On the gorgeous evening of September 10, 49 local food lovers enjoyed a farm-to-table dinner catered by Wheelhouse and served up next to the Grow Food Northampton Organic Community Garden. Upon arrival, guest drank a refreshing shrub and snacked on grilled sourdough, pine nut puree, charred radicchio, and Grace Hill blue cheese and walnuts.
Before the meal, our Executive Director, Clem Clay, toured guests around our “South Parcel,” 17 acres of prime farmland that is home to the community garden, our Giving Garden, and Sawmill Herb Farm. Clem also talked about the other 100+ acres across the street that are leased to Crimson & Clover Farm and Lakeside Organics. Pat James, community garden manager, chimed in with details about the community garden’s operation and growth from 100 plots in 2012 to 290 in 2017.
After the tour, guests seated themselves at a long table and heard a bit more from Clem about our Food Access, Tuesday Market, Community Garden, and Youth Education programs, and then from Wheelhouse’s chef, Will, describing their focus on preparing food from locally-sourced, farm fresh ingredients. This dinner was no exception, with ingredients from a number of local farms, including several who sell at our Tuesday Market.
With brief course introductions and ruminations on the harvest season from Will, guests then tucked into the following dishes, accompanied by :
- Young brassica greens salad with radish, toasted pistachio, fried garlic and nasturtium with tomato vinaigrette;
- Braised lamb with late summer succotash and wilted greens;
- Brown butter delicata squash with seared mushrooms, white beans and wilted greens;
- Fingerling potato confit with seared broccoli and cured egg yolk; and
- Rustic stone fruit tart with hazelnut crumble and cardamom honey whipped cream.
Aside from the beautiful setting and sublime preparations of local ingredients, the event was notable for its joyful spirit. A spontaneous “Happy Birthday” was sung to one guest, and the Wheelhouse crew earned boisterous applause from the crowd. Clem’s 4-month-old daughter was a hit as well.
We are grateful to all our guests, to Wheelhouse and its amazing crew, to the many local farms whose ingredients were featured. We also thank the Northampton Rental Center, which committed to donating a tent if the forecast called for it, although we were grateful not to need it!