Ask Farmer Joe: Dinner in the Fields 2016
Freedom Farms has been hosting dinners for the past three years. These events present the perfect opportunity for guests to come out to the farm, see the land, and eat a seasonal feast at the peak of the harvest season. This month Joe King talks about this unique farm-to-fork experience.
Tell us a little bit about the Freedom Farms’ Dinner in the Field series.
Joe King: It’s becoming more popular for local farms to host “dinner in the field” events where people who don’t usually come out to farms get to have a fresh, locally grown meal among friends in a picturesque natural atmosphere. Our farm is less than 20 miles outside of the city of Pittsburgh, and our dinners provide guests with a unique perspective on where their food is coming from, and who is growing their food. We also work with other local vendors such as Winfield Winery, Butler Brew Works, ShuBrew, and Narcisi Winery to incorporate wine tasting and beer sampling.
Additionally, we invite other chefs who have a passion for local eating to partner with us to create delicious menus with ingredients from our farm. This summer we are hosting two different themed dinners at our Event Center, which lies at the edge of one of our farm properties, starting in May and continuing through August. The Dinner in the Field events also offer a great opportunity to mix and mingle with the King family and learn a little more about our operations.
What are the three themes your dinners are following this summer?
JK: Two of our most popular dinners in the past have been our Wine & Dine and Brews & BBQ themed dinners, and we’re excited to be hosting more of these dinners this summer. We also have three exciting new dinners planned with a Cocktails & Entertainment theme. While our team is still planning out some of the logistics for these events, each dinner will highlight some of our favorite local vendors and artists. I’m also excited to see how everyone will enjoy the Cocktails & Entertainment dinners. I envision an old school, prohibition-style event full of music, great food and drinks, along with new and old friends. What could be better? Regardless of which dinner you attend, know that you’re in for a treat with a feast highlighting delicious locally sourced food.
What’s on the menu at these dinners?
JK: For our Dinner in the Fields, we like to celebrate and dine with the bounty of our seasonal harvest. We don’t like to post our menu out ahead of time because we want to showcase what is at the peak of freshness that week – and what Mother Nature allows! I always look forward to the July dinners, around the Fourth is when my brother Tim’s sweet corn is ready. Everything on our plates is so fresh and full of color that time of year. Whether the Sandwich Shop’s Pulled Pork or my Mom’s fried chicken is on the menu, I promise you’ll be pleased. These dinners are an awesome opportunity to meet the farmers, chefs, winemakers and brewers who produce your food.
How is this event any different from your seasonal festivals?
JK: Dinner in the Fields are a much more intimate setting compared to the crowds we see at our festivals. Just like our festivals, we have plenty of great farm-fresh food to serve, but there are only a limited number of seats available for each dinner, and they tend to fill up quickly. These relaxed, seated dinner events allow you to mix and mingle with fellow guests who are also passionate about great food and supporting local businesses. It’s also a great chance to talk to local farmers, because my family and I will be there there serving food, and answering any questions you may have about farming and food.
Planning to attend a Freedom Farms Dinner in the Field Event this summer? Tickets sell out fast, so reserve your seat today for a 2016 Dinner in the Field.