Farm to Table Dinner Spotlights Local Farms and Businesses

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: November 5, 2012

It was a night of local luxuries. The County Line Orchard hosted its annual Farm to Table Dinner Saturday evening and droves of people came out to enjoy the occasion.

The dinner was created to highlight the products of local business. All the items on the extensive menu were created using local ingredients. Before the meal began there was a huge spread of local cheeses and apples for the guests’ enjoyment. All 20 of the cheeses were made in Indiana and they ranged from blue cheese to homemade cottage cheese. There were other hors d’ oeuvres to sample such as local vegetables, duck scrapple, and turkey sausage casserole. All were delicious and devoured readily while entertained by live music performed by local artists Chris and Lou.

Ryan Richardson, co-owner and farmer at County Line Orchard was very pleased with the outcome.

“It’s been a phenomenal turnout. We’ve had an excellent response. We were going to try and sell 400 tickets, but we ended up selling around 510 tonight. So this is a testament to the importance of building the local food system and people’s passion for knowing where everything comes from,” Richardson said. “Great food! And we couldn’t do it without the brilliant chefs back in the kitchen and the great staff.”

Before the dinner began, Richardson gave a small speech thanking everyone for coming then he turned it over to Lauren Riga, Director, Green Urbanism and Environmental Affairs in Gary, IN who spoke to the crowd as well. When the speeches were done and a hearty round of applause was given to both speakers, the meal commenced. It was a three-course affair with many dishes to try from each course.

Starting with appetizers, dinner guests ate: a salad of fresh greens and beets with goat cheese and walnuts; roasted heirloom pumpkin cider bisque; or spiced winter squash breadsticks and other assorted breads. Main courses included: herb roasted chicken with carrots and onions; bison roast and root vegetable stew; honey-cider glazed pork belly with caramelized turnips; sweet and spicy grass-fed beef meatloaf with a grape and honey glaze; winter squash, rainbow and kale chard quiche (most excellent, by the way); and salt roasted Indiana potatoes. For dessert guests were able to choose between summer berry cream cheese pound cake or honeycomb ice cream.

Chefs from local restaurants such as Bistro 157, Valley Kitchen and Bar, as well as others came and created these delectable dishes. Beverages choices included: beer from local breweries such as Three Floyds Brewery, Crown Brewing Company, and Valparaiso’s own Figure 8 Brewery; and wines from Butler Winery and Huber’s Family Winery. A special cocktail titled “Apple Pie in a Jar” was offered from Journeyman Distillery.

Among the many families, friends, and individuals enjoying the Farm to Table Dinner was Kenny Theis. He is a bee keeper and his honey is sold at County Line Orchard. The honey in the honey-cider glazed pork belly with caramelized turnips and the honeycomb ice cream was supplied by his bees! Theis was there with his family to celebrate and enjoy the evening.

“I love this place because they are great people and they have great parties,” Theis said with a smile. “There were 100 four-inch squares of honey with the comb in it that were put into the ice cream for tonight’s dinner.”

It was heart-warming to see so many people come together to support businesses that are literally and figuratively close to their hearts. Each year the dinner gets bigger and better. I know that many are already anticipating the arrival of next year’s Farm to Table Dinner.

Want to know more about County Line Orchard? Click here!

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