On June 23, 2016, the Columbia Farmers Market hosted its sold-out 3rd Annual Farm to Table Dinner at Blue Bell Farm in Fayette. For the dinner, farmers and farmers market staff transformed into servers to provide a uniquely intimate dining experience for 100 guests.
In the weeks leading up to the dinner, Joshua Smith and Ben Parks, of the soon-to-open Barred Owl Butcher and Table restaurant at 47 E. Broadway, could be seen walking from booth to booth at the Saturday morning Columbia Farmers Market — clipboards in hand — quizzing vendors about what products they would have ready for the dinner and how much they were willing to donate. With an idea of the seasonally available ingredients and quantity that farmers were willing to donate, they created the five-course menu for the dinner.
The week of the event, with products procured from the farmers, Tim Eisenhauer, owner of Playing With Fire Wood Fired Pizza, and chef Matthew Robertson, joined Smith and Parks in prepping food for the dinner. The day of the dinner, Smith, Parks, Eisenhauer and Robertson were joined by Brandy Hughes, also of Barred Owl Butcher and Table, and Melissa Poelling of Harold’s Doughnuts to execute the dinner. The event joined farmers, chefs and appreciative diners and brought together an incredible team of Columbia chefs, many of whom have worked alongside each other in kitchens in the past.
Guests were greeted with a Hot July Moon cocktail made of rum, strawberry shrub and sparking wine. Flat bread with romesco, flat bread with lardo and pea shoots, and headcheese with pickled watermelon rind were served as passed appetizers. Beer and wine pairings from Logboat Brewing Company and Röbller Vineyards complemented each course.
The event raised $6,634.78 for the Columbia Farmers Market; funds that will help support the market’s Good Food Detectives Program. Launched in 2015, this program guides children to explore topics surrounding food, gardening, cooking and the farmers market. Children receive an activity booklet and for every activity completed, they receive $2 to spend on fruits, veggies, flowers, nuts, honey or plants at the market.
The Columbia Farmers Market extends a special thank you to the vendors, chefs, volunteers and community businesses that donated product, labor, space and materials to make our 3rd Annual Farm to Table Dinner a success!
For more information about the Columbia Farmers Market, any participating farms, or the farm to table movement in mid-Missouri, please visit columbiafarmersmarket.org or call 573-823-6889.