Barrett, the Honors College hosts its farm-to-table event for the second year

Barrett hosted one of its annual signature events at Schnepf Farms

Students were bussed to Schnepf Farms from all four ASU campuses to partake in a free three-course meal courtesy of Barrett, the Honors College.

Each Barrett campus hosts a signature event meant to highlight the campus’s individual atmosphere. On Nov. 3, Barrett at the Polytechnic campus hosted its second annual signature event at Schnepf Farms, an organic farm in Queen Creek. 

Mark Henderson, the associate dean of Barrett, the Honors College at Polytechnic campus, proudly showcased the unique agriculture surrounding the Polytechnic campus in the Valley. 

“A signature event is an event that uniquely defines a campus,” Henderson said. “I know that West campus piggy backed with homecoming, and Downtown does the art museum, etcetera. So, because we’re far east in Queen Creek, it made sense that we display our sustainable farming environment, and Schnepf Farms is a great example of sustainable farming.”

Schnepf Farms is a 300-acre farm known for its "Pumpkin and Chili Party" event, which is hosted every weekend throughout October, and its "Peach Festival" in May. Its Dinner Down the Orchard events, like the one hosted by Barrett, are signature farm-to-table events that incorporate the organic vegetables grown and picked from the farm's garden.

“The best part about the farm is we’re 100 percent organic,” Connor Schnepf, the farm manager, said. “That means we don’t use any pesticides, herbicides or insecticides – no chemicals on your fruit or vegetables. That means we pretty much just pick them off the tree or up from the ground and you can eat it right there on the spot.”

The farm has an eight-acre garden with seasonal vegetables, but most of the land is dedicated to peach trees. 

“Since it’s so hot in Arizona, a peach tree will produce for about a week – that’s at its peak,” Schnepf said. “So, we’ve planted over eight different varieties and they’re staggered ... They’re all ready at different times, and they’re planted all over the farm. We have about 5,000 peach trees, so a peach tree will last about 20 years before you have to pull it out and chop it up for firewood and replant.”

The dishes served at the Dinner Down the Orchard events rotate according to the fruits and vegetables of the season. Barrett guests had the choice between chicken, steak and stuffed peppers for their main entrée, served with a side of potatoes au gratin and steamed zucchini and squash. 

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Barrett underlined the event by reaching out to ReelBros Media, a videography business founded by two ASU graduates, to make a video with footage from the event. 

John Hebrank, ReelBros media co-founder and recent graduate of ASU’s graphic information technology program, was excited to once again work with ASU. 

“We’ve been doing a lot of stuff with ASU, and we enjoy working with them,” Hebrank said. “It’s pretty cool that they now ... continue to hire us, which is really awesome … The fact that we’ve been working with ASU for awhile and they keep coming back to us for their videos is really a great experience for us, to work for such a big university ...”

The group interviewed four students about their experience at the event, asking them to reflect on their feelings and conversations with new faces from ASU’s four campuses. 

Although this was Barrett's second time hosting the event at Schnepf Farms, Henderson is unsure if the tradition will continue in the future. 

“I don’t know if it will be annual or not – it depends,” Henderson said. “If it was well-received and if the deans decide that that’s what they want to do, then that’s what they want to do. We take a lot of input from our students. The students mostly are the ones who decide if it’s something they want to continue or not.” 


Reach the reporter at dsimari@asu.edu or follow @daniellasimari on Twitter. 

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