This past Saturday Honey and I had the pleasure of attending this event:
CTWorkingMoms was lucky enough to receive complimentary tickets to the event. When Michelle offered the tickets to the bloggers I jumped at the chance to attend. I’m so glad I did. Ironically Honey and I had talked about getting tickets ourselves but decided it wasn’t in our budget as we have plans this weekend as well. Melissa also attended with her husband.
Since 1978, Hartford Food System has been a leader in grassroots efforts to fight hunger and improve nutrition in Hartford’s low-income neighborhoods. We are one of the nation’s oldest organizations working to promote the concept of community food security, defined as all persons being able to obtain a culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet in their community from normal sources such as grocery stores and farmers markets. Our work and programs are based on three reinforcing strategies:
- Increase access for all residents to normal food outlets, particularly grocery stores and farmers markets.
- Deepen the connection between food consumers, especially our youth, and agricultural production.
- Advance public policies to improve affordability and quality of food.
I’ve never attended a farm to table dinner but I have to assume an urban farm dinner is quite different from a farm to table dinner AT a farm. The farm is right next to a large apartment complex very close to the I-84 overpass. We dined at long wood tables with benches on what was formerly the kale bed under a large tent. I do believe the kale was harvested just for the event. White tablecloth dining with my feet in the grass was a new thing for me, but I loved it.
I got to spend an evening out with Honey while Lovey and Kitten got some quality time with grandparents (win win!).
I got a chance to get to know Melissa a lot better too. Even Honey and Mr. Melissa hit is off and talked together most of the night. We also had the pleasure of sitting at a table with former strangers Andrea and her husband John. Andrea is one of the pastry chefs at Whole Foods Blue Back. I jumped at the chance to talk to her about gluten and allergen free baking; she was nice enough to give me a few tips. We also bonded over Breaking Bad. (I haven’t seen the 2nd part of the last season NO SPOILERS!) By the end of the evening Honey was actually getting John’s number to connect with him. Good locally grown, fresh food AND new friends? What could be better?
Then there was the food. Oh, the food. It was delicious.
The Whole Foods teams of chefs from the Blue Back, Bishops Corner, and Glastonbury did a fantastic job. Everything was impeccable. Garden salad, carrots, mashed yucca, eggplant curry, Portuguese fish stew, chicken with green mole, and braised brisket were all part of the meal. I have a new found love of mashed yucca and plan on serving it at Thanksgiving. the meal was also served with local beers and wine.
I want to take a minute to give a huge thank you to Kristin and Drew from Whole Foods Blue Back. Due to my allergies I needed to connect with someone beforehand to determine what would be safe for me to eat. Melissa had allergy concerns as well, having recently had a severe allergic food reaction. Upon arriving at the event the greeter wasn’t familiar with our situation and apologized that she could not help us. When I shared that I had corresponded with someone from Whole Foods she offered to have us meet with the chef. Drew came out and not only was he familiar with our situation, he had my email to Kristin in his hand. He took the time to walk the buffet line with us and tell us each ingredient that was in each food item. There were a few things he wasn’t sure about because they were the items that he didn’t make or that didn’t come directly from the farm. He went back to the kitchen to double check and followed up immediately with us. I think it’s fair to say that Melissa, Honey, and I were made to feel safe and at ease throughout our experience which is hard to do when you have food allergies. I really can’t thank Drew enough.
All in all the evening was a success. I commented to Honey that I felt like a grown up. We will definitely attend again if Whole Foods decides to do another urban farm dinner. I might be salivating over that possibility right now.
All photos taken by Honey unless otherwise noted.