Campus chefs visiting Farmers Market with ideas for local, fresh items

August 26, 2013  

Farmers Market Smink

At the Aug. 8 Purdue Farmers Market, Darcy Smink, production chef at Earhart Dining Court, prepares herb butter from herbs grown in the Purdue student gardens. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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The Purdue Farmers Market is more than what's in season -- it's also what to do with it. The appeal of local, fresh food items is turning extra delicious with appearances by some of Purdue's top kitchen experts.

Chefs from the West Lafayette campus dining courts and Purdue Memorial Union are bringing ideas for handling, cooking and serving items, especially those in season at a given time. The Purdue Farmers Market is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Thursday through Oct. 31 on Centennial Mall, which is between Stanley Coulter Hall and Wetherill Laboratory.

In addition to a variety of local produce and craft goods, the market offers local prepared foods, which are served during market hours. Prepared offerings include iced coffee, salads, pulled pork, cheeseburgers and several desserts.

Twenty-minute parking spots are available along Oval Drive and are free to use during market hours. Providing marketing support, contracts with vendors and a market master is Greater Lafayette Commerce.

More information about the Purdue Farmers Market is at; click on Initiatives, then Food.

Here is the schedule for remaining chef appearances this year:

* Aug. 29 -- Grace Brutsman, production chef at Windsor Dining Court. Brutsman's 14 years at Purdue, including being the first production chef at Hillenbrand Dining Court, have followed extensive hospitality experience. She and her husband, Mel, owned Lafayette favorite Sarge Oak restaurant for 23 years, winning awards including Second Best Steak House in Indiana. They were famous for steaks, elaborate catering events, hometown hospitality and homemade desserts. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Brutsman has taught and has been published in numerous culinary magazines.

* Sept. 5 -- Allison Kingery, production chef at Ford Dining Court. Even before college, Kingery was a student employee at Ford. She then got a food science degree at Purdue and a culinary degree at Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Ore. Having found a passion for fresh and local ingredients, she loves to incorporate them into her work at Purdue. She has been at Ford in her full-time role for two years.

* Sept. 19 -- Aaron Buschman, production chef at Hillenbrand Dining Court. His degrees from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island  -- associate degree in culinary arts and bachelor's in food service management -- have propelled Buschman into advancement to sous chef and then executive chef. He has focused on fine dining, and he brings that penchant to his creations at Hillenbrand, where he has worked for two years.

* Oct. 24 (Green Week) -- Sean McNerney, executive sous chef at Purdue Memorial Union. A Pennsylvania native, McNerney came to Purdue in 1986 as a student. After managing local restaurants and working at the Lafayette Country Club, he now is 11 years into a career as a PMU chef, concentrating on banquets and catering. Among his pastimes is brewing beer.

Already having made appearances at the market are Dennis Raney, production chef at Wiley Dining Court, and Darcy Smink, production chef at Earhart Dining Court.

Raney, a lifetime Boilermaker from Lafayette, acquired a broad and strong array of culinary skills working at western parks and resorts including Yellowstone, Crested Butte and Denali. He also spent six months in Thailand. As a result of his travels, he developed a fresh, simple style. But he enjoys being back in the Midwest and its camping, fishing, hiking -- and Boilermakers.

Smink took a Penn State degree built around French into a career in industrial sales and management, then turned to culinary arts. She obtained a degree at Ivy Tech and has studied on scholarship in southwest France. Locally, she has worked at KitchenArt and Lafayette Country Club, and she has supervised chefs at Midwestern sororities and fraternities for College Chefs LLC. She has been at Earhart since December.

The campus farmers market complements other markets that operate in Greater Lafayette:

* Historic Lafayette Farmers Market. Open 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays from May 4 to Oct. 26 on Fifth Street between Main and Columbia streets in downtown Lafayette. URL:

* Sagamore West Farmers Market. Open 3 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays from May 1 through Oct. 30 in Cumberland Park on Salisbury Street, West Lafayette. URL:

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