G.A.L.A.’s events are often centered around food like potluck suppers, seed-swaps, fermenting workshops, etc., but the evening of Sat. October 3rd really took the cake (no pun intended!). The First Annual Farm-to-Table Feast: a collaborative of growers, chefs, and local food lovers, was a sustainablicious success! The Ossipee Mt. Grange Hall was filled with smells of warm mulled cider and simmering squash soup, sounds of engaging conversation between new acquaintances and old friends, and a soft lighting that glazed place-settings speckled with signs of Fall like acorns, pine cones, and beautifully colored leaves that we hold so dear as New Englanders.
Each table also included a full menu offering a peek into the evening’s treats sponsored by contributing growers and chefs –
Buttercup Squash Bruschetta
Featured Harvest by Top of the Hill Farm and Sunnyfield Brick Oven Bakery; Prepared by Garwoords Restaurant & Pub
Leek Wrap with Roasted Carrot
Featured Harvest by Pork Hill Farm; Prepared by Pork Hill Farm
Apples & Cheese
Featured Harvest by Devylders Farm and Via Lactea Farm; Prepared by Julie Bosak
Arugula Salad with Melon and Goat Feta
Featured Harvest by Pork Hill Farm, Spider Web Gardens and Via Lactea Farm; Prepared by The Restaurant
Roasted Butternut Squash with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Featured Harvest by Top of the Hill Farm and Bly Farm; Prepared by Butternuts Good Dishes
Smoked Pork Shoulder
Featured Cut by Via Lactea Farm; Prepared by Nadine San Antonio
Risotto with Roasted Root Vegetables & Winter Squash
Featured Harvest by Windy Fields Farms; Prepared by Windy Fields Farms
Mixed Green Salad with Wild Raspberry Vinaigrette
Featured Harvest by Pork Hill Farm; Prepared by Pork Hill Farm
Made Possible by Sunnyfield Brick Oven Bakery; Prepared by Peg Loughran
Berry Cheese Pie
Featuring local New Hampshire Berries; Prepared by Mary Beth Bryant
Featured Harvest by Bly Farm; Prepared by Margaret Martin
Warm Mulled Apple Cider
Featured Harvest by Devylder’s Farm
Coffee & Tea
Provided by Lydia’s Cafe & Evergrain Natural Foods
Now that ought to make your taste-buds tingle! But it wasn’t just about the taste of food on Saturday, it was also an evening of recognizing what the food embodies, how it nurtures our soul and health, the work and creativity behind the growing and preparation of the food, and finally, what it means to support local agriculture. To celebrate and honor these deeper aspects of the meal, each course began with a reading of grace unique to different cultures around the world. A volunteer from each table was asked to select and read the grace aloud. These readings included:
Grace from Buddhist culture:
This food is the gift
of the whole universe.
Each morsel is a sacrifice of life,
May I be worthy to receive it.
May the energy in this food
Give me the strength
To transform my unwholesome qualities
Into wholesome ones.
I am grateful for this food.
May I realize the Path of Awakening,
For the sake of all beings.
Grace from the Sioux, Native American culture:
I’m an Indian.
I think about the common things lke this pot.
The bubbling water comes from the rain cloud.
It represent the sky.
The fire comes from the sun,
Which warms us all, men, animals, trees.
The meat stands for the four-legged creatures,
Our animal brothers,
Who gave themselves so that we should live.
The stream is living breath.
It was water, not it goes up to the sky,
Becomes cloud again.
These things are sacred.
Looking at that pot full of good soup,
I am thinking how, in this simple manner,
The Great Spirit takes care of me.
Grace of a Scottish tradition:
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it.
But we hae mear, and we can eat,
Saw let the Lord be thankit.
Each grace presented the crowd with an opportunity to pause between courses and be thankful. Mealtime was also filled with short presentations from community members who are leading the way to a sustainable local food system. Bill Stockman of Spider Web Gardens spoke about the efforts of the Tuftonboro Agricultural Commission including the Community Garden; Dick Shurtleff discussed progress made at the Wolfeboro Food Pantry Garden while Jane Wilson voiced gratitude on behalf of Life Ministries; Peg Loughran described her regionally infamous brick-oven bakery; and Paul Swegel recapped the first season of the Pork Hill Farm CSA located right outside the Grange Hall.
Josh Arnold, G.A.L.A.’s Founding Director and MC of the evening, narrated a slideshow during dessert that illustrated the organization’s local food initiatives over the last year including its involvement with some of the efforts previously described, as well as the Veggie Volunteer Gleaning Program, Wolfeboro-Area Farmers’ Market, and homesteading workshops offered by Ginny Taylor and Karen Downing. The slideshow presentation culminated with a “Volunteer of the Year” award presented to Barbara Laverick who has contributed hundreds of volunteer hours in service of G.A.L.A.’s programs over the last few years. Thank you Barbara!
Three hours had passed, quickly, as they often do with good food and company. Josh prompted the entire audiences’ round of applause for the team of volunteers who had made the event possible including all the contributing chefs and growers, the Wolftrap for the table settings, Margot Varney for the graphic design services, Steve Day for the screen projector, Ernie Davis for the lighting, and especially the evening’s servers – Mary Beth Bryant, Margaret Martin, Julie Bosak, Paul Swegel, Barbara Laverick, and Kimberly Walton. After the event’s formal conclusion people lingered as dessert plates were scraped clean and conversations agreed “to be continued.” In sticking with the evening’s collaborative theme, many full-bellied friends lent a hand in clearing tables and stacking chairs. The crowed slowly filtered out, leaving the Hall with foggy windows and a trail of lively energy. Once again, a sustainblicious success!
This year was pilot year for the Farm-to-Table Feast. Plans are in motion to solicit feedback from attendees and participants in hopes of scaling-up the event into a annual harvest celebratio. Stay posted on progress and contact Josh if you are interested in serving on the Farm-to-Table Feast Planning Committee for 2010. And thank you, thank you, thank you, for your continued support.