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Meet the Farmer at Kampai

Cabbage, scallions, farm fresh egg-- just some of the local produce used to prepare the Okonomiyaki Wednesday night at Kampai in Vestal.

The restaurant owner admits he doesn't always shop local, however on Wednesday, he was inspired to reach out to farmers.

"This, I think, is an eye opening thing for me, for us," said Richard Matsushima, owner of Kampai.

This is the third time this year the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition working with the Cornell Cooperative Extension and BU's Student Alliance Local Living Economy has held a meet the farmer at a local restaurant.

"The idea is to stimulate both awareness and demand about the bounty we produce in Upstate New York in creative and innovative ways," said David Currie, director of BRSC.

The groups introduce restaurant owners to local producers and then, have a little fun.

The chefs at the Japanese steak house were challenged to create a three course menu incorporating as many local products as they could into each dish. 

"Part of what we hope transpires at the local restaurants is we create a relationship between producer and restaurant that either translates into regular items of a special of the week," said Currie.

"I hope they'll get to know the farmers who will be here tonight and realize they can buy food and access good food just as easy in their own community just as they would if they were to go to a bigger store," said Maura Weingarten, BU student and member of SALLE.

Farmers also stop by each event to speak with diners and restaurant owners.  Their next stop is The Water Street Brewing Company some time next year.

*Ali Warner Fox 40 HD News*

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