Mother nature delivered with gorgeous late-summer weather for Smart Farm of Barrington’s first Farm to Table Dinner Saturday night. About 100 guests attended the sold-out event in the old Quaker Oats barn on the grounds of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital. They gathered to enjoy dishes artfully prepared by area chefs with locally grown ingredients.
“Connecting farms, food and community” was the theme of the night. Before dinner, guests enjoyed the music of Big Sadie, a Chicago-based bluegrass trio, setting the stage for the farm-fancy evening.
Participating chefs included Zak Dolezal of Duke’s Alehouse in Crystal Lake, Michael Formichella of The Anvil Club in Algonquin and BHS alum and Chef Anne Fitzgibbons of OMango in Naperville.
Mama Jess Pasta Sauce founder Jessica Grelle created a Grilled Polenta, Zucchini and Goat Cheese Stack appetizer featuring her sauce for the event.
And Dominic and Jessica Green of The Gentleman Farmer in Barrington donated fresh produce from their farm for the evening’s dishes.
Smart Farm founder Kathy Gabelman says funds raised during this weekend’s dinner will support their efforts to inspire people of all ages to appreciate our agricultural heritage, organic gardening, the slow food movement and best practices for living “green”, sustainable lives.
“All of the main participants share a love of local agriculture. We are spreading that word that local food is better for our health and for the environment. We also know that growing local food can help build stronger communities. The main message of the night was that community is not just about living together, but about valuing what some neighbors produce and what other neighbors need.”
Smart Farm volunteers tend to their community gardens on the Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital grounds and at Ron Beese Park in Barrington. The organization grew from a simple idea in 2008, when Kathy Gabelman and a group of friends started talking about how they could promote eating food that is grown closer to home and help people who want to know more about gardening and living “green lives”. Kathy says The Smart Farm gives 100% of the produce it grows to local food pantries.
“That has been part of our mission since we started six years ago. Last year we gave over three tons (over 6,000 pounds) of produce, and this year we have already harvested over 3,000 pounds.”
You didn’t have to attend the dinner to be inspired by the menu and bucolic ambiance. Photographer Julie Linnekin was there to capture the essence of the event on camera, bringing us all to the party.
The Farm to Table Menu
Smoked Rushing Waters Trout Ceviche – Duke’s Alehouse
Seasonal Vegetable Samosas – OMango
Grilled Polenta and Zucchini Stack with Mama Jess Garden Good & Goat Cheese
Deconstructed BLT – The Anvil Club
Grilled Summer Gazpacho
Kale Salad with Apples, Pumpkin Seeds, Croutons & Spiced Yogurt Caesar Dressing – OMango
Grilled Local Chickens with Cornbread Polenta & Bacon Braised Collared Greens – Duke’s Alehouse
Pear and Apple Pavlova – Wild Asparagus
Guests are telling us that the food was delicious and the event details were a casual yet carefully planned blend of pure rustic elegance. Friends say this is a must-attend event for 2015!
If you’d like to get involved with Smart Farm, CLICK HERE to learn about their veggie share program, CLICK HERE to sign up for their 5th annual Frozen Zucchini Snowshoe Adventure coming up on January 25th or visit their website at SmartFarms.org. But don’t wait another second to enjoy the collection of images photographer Julie Linnekin took around the barn and tables on Saturday night.