County Line Orchard really knows how to throw a dinner party! The orchard hosted their 4th Annual Farm-to-Table event, which brought together various restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries together for one gorgeous and comfortable Saturday night.
Farm to Table was only a little seedling in co-owner Ryan Richardson’s mind four years ago when the idea of celebrating local farms and artisans at the end of their apple season seemed like the perfect event for County Line to host. Each year as Farm-to-Table has evolved and grown from only one restaurant providing food to multiple places coming together. The growth of Diner to Table was all due to the community embracing the event even more every year, and that’s something Richardson is happy to witness.
“People are more in-tune now about where their food comes from and it’s availability, and that’s something we obviously support. Farm to Table is a great way to cap off our season and put out our last crop,” explained Richardson. “The response of people that keep coming back even if we change things up as the years go on is really great. I think one of the thing that draws them in is that people get to taste some really cool dishes. These places make with things and combinations that you wouldn’t have at your day to day dinner, and that’s awesome to taste.”
In total there were seven companies and chefs that provided the food for the night. The night started with appetizers from Chef Jean and Dennis Theile from Branya’s Bakery, which provided attendees with dips, spreads, and breads. The appetizers were available throughout the night along with cheese and County Line’s very own apples. Those foods were located on each end of the building, which helped the flow of the event. After everyone got their fill of apples and cheeses the main courses were filed out. Rolling Stonebaker, Strongbow Inn, Bartlett’s Grill and Tavern, White Oak Tavern, Valley Kitchen and Bar, and Three Floyds Brewing each brought something different to the table, which provided the eaters with an exciting mix of meals to enjoy.
All of the chefs involved are familiar with working to cook a meal with fresh and locally grown ingredients, so it was easy for them to participate in an event that celebrates what is important to them. Cory Muro and Jason Rudy, chefs for Valley Kitchen, got involved with Farm-to-Table three years ago and have enjoyed it every year since.
“It just makes sense for us to be here. We’re good friends with everyone here so it’s a good way for us to relax on a Saturday without the huge stress of running a restaurant,” Chef Jason Rudy explained. Chef Cory Muro went on to say that their passion for local food drives home the theme of Farm to Table. “Valley Kitchen is a farm to table restaurant itself, so we really understand the importance of sourcing local food, having good relationships with local vendors and tonight really shows how many people love that,” he said.
All of the food wouldn’t be complete without the farms that provide them with the items to make their meals. The farmers who made all of it possible had the same feelings about the night - that it’s a great highlight for eating local. Tamera Mark from Iron Creek Farms, who has been providing produce for the event for the past three years, said that being a part of the night was important for them. “It’s so great, we love it. To be a part of the farm to table movement is great but to be in the center of it is even better. The food’s been great, along with everything else. We’re happy to be a part of it,” she said.
Mallory McShane, who has attended Farm to Table since the start and also celebrated her 25th birthday at the event, mentioned that she's enjoyed how the event has transitioned over the years. “The first two years had the family style theme going on with everyone sitting together but it’s a really nice change to see it so open. It’s also great to have everything in smaller portions and the addition of the free wine and beer tasting is wonderful.” McShane explained. “Every year has been great, but I think that it keeps getting better. I’m really enjoying tonight.”
Various breweries, wineries, and distilleries were lined up as well to offer a taste what they had to offer. Three Floyds, Saugatuck Brewing, Burn’Em, Four Fathers, Evil Czech Brewing, Greenbush Brewing, People’s Brewing, Anderson’s Winery, Shady Creek Winery and Journeyman Distillery were on hand to fill up attendees choice of drink in their free tiny mason jars.
Once everyone was chatting and eating all of their delicious food, the chefs kept cooking, the breweries kept pouring, and The Honey Chasers from Nashville, Tennessee kept playing and providing music from the second floor before the night moved on to it’s final course.
Dinner, no matter where you are, isn’t complete without a desert - and Valpo Velvet was on hand to do the honors. Cathy and Mike Brown provided a hoosier honeycomb vanilla ice cream which was scooped on top of County Line’s famous apple cinnamon donuts. It was a sweet treat to end off a delicious array of foods and warm company under the orchards dimly lit lights.
Once all of the food was consumed and it was time to leave and go back out into the cold, it was apparent that everyone who came to eat dinner at County Line’s table left satisfied, excited for next year, and ready to happily move their belt over to the next notch.