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The time of harvest is upon those of us in the Midwest and it is a great time to appreciate the bounty that has been grown. One small community organized a local foods dinner for people to come and enjoy a meal and the fellowship with other ‘foodies’ along with agricultural awareness activities and educational opportunities.
Union City (MI) had their annual ‘Farm to Fork’ event with a large turnout for their potluck supper. The Saturday event had a myriad of activities to participate in along the main street of the village. While attendees visited shops and the Farmers Market, the beef, hog and lamb were being roasted, teasing the visitors with scents for the meal that evening.
The meats were donated by three farms who also gave of their time and were willing to answer questions and share information. The swine farmer brought in a sow with her piglets and displayed them in a trailer providing an opportunity to promote a heritage breed as the hogs were Red Wattle.
Chicken brats were also offered along with fresh corn on the cob, watermelon, and a cabbage dish, all offered by local farms that grew the produce and raised the animals.
In addition, each diner was to bring a dish to pass making the meal a truly community activity. Long tables were set up and loaded with salads, entrees and desserts for the over 300 people who were participating. Fresh garden produce and foraged ingredients made the dishes extraordinary and the experience delicious.
Some of the food was first entered into the ‘Famous Fork Food Contest’ where cooks, bakers and chefs were invited to strut their stuff from the kitchen. The entrants were encouraged to use locally-based ingredients and asked to name them on an entry card. 
The information requested included whether the specific ingredient was grown in the contestant’s garden, foraged or purchased from a local grower or business. They were also asked if it was from state of Michigan.
The recipes used were Winter Squash Bisque with green onions and bacon, Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese, Pierogis, Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, Chunky Garden Chili with cilantro and sour cream, Mexi Cornbread and Baked Beans with Bacon. For the desserts, they ranged from Old Fashioned Apple Pie, Blackberry Pie and Apple Pie Bars to Mock Pineapple Bread Pudding and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars.
After the dished were judged, they were then added to the serving tables where the local girl’s volleyball team helped dish out the food. The Girl Scouts passed out the milk giving the event the feel of a family gathering. The farming community certainly showed the ‘foodie’ community a good time while promoting the importance of agriculture...for every meal.

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