Farm to Table

Peterborough Farm to Table dinners: Fresh & fantastic

Union Leader Correspondent
September 03. 2013 8:00PM
Summer Rolls served at the Peterborough Agricultural Committee's Farm to Table Dinner last week. Courtesy photo by Annie Card 

PETERBOROUGH — A series of Farm to Table suppers held by the Peterborough Agricultural Commission have become the hot ticket item for local foodies.

The Agricultural Commission — formed two years ago by a town meeting vote — started the dinners in May as a way of showcasing locally grown and raised food.

They were only going to hold three dinners, but they were so successful an additional two dinners are being planned, said

Matt Gifford, a commission member and manager of Rosaly's Garden and Farmstand on Route 123.

About 90 percent of the produce served at the suppers comes from Rosaly's and Walk About Farm CSA in Peterborough.

The meat and dairy comes from Sunnyfield Farm on Route 136.

Last week at the August dinner held at a historic farm on Old Jaffrey Road, Rosaly's Garden and Farmstand provided all the eggplant, tomatoes, herbs, zucchini, peppers, chard, garlic, carrots and edible flowers for all five courses.

This was their first attempt at serving a vegetarian meal and it was a big hit according to chef Samantha Rule, an agriculture commission member and cook at the MacDowell Colony on High Street.

In July, the lamb burgers she grilled up from Sunnyfield Farm were also a big hit. Sunnyfield Farm also provided the dairy for the ice cream.

"I try to let the food speak for itself. I try not to over-complicate the food. I want you to taste the garlic or the herbs," Rule said. "Food will really sing if you just help it a little."

Another component to the suppers is that they are held at either existing farms or historic farms, which means local residents have been donating their lawns, barns and kitchens for the supper series.

The first one in May was held at the barn at Rick and Duffy Monahon's on Four Winds Farm Road. The couple offered to host the first dinner, before they were killed in a car accident in January. Their children insisted on hosting the supper there to honor their parent's wishes.

In July, Kitty Bass Cloud opened her barn on Bass Road for the supper and in August dinner was held at the home of Terry Reeves and David Baum.

There has been overwhelming support and enthusiasm for the local food suppers, Rule said.

"Local food is just not something they have experienced, so I think it's hard to image what that looks likes," she said.

Words like organic and healthy have become marketing gimmicks for the food industry. By holding the suppers, people are getting a first-hand experience with locally and organically produced foods, Rule said.

"There is local organic food being grown in our communities and it's not hard to do. It's right here at our fingertips," she said.

Gifford said they are planning two more suppers this year, in September and October.

Tickets are $40 and cover expenses such as paying the service staff.

The idea behind the dinners is to showcase these local foods, not to make money, Gifford said.

"Rather than try to raise money for the commission, we are doing it as a way to promote local agriculture. Every meal, except for a few minor ingredients, are all sourced from Peterborough," Gifford said. "It's just showing people that it can be done. ... It's actually a really nice time. It's an incredible meal and a lot of fun and it's so nice to see the public really interested and involved with it. Especially as a farmer it's nice to see."

Locations and menus are to be announced. Tickets can be purchased at Rosaly's Garden and Farmstand and Steele's Stationers.

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