The August installment of the summer-long series of farm-to-table dinners at Silver Queen Farm, being held this Thursday, is also a fundraising event for the Meat Locker pilot project. The series of brunches and dinners, which are organized by H&J Hospitality, began in June.
The event space at Silver Queen Farm.The dinner on Thursday will begin with a cocktail hour at 6:30pm, offering a chance to taste selections from Bandwagon Brew Pub, Keeton's Cheese, Wide Awake Bakery, Autumn's Harvest Farm, Myer Farm Distillery, and Cayuga Ridge Winery.
Farm owner Gordon Gallop believes diners should "get a chance to see how their food is grown and ask the grower questions about the farm." Guests at the farm-to-table meals will have the opportunity to take a walking tour of the farm, featuring crops being used as ingredients in the meals.
This month's dinner is a fundraiser for the Meat Locker pilot project, a Cornell Cooperative Extension project that aims to build a shared community walk-in freezer that area residents can use to store bulk purchases of local meat. The facility would also serve as a central delivery point for CSA farm shares.
Gallop says, "Farm-to-table events help foster a closer connection between consumers and the growers of their food, as well as bring out a better understanding of how to eat locally." Silver Queen Farm is well known as a local "u-pick" strawberry farm, and is a regular vendor at nearby farmers markets with a variety of produce. H&J Hospitality operates Joe's Restaurant, a landmark eatery in Ithaca's west end dating back to the 1930s.
The Meat Locker project would also help foster connections between consumers and farms, and make it more affordable for local residents to buy high-quality food. Buying sustainably raised meat straight from a farm in bulk is often less expensive per pound than buying industrially raised meat at a supermarket, and selling straight to consumers allows farms to keep a larger share of the revenue from their sales. Organizers estimate an individual locker, large enough to hold an "average quarter of beef," would cost the consumer $3-5 per month.
Tickets for the dinners, which cost $35 for adults and $15 for children, are available at the H&J web site. The dinner menu features grilled tomato soup, cauliflower au gratin with collard greens, citrus-roasted pork shoulder, and more. A brunch on Sunday, August 25th, features corn fritters and chorizo hash.