What do you get when some of the area’s top chefs prepare a menu for guests who share a passion for locally grown food? Why Smart Farm’s annual Farm to Table Dinner, of course! Smart Farm hosted the second annual event Friday in the old Quaker Oats barn, just across from their community garden on Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital’s grounds.
A beautiful September sunset set the stage for the event as over 100 guests arrived to celebrate Smart Farm’s mission, which is to educate the community about gardening, promote locally grown foods and share their harvest with families who rely on Barrington’s food pantries.
With area farms providing the produce, the following chefs created a colorful menu of hors d’oevres, family style dishes and dessert highlighting the local harvest…
Chef Zak Dolezal of Dukes Alehouse in Crystal Lake * Chef Michael Formichella of the New Anvil Club in East Dundee * Jessica Grelle of Mama Jess organic sauces * Jamie Wagener of The Blissful Kitchen * Alina Yaccino of Pure Organic Juicery
And, new at the Farm to Table Dinner this year, Wild Onion Brewery poured glasses of Otis, their signature wet-hopped beer . They just recently brewed Otis within hours of harvesting the hops grown right on on the restaurant, banquet facility and brewery’s Lake Barrington property. It doesn’t get more locally grown that that!
Smart Farm’s founder, Kathy Gabelman says they took extra steps to ensure this year’s Farm to Table dinner was a zero-waste event to support their efforts to lead the way in community composting. She says gathering with chefs and guests that are of similar mind is a true celebration of their shared mission to inspire others through leading by example.
The Smart Farm
“One of our latest projects is to help educate the community about composting, recycling and re-purposing to reduce landfill waste through the new Barrington Area Compost Action Team. Another goal is to integrate more with the hospital to take our healthy food initiatives into Good Shepherd. We want to create more opportunities for people at the hospital to come and see what we’re doing, learn about our work and we’re hoping to one day provide food to the hospital and even offer classes together.”
Pure Organic Juicery
“At Pure Organic Juicery, we’re all about educating people to make the right choices when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle and just being true to yourself and true to other people. And I think it’s important to have that awareness about how food is grown, where it’s going and how it’s being put back into you. We do that through juicing, Smart Farm does that through growing vegetables and it all just connects in an event like tonight’s Farm to Table dinner.”
The Blissful Kitchen
“I love supporting local farms and I believe it is so important for people to connect with where their food comes from. We’ve become a society that just wants convenience and is looking for quick food, quick everything. I think it’s really important to realize that the need for immediacy comes with a cost and that there’s real beauty in actually working with the land. It nourishes us. It has all the vitamins, the minerals, everything we need and that’s why I love what this event is all about.”
For those who missed this year’s Farm to Table Dinner, we thought we’d share a closer look at the menu inspired by the freshest local ingredients. Here’s the list of items served, with all event and food photos courtesy of Barrington photographer, Sally Roeckell.
Passed Hors D’Oeuvres
Roasted Sweet Potato with Curried Cauliflower Giradiniara —Duke’s Alehouse
Grilled Prime Filet, Shishito Pepper Aioli & House Cured Kimchee
Chicken on Bao with Tomato Jam and Micro Greens—The Anvil Club
Mint Pea Pesto on Toasted Baguettes—Mama Jess
Goat Cheese Quiche with Almond Crust—Pure Organics
Sit Down Family-Style Dinner
Cardamom Braised Amish Chickens
Braised Slagel Farm Short Rib Grilled Pizzas
Kale and Warm Ancient Grain Salad with
Goat Cheese and Beets, Sour Cherry Vinaigrette
Kahlua Roasted Hog, Grilled Local Vegetables, and Smashed Potatoes
The Anvil Club
Zucchini Parmesan with Creamed Spinach and Mama Jess Garden Good Sauce
Heirloom Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Verrine with Capers & Balsamic Glaze
(These menu items are vegan and gluten-free.)
Raw Chocolate Torte with Caramel Drizzle
Hazelnut Crisp with Coconut Crème and Cherry-Fig Compote
Key Lime Macaroons
(All dessert items are vegan and gluten-free.)
The Blissful Kitchen
Created in 2008, the Smart Farm is an educational garden initiative in Barrington. Volunteers tend to their community gardens on the Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital grounds and at Ron Beese Park and give 100% of their produce to local food pantries. Adults, children, and students learn about their agricultural heritage, organic gardening, the slow food movement, and best practices for living “green,” sustainable lives. For more information, visit SmartFarms.org.
Photographer Sally Roeckell specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on food photography. Explore more of Sally’s beautiful work via Table and Dish on Instagram and on her website at TableAndDish.com.