Carolina Farm Stewardship Association 29th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference 2014
Local Food Feast: Full Listing of Dishes and Farms
Winter Squash and Swiss Chard Stew with squash donated by Eastern Carolina Organics
–Acorn squash from Cottle Organics
–Carnival squash from Fishel’s Organic
–Swiss chard from Way of Life
Deconstructed Bibb Salad
–Bibb lettuce from Shelton Farm
–Candied bacon from Greenbrier Farm
–Carolina Bleu cheese from Ashe County
–Roasted tomatoes from Turlington Farm
–Buttermilk from Homeland Creamery, R farm, and Green Pond Herbs
Seasonal Vegetable Mash
–Red LaSoda potatoes from Somerset Farm
–Rutabaga from Powell Organic
–Beets from uncle henry’s organics
–Turnips from Powell Organic
Corn on the Cob (non GM) by Barbee Farms
Chicken and Dumplings
–Heritage, pasture-raised chicken raised without use of GMOs from Greenbrier Farms
–Flour from Carolina Ground
–Carrots from Riverstone Farm
–Eggs (GM free) from Summerfield Farm
Braised Beef with Cheerwine BBQ Sauce
–Beef from Chatham, Cedar Grove, and Windy Hill Farms sourced via Firsthand Foods
–Apples from Lowes Orchard
–Flour from Carolina Ground
–Eggs from Summerfield Farm
Rolls from Annie’s Bakery in Asheville, NC
The Local Food Feast at CFSA’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference is always a major event highlight. This year, Food Coordinator Kris Reid and Hyatt Recency Executive Chef Brandon Lemieux used meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, dairy and flour from over 20 local and regional farms to create a colorful and delicious Local Food Feast for SAC 2014.
The menu highlighted the best aspects of the fall season, when leafy greens and root vegetables are abundant and meat from grass pastured animals is extra flavorful.
Winter Squash and Swiss Chard Stew started off the feast on a sweet and earthy note. The stew was followed by a “deconstructed” Bibb salad, with tender Bibb lettuce, candied bacon, bleu cheese, roasted tomatoes, and a creamy ranch dressing made with locally sourced dairy and herbs.
Next were the sides: a Seasonal Vegetable Mash with potatoes, rutabaga, turnips and beets and delicious steamed sweet corn, which was a special late-season treat. The meat centerpieces were rich chicken and dumplings and braised beef in a Cheerwine barbeque sauce.
But it didn’t end there. The meal was finished off with tender dinner rolls from an Asheville bakery and, my favorite, an apple crisp made with apples from Lowes Orchard.
It goes without saying that the meal was amazing, both in flavor and effort. While farmers’ markets and co-op grocers are fantastic places to shop, they don’t account for the majority of food supplied to eaters in the US. It takes extra effort for small, sustainable farmers and brokers to sell to large local entities like hotels, chain restaurants, and hospitals. Those businesses have to be convinced that stepping away from the existing infrastructure and buying local food is worth their time and money.
That makes it all the more impressive that the Hyatt Regency already sources 30% of its food locally and that Kris Reid and Brandon Lemieux were able to put on such a diverse and delicious meal consisting almost entirely of local products. As Mark Shepard challenged the audience in his keynote address, now is the time to do something real in the world of sustainable agriculture. Part of that is holding large companies and the government to the same stringent standards to which we hold ourselves as growers and consumers.
As I enjoyed the Local Food Feast, I found myself thinking about how everyone at the Sustainable Agriculture Conference shares some kind of belief in the power of sustainable agriculture to cause large, important changes around the globe. We vary by profession, religion, preferred crop and/or production method, region, class, race, and gender, but somehow we can still come together through our faith in food and the people who raise it.
Mark Shepard’s closing remarks echoed my thoughts as he exhorted us to stick together in our goals and most of all to love each other as we move forward. I’m so excited to spend the rest of this conference doing just that.