An extraordinary evening, the Annual Farmer’s Table dinner brings our communities together for a delicious, seasonal meal while supporting Litchfield County farms.
The Farmer’s Table dinner has oversold seats yet again this year. For nine years, this organization has provided much needed funds to support local food initiatives including educational tools for our local farmers.
The Farmer’s Table was launched at a Warren farm in 2010. A group of friends—strong advocates for locally grown food—decided that the best way to expand awareness of Litchfield County’s farms and the rich variety of produce and product they offer, was to host a harvest dinner that would bring together farmers and residents in dialogue.
That first dinner at the Warren Farm was such a success that it has become an annual event, moving to a different Litchfield County farm each year. Farms that have hosted the annual dinner since then are: Sunny Meadow Farm in Bridgewater, Hopkins Vineyard in Warren, Toplands Farm in Roxbury, South Farms in Morris, Back 40 Farm in Washington, and Arbutus Farm in Litchfield.
This year’s event is on Saturday, August 3rd and will be hosted by Arethusa Farm in Litchfield. This invite-only event makes it possible for nonprofit Partners for Sustainable Healthy Communities, Inc. to provide support to our local farmers and communities with programming throughout the year.
Local chefs who have contributed their talents and services over the years include Carol Byer-Alcorace from New Morning Catering, Michael Ackerman from Washington Depot’s beloved The Pantry, Torrance Fossland from Hopkins Inn, John Harris from the White Horse Pub, Brendan Martin from GW Tavern, John Bourdeau of The Owl Wine Bar, Samantha Tilley from Mockingbird Kitchen and Bar, Barbara Mojon Gugnoni from Troy Brook Bakery, Dan McGill from Al Tavolo, Anne Gallagher from Anne Gallagher Catering, Dennis DeBellis from John’s Cafe…. to name a few.
Some of the artisanal suppliers have included Arethusa Farm’s delicious cheeses, Bantam Bread Company’s heavenly breads, Hopkins Vineyard’s wonderful wines, Litchfield Distillery, Brassworks Brewing, Maywood Wines, Back Forty Farm for their florals, and many more.
The success of The Farmer’s Table dinner evolved into an annual program and in 2015, Litchfield-based nonprofit Partners for Sustainable Healthy Communities, Inc. were introduced to the event to further promote the importance of sustainable agriculture, local food and active, healthy lifestyles in the communities of Northwest Connecticut.
Now The Farmer’s Table gathers each year with the mission of connecting residents and local food producers, as well as raising funds needed to accelerate the growth of sustainable family farms in Litchfield county. This dinner allows advocates of healthy, locally-grown produce and product to get to know the very people who make that meal possible.
With farmers and community members in communication at The Farmer’s Table dinner, greater awareness is generated over the importance of a thriving local food economy, which causes farms, businesses and community health to flourish.
The Farmer’s Table provides an opportunity for people in our diverse community to gather together with our farmers to enjoy a meal prepared by local chefs using local ingredients. What started as an informal two-way conversation over delicious seasonal food has evolved into a purposeful dialogue among farmers and their supporters.
The organization’s goals include not only that opportunity for conversation, but also the chance to create additional programming in support of the farming community in Litchfield County. Local farmers have highlighted issues they feel are essential for their growth and survival. With the funds raised by the annual dinner, the focus is on issues of ongoing agro-education and helping to create broader access to farmers’ produce and products by a wider group of consumers.
Here is how the funds have been used:
The annual purchase of CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) from farmers paired with organizations help feed the under served. To date, the group has purchased CSAs from 25 local farms, and the produce from those shares has resulted in thousands of meals using locally grown food.
The bi-annual Farmer’s Forum is a free, all-day, professional agro-education program that more than 100 Litchfield County farmers attend.
Farmer’s Input Dinner is a bi-annual dinner/workshop during which farmers give the group input on what they need to help them be more sustainable. To date 50 farmers have participated.
The group also provides stipends for farm internships for local students, and The Farm-to-School Program was created to purchase food from local farms for schools. In addition, support is offered for the creation of the Northwest Connecticut Regional Food Hub.
Also offered are grants for farmers to attend educational conferences.
The 2019 Farmer’s Table dinner at Arethusa Farm on August 3 is FULL. Reservations for the Waiting List are still being accepted.
The hors d’oeuvres and drinks at the cocktail party will likely coincide with a fashion show of Arethusa lady cows and a talk about why they win prizes.
The Farmer’s Table is a 501(c)3 organization. For more information about this year’s event and past successes, please visit: shc-ct.org/farmers-table