The feast is onPublished 9:12am Friday, September 4, 2009
By KATHIE HEMPEL
Niles Daily Star
Henry VIII would approve of this dinner.
There is just one week left before this region’s culinary event of the year. The 2009 Harvest Feast Celebration will take place at Springcreek Farm in Three Oaks on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. and what a feast it will be.
This event is the yearly fundraiser for Support Local Agriculture the group featured in the documentary Farm Fresh to You, that debuted on WNIT this year. Both the documentary and the farmers and chefs that form the group have brought area-wide focus on the Michiana region and Berrien County in particular.
Its mission is to raise awareness of, advocate on behalf of and promote sustainable, local agriculture, ensuring that local produce and other agricultural products are available to individuals and organizations now and in the future.
Horror stories of food recalls and poisonings are in the news more often. With much of the produce, we find in major grocery chains travelling from afar and ripening ‘on the road’ rather than on the vine, this group is determined to shine a spotlight on all the benefits of thinking local agriculture, when we shop for our food.
There are many reasons so many chefs locally and from neighboring Chicago shop our local Berrien County farm markets. Among them, two stand out: freshness and flavor.
Three years ago the Harvest Feast Celebration was born to demonstrate these qualities by having local produce prepared by the best chefs around.
This year the chefs preparing the meals are Rachel Collins of Collins Caviar in Michigan City, Ind.; Jenny Drilon of Bentwood Tavern and Judy Kite-Gosh of Retro Café, both located in New Buffalo; Vivian May of Luisa’s Café in Harbert; Tim Sizer of Timothy’s in Union Pier; Ryan Thornburg of Bistro on the Boulevard in St. Joseph; and Chef JP Verhage of Tabor Hill Winery Restaurant in Buchanan.
The menu begins with a house cured (salmon) graviax pizza with cracked pepper, crème fraiche and a duo of Great Lakes caviar, cherry tomatoes stuffed with grilled corn and watercress.
Soup will be Vichyssoise served before a salad of garden fresh tomatoes and herbs tossed with rustic Italian bread cubes and balsamic vinaigrette.
For the main course there is wild caught Lake Superior Whitefish with summer vegetable gratin and a braised beef with carrot gnocchi and cutting celery.
The dessert choices include truffles with Michigan raspberry puree, bittersweet chocolate draped in Belgian white chocolate and phylo tarts filled with blueberries, raspberries and cherries.
Connoisseurs of fine local wines will not be disappointed. Domain Berrien Cellars, Round Barn Winery, Lemon Creek Winery, Tabor Hill Winery and Hickory Creek Winery will all be represented.
The hosts of the event this year will be Allen and Lynn Turner with the dinner happening at their Springcreek Farm. Mistress of Ceremonies will be Janet Davies of ABC 7 out of Chicago.
Tickets are available for a $150 donation to Support Local Agriculture and the reservation form is available online on the Support Local Agriculture events page at www.supportlocalagriculture.org.