June 15. 2014 10:35PM

Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Dinner offers delicious way to honor local farmers


This Sunday, I will be enjoying a five-course meal made almost entirely of ingredients grown within a 50-mile radius of Manchester. Trust me, I am not cooking it. Even if I could find all the ingredients, I would certainly ruin it before it ever hit my lips. This meal will be thanks to a vision by Nashua resident and locavore expert Keith Sarasin, who is bringing one of his Farmers Dinners to the Queen City’s XO Restaurant.

Sarasin founded the Farmers Dinner series in 2012 at Saffron Bistro in Nashua. Since then he has produced 11 of these farm-to-table dinner experiences at various restaurants around the state.

Sarasin said during his five years as a professional chef, he noticed a big disconnect between restaurants and local farmers. For example, local restaurants were buying apples grown in other parts of the country, rather than from the orchards we have in our own backyard. So, he started The Farmers Dinner to shine a light on all the amazing local food we have available to us.

“It’s really just a night to honor the local farmer,” Sarasin said.

Several farmers providing Sunday’s ingredients will be there so diners can meet the people who grow their food. Representatives from the Manchester Food Co-op will also be on hand to educate guests about their efforts to make local food more accessible.

Producing Farmers Dinners is now Sarasin’s full-time job. He lines up the restaurants to host the dinners and do the cooking and finds farmers to provide the main ingredients. He will give a little guidance on the menu, but the restaurateurs really get to decide what to create. Sunday’s feast includes a main course of slow-braised boneless beef short ribs. There is also a vegetarian option, as well as options for those who request gluten-free.

This dinner will have an extra twist, with seasonal cocktails made of local spirits paired with each course. Jared Bracci — award-winning mixologist — will create the cocktails using gin and white whiskey from the Nashua distillery Djinn Spirits.

The only part about Sunday’s dinner that makes me a little apprehensive is eating with strangers. Sarasin said all Farmers Dinners are served family-style at long banquet tables.

“We create a sense of community where you’re breaking bread with people you don’t know,” he said, explaining that since everyone there has a passion for local food, natural conversations spring up, and some even lead to business and romantic relationships.

The price, at $65 just for the meals, is also a little scary. But it is for five courses. And let’s face it, if we are serious about changing the way we eat, there’s going to be an added cost.

At press time, there were only seven tickets left for Sunday’s dinner. But don’t worry. More dinners are planned, including one in September on a banquet table for 200 people in the middle of Nashua’s Main Street.

You can find out more by signing up for Sarasin’s newsletter at www.thefarmersdinner.com.

Mini-putting for Cam

Often, people do not know much about a disease until it affects them or one of their family members. That was the case for Rich Hebert and his family, who suddenly had to learn all about cystic fibrosis when Hebert’s grandson, Cameron Soucy, was diagnosed with the life-threatening genetic disease just a few weeks after birth.

Cameron is now 3, and this Saturday Hebert is hosting the inaugural Mini-Putting for Cam tournament at Legends Golf in Hooksett. The tournament will raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and bring more awareness to the disease and the many advancements that have been made in treating it.

“It’s a fun way to get together with people and raise money that will not only help our grandson Cam, but others like him,” Hebert wrote in an email to The Scene.

All are welcome to participate in the tournament, which starts at 11 a.m. and costs $10 per person. There will be food donated by Goldenrod Restaurant and Sal’s Pizza, music, and raffle items. Merchants Motors is the main sponsor. Anyone interested in sponsoring a hole or donating more raffle items can email Hebert at heebs8@hotmail.com.

Yard sale moving

For those of you who look forward to the Amoskeag Communty Volunteers’ annual charity yard sale, you will not find us in our traditional east side Manchester location this year.

Longtime gracious host of this extra-large sale Glenda Hand has passed the torch, and this year’s sale will be held at 9 Rockforest Drive in Hooksett, a beautiful cul-de-sac perfect for all the great deals we will be offering from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday.

Amoskeag Community Volunteers is a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. As far as nonprofits go, we are very small, but we really enjoy the fellowship of the club and providing the little help that we can. Money raised goes to various programs we support, including Easter Seals Seniors Count and Roca Kidz Club, as well as individuals and families who just need a helping hand during a rough time in their life.

We would love your help through a donation to or purchase from our yard sale on Saturday. And if you have any used items in good condition you would like to donate to our sale, please contact me at scene@unionleader.com.


Just when I thought I had seen every fundraiser known to man, I find out about Float the Boat. This Saturday at 2 p.m., a 6-foot cardboard boat will be launched out into Dorrs Pond while onlookers wait for it to sink. With supporters pledging money for every minute it stays afloat, the longer the better.

Hooksett resident Jen Kippin is the brainchild behind this creative fundraiser. It started in 2012 with a cardboard boat she had made as part of her volunteer work with children’s ministries at New Beginnings Assembly of God Church on Conant Street in Manchester.

“I didn’t want to get rid of it because it was such an awesome boat,” she said.

So, she decided to turn it into the Float the Boat (www.floattheboat4m.org) and raise money for Special Touch Ministries, which supports the needs of people with disabilities and runs the North East Special Touch Summer Getaway for the people they serve. Kippin said the money raised will go toward scholarships for the camp.

For more events that float your boat, visit www.NH365.org.

If you have an interesting item for Scene in Manchester, write to Scene@UnionLeader.com.