Tucker County Seed and Sew dinner brings residents together

Residents from Tucker County met for the first annual Seed and Sew, a community plant swap, dinner and finale to the Tucker Community Foundation quilt contest.

The event was hosted at the Thomas Education Center Thursday by the Tucker Community Foundation. Participants in the TCF quilt-making contest were honored by Elkins Sewing Center owner Sue Pifer as the centerpiece for the event; food was provided by the Tucker County High School ProStart students and White Grass Cafe; and the Mountain Laurel Learning Cooperative students performed for all who attended.

An admission fee of one potted plant was required for people to attend and donations for the TCF were accepted.

Diane Hinkle, development director of TCF, spoke to the Inter-Mountain about TCF’s role Thursday evening.

“There was something here for everybody,” she said.

The quilt logo contest, she said, was created to give local quilt makers a part in TCF’s interactions with community groups. She said TCF officials often meet with church and civic groups to explain what role the TCF plays in the community.

Quilt makers were charged with taking the TCF logo and replicating the design on a small quilt out of any colors or patterns they saw fit. The four entries showed off cross-threaded deep reds, bold greens and blues across various backgrounds.

“The quilted logos will be the perfect backdrop,” Hinkle said, noting that TCF officials will take the entries with them to group meetings across the county.

There were four entries in the contest. Dana Rexroad came in first, Sharon Pauley took second, Katie Morvay was third and Mary Smith was fourth. There was a $200 prize for the first place winner. Second place received $200. Third and fourth each took home $75.

Pifer presented certificates to each participant at the dinner.

“The creators of these quilts all had a vision for their projects,” she said.

She was quick to praise the community for supporting sewing in the surrounding area. She said sewing can do more than meets the eye – it can bring people together.

“We are tied together by our traditions and by our geography,” Pifer said. “When people who quilt get together they always have an idea about how they can (help others),” she said.

Before the dinner, a short song was sung by students from the MLLC, a group that provides educational learning experiences such as an after-school Spanish and summer science program for Tucker children. Following the song, the dinner was served by students of the TCHS ProStart program.

Brian Covell, the ProStart instructor at the high school, was the head chef at the dinner. He said ProStart is a four-year culinary program at TCHS that introduces students to all facets of the food industry.

He said students learn about management, service and how to prepare different types of foods. It is a state-wide program, he said, and TCHS has 80 students in the program – the most of any school in the state.

In addition, he said, students who complete the program can earn up to 15 credits toward culinary school classes in college.

Covell said he was initally approached by Kimmie Clemens, the director of the Potomac Highlands Food and Farm Initiative, to participate in the Seed and Sew dinner.

Covell said the event provided the students with a taste of real-world experience. TCHS students were given the opportunity to help prepare and serve food, and Covell said the students were really enjoying the evening.

In addition to a dinner of salad, chicken, potatoes and vegetables, various desserts were provided by the White Grass Cafe.

Clemens mirrored the sentiments of Pifer.

“Sewing, quilting and gardening bring people together,” she said.

She was excited the people could get together to exchange plants – a byproduct of the admission fee of one plant per attendee – and she said it would be great to see the event continue every year. Clemens said she will be working with TCF to make the dinner an annual event.

Contact Casey Houser by email at chouser@theintermountain.com.