Local Food Feast a highlight at Sustainable Ag Con
Editor’s note: This entry is an excerpt from a blog post written by Anneliese Marvel, one of the many talented bloggers who contributed to the Sweet Potato Blog for the Carolina Farm Stewardship at the Sustainable Agriculture Conference. Read more from Ms. Marvel here.
The Local Food Feast at CFSA’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference is always a major event highlight. This year, Food Coordinator Kris Reid and Hyatt Recency Executive Chef Brandon Lemieux used meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, dairy and flour from over 20 local and regional farms to create a colorful and
delicious Local Food Feast for SAC 2014.
The menu highlighted the best aspects of the fall season, when leafy greens and root vegetables are abundant and meat from grass pastured animals is extra flavorful.
Winter Squash and Swiss Chard Stew started off the feast on a sweet and earthy note. The stew was followed by a “deconstructed” Bibb salad, with tender Bibb lettuce, candied bacon, bleu cheese, roasted tomatoes, and a creamy ranch dressing made with locally sourced dairy and herbs.
Next were the sides: a Seasonal Vegetable Mash with potatoes, rutabaga, turnips and beets and delicious steamed sweet corn, which was a special late-season treat. The meat centerpieces were rich chicken and dumplings and braised beef in a Cheerwine barbeque sauce.
But it didn’t end there. The meal was finished off with tender dinner rolls from an Asheville bakery and, my favorite, an apple crisp made with apples from Lowes Orchard.
It goes without saying that the meal was amazing, both in flavor and effort. While farmers’ markets and co-op grocers are fantastic places to shop, they don’t account for the majority of food supplied to eaters in the US. It takes extra effort for small, sustainable farmers and brokers to sell to large local entities like hotels, chain restaurants, and hospitals. Those businesses have to be convinced that stepping away from the existing infrastructure and buying local food is worth their time and money.
Want to read more about the event? Check out this complete blog entry, including a listing of all the foods served at the meal and the farms they came from at Ms. Marvel’s blog.