As a child, Susan Dinsmore and her family ventured to Prairie Pines Farm every year to purchase their Christmas tree, so visiting the farm floods her with happy memories.
That's one of the reasons why the local Remax real estate agent is sponsoring a table Saturday at Community Crops' eighth-annual Feast on the Farm at Prairie Pines, the organization’s end-of-summer bash celebrating farm-to-table fare at its finest.
The local nonprofit presents the fundraiser, which runs from 5-8:30 p.m. at 112th and Adams streets, to unite farmers, area chefs and Community Crops’ supporters.
“Community Crops is such a great organization to support because they help people figure out how and what to grow here; that’s no easy task because of our harsh climate extremes,” Dinsmore said. “Many of the people who take the classes or garden in the Crops plots are of moderate means. What could be better than having delicious, healthy food that you’ve grown yourself?”
In addition to a meal, feast attendees will have the chance to tour the farm and meet the farmers who grew the food they’ll eat and the chefs who prepared it.
While dining under the big tent, participants can also enjoy craft beer from Zipline Brewing Company -- each selected to pair with a particular menu item -- two signature cocktails from the Other Room specifically created for the feast and iced-coffee from Cultiva.
Among the many reasons Roger Renken and his wife Sheila Stratton have enjoyed Feast on the Farm several times over the years is that they see it as an opportunity to show their support for all the good Community Crops does throughout Lancaster County.
“Crops has wonderful programs that help build community and connect people with local food,” Renken said. “They train local farmers, provide space for gardens in communities that bring neighbors together, hold classes on food processing (such as canning and fermenting), and create farming opportunities for new members of our community. These new immigrant farmers can grow produce that may not otherwise be available to them in local markets.”
This year, chefs from Hub Café, Kitchen Table, Piedmont Bistro by Venue, Single Barrel, Prairie Plate, Hummingbird Catering and Dish, along with Talent Plus’ executive chef Scott Burkel worked with Crops’ farmers to plan their dishes for the feast. Local bakery Goldenrod Pastries, which specializes in gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan pastries, is providing dessert. Branched Oak Farm cheeses also will be featured.
“Chefs tell our staff what they want to make, and we source the ingredients from local farmers, most of whom are training farmers at Prairie Pines,” Community Crops Executive Director Ben McShane-Jewell said. “We contact local ranchers for beef and hogs, and Open Harvest provides cooking ingredients, such as olive oil.”
In his first year as executive director, McShane-Jewell, who’s worked for Community Crops for more than four years, is passionate about its mission and is thrilled to take the reins of such a worthwhile organization. Initially, he was surprised to find that there’s quite a bit more to the job than he’d anticipated and acknowledged he had some big shoes to fill.
“If anyone is unfamiliar with the event or Crops, Feast on the Farm is a great way to spend an evening, meeting our farmers and seeing what’s growing,” McShane-Jewell said. “To us, it represents the power of local food to bring people together, and we want to encourage folks to come out and experience the beauty of Prairie Pines and local food at its best.”
While sipping local beverages, dining on the late-summer bounty and dancing to live music, attendees also may participate in a silent auction.