held the annual farm-to-table dinner at the Misty Mountain Event Barn on June 28—garnering $27,000 in support from attendees through the evening’s activities to support students and scholarships at Eastern. The farm-to-table dinner celebrates the unique traditions surrounding food and agriculture in West Virginia, from the production and preparation to the stories surrounding it. This event also highlights the story of the local producers, the land, the food, and the culture of the Potomac Highlands while supporting the growth and development of Eastern and its students.
The menu featured food sourced from local farms, and chefs from local restaurants prepared the meal. Before dinner, guests enjoyed lavender lemonade with lavender from Blackthorn Estates Nursery and a grazing table with appetizers and desserts prepared by The Grove Café and Bakery with Firefly Farms cheese. Dinner was served buffet style. Brisket from Flying W Farms and chicken legs and thigh quarters donated by Pilgrim’s Pride were prepared by Meadowbrook Farms BBQ as part of the main course. Chefs from Cheetah Bs and Mullin’s 1847 Restaurant prepared a variety of delicious sides featuring local ingredients from Buena Vista Farm, M&S Maple Farm, Spring Valley Farm, Patterson Creek Apiary, Wilfong Farms, Teets Cattle Company, White Barn Farm Market and Cove Mountain Bakery.
The event saw a full house, as tickets sold out days before the event, with 150 people in attendance. Silent and live auctions were held throughout the evening. Items in the live auction ranged from a new grill to photographs and art creation services. Dr. Thomas Striplin, president of Eastern, donated six of his own photographs to the live auction. “The farm-to-table dinner is a great way to support student scholarships while simultaneously showcasing our local producers’ products and services in the Potomac Highlands Region,” said Dr. Striplin. Later in the evening, an award ceremony for the Friend of Philanthropy and Friend of Agriculture was held, as well as a short address by Miss West Virginia 2022, Elizabeth Lynch, about the importance of agriculture in West Virginia.
The late Joe Mathias of Mathias Farms received the 2023 Friend of Agriculture award for his contribution to the agriculture community in the Potomac Highlands region. This award was presented to Joe Mathias’ family by Greg Mitchell of Farm Credit of the Virginias, who also sponsored the award. Paul Wamsley, CEO of St. George Medical Clinic received the Friend of Philanthropy award. St. George Medical Clinic recently donated $20,000 to the Eastern Foundation to create the first permanent endowment to provide medical education scholarships. Other awards and recognition went to Della Davis, senior vice president/compliance & human resources officer at FNB Bank, Inc., in recognition of her outstanding volunteer service as the Foundation Board of Trustees secretary-treasurer from 2020-2023. The 2023 Farm Fellows and mentors were also recognized. The Farm Fellowship program, supported by an Agriculture Workforce Training Award from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, offers an in-depth intensive agricultural training experience that combines classroom training with hands-on practical experience and mentoring.
Several students, including the WV Beef Queen Sarah Sions, the WV Dairy Princess Helen McCarty, and Cody Mitchell, represented the WV State FFA Association during the silent and live auctions. There were many prize packages for attendees to bid on, from handmade leather work and illustrations to spa and movie night baskets. Michael Thomas of Oak Summit served as the live auction auctioneer. During the live auction, several dinner attendees purchased a campus bench in memory of the late John C. Jack Welton. “The Eastern Foundation appreciates the opportunity to provide memorialization for families who have loved ones that passed away, said Rob Burns, Eastern’s director of non-profits. “We value being able to help families honor their loved ones.”
The farm-to-table dinner is the College’s largest fundraising event. The annual event aims to bring the community together to support the local area and education for students. The Eastern Foundation raised $27,000 from live and silent auction earnings, as well as through raffle tickets—the largest amount raised in the history of the event. “We are incredibly thankful for the community’s outpouring of support for student advancement. We look forward to providing this event again next year,” said Dr. Megan Webb, dean of advancement and continuing education at Eastern. In her remarks, Webb also recognized the efforts of Burns and Jennifer Rexroad, both with the college’s Foundation, in coordinating the event and thanked the many sponsors and supporters who made the Farm to Table Dinner a success: St. George Medical Clinic, Farm Credit of the Virginias, Misty Mountain Event Barn, the Potomac Highlands Producers Co-op, the farmers behind each product included with the meal, table and event ticket buyers and the donors of the auction items.