Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture

College Honors Arborist at Farm to Table Dinner

Published Date: Apr 20, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Farm to Table Dinner Logo

The Huntley College of Agriculture honored a longtime arborist and businesswoman in an evening celebrated with student-grown, gourmet food prepared by local chefs.

Rose Epperson received the Jim Hicks Agricultural Achievement Award from the college during the 4th Annual Farm to Table Spring Harvest Dinner at AGRIscapes on April 14.

Epperson is a long-time principal in West Coast Arborists Inc. and also created Epicenter Management, which manages the Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture, the Society of Commercial Arboriculture and other green industry associations.

The Hicks award is given to an individual for his or her work in agriculture. The award is named after businessman Jim Hicks, a longtime supporter of the college and agricultural education.

Provost Sylvia Alva attended the dinner and spoke in place of President Soraya Coley, who was unable to attend.

Five students – one from each department in the college – also spoke at the event and shared how their experience in the college and at Cal Poly Pomona has shaped their lives. They were:

  • Sommarani (Mayra) Chan, graduate student, human nutrition and food science
  • Christine Eskander, undergraduate, animal and veterinary science
  • Ashley Kim, undergraduate, agribusiness and food industry management
  • Gabriela Ramirez, undergraduate, apparel merchandising and management
  • Joseph Wolf, undergraduate, plant science.

The evening also featured food prepared by three local chefs, using produce grown by Cal Poly Pomona students. Travis Flood of Alexander’s Steakhouse in Pasadena, Christopher Gendreau of Chase’s La Verne, and the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation’s Arnold Zavalza produced a menu that included:


Tataki New York Strip Steak with Spices

California Deviled Eggs with Avocado and Cilantro, Topped with Serrano Chili and Bacon

Spadra Sushini Roll: Zucchini, Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes with Balsamic Reduction

First Course

Spadra Farm Spring Salad Mix with Farro and Cal Poly Pomona Citrus Vinaigrette

Second Course

Lamb Meatballs with Harissa-Infused Mint Pesto and Za’atar-Flavored Yogurt

Ten-herb Green Chorizo over Black Bean Molé with Cumin Crème Fraiche

Whey-Poached Chicken Breast with Succotash and Tarragon Hollandaise Sauce

Vegetarian Option

Creamy Herb Polenta with Cal Poly Pomona Vegetable “Meatballs” with Harissa-Infused Mint Pesto and Za’atar-Flavored Yogurt


Avocado Cake topped with Cal Poly Pomona Strawberry Snow and Macadamia Nut Crumble, paired with a Frangelico

Cal Poly Pomona’s own Innovation Brew Works provided beer for the event. Horsehill Vineyards, which uses grapes grown in the campus vineyards, and South Coast winery provided the wine.