Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Cornucopia of Farm Dinners

Farm dinners featuring local farmers and chefs abound this harvest season -- and link us to tradition.

One series of dinners, known as Taste of the Nation, raises funds for organizations like Loaves and Fishes, The Learning Web’s Youth Outreach Program, and The Food Bank of the Southern Tier Backpack Program.  The next dinner is on October 13 at the Carriage House in Ithaca.

Another series, known as Harvest Dinners, raises money for the Healthy Food for All program, which subsidizes CSA shares for low income families, allowing them to receive a box of veggies directly from a farm. 

Although farm dinners offer fancy cuisine, the dinners themselves are not a modern invention.  These types of affairs are actually part of a long-standing effort to maintain connections between citified folks and their rural neighbors.

At the Ithaca History Center, hidden among stacks of papers, is a menu from a 1939 farm dinner at the Onondaga Country Club.  The menu states: "The traditional purpose of the farm dinner is to promote cooperation and understanding between representatives of the city and country in matters of common interest."

The Governor and Agricultural Association Officials were among the guests, who dined on:
*chilled homegrown cantaloupe
*celery, olives, and relishes
*roast prime ribs of beef in natural gravy
*corn on the cob
*pan browned potatoes
*Waldorf Salad
*fancy mould ice cream
*small cakes 

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