2011 Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner
Meadow’s Mirth at Berry Hill Farm, Stratham, NH
Sunday, September 18, 2011
The Heirloom Harvest Project, in collaboration with Seacoast Eat Local and Slow Food Seacoast, proudly announces its third annual Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner. This year, the five-course meal will highlight not only local heirloom vegetables, but also heritage breed animals, all raised by local farmers and growers. The grand historic barn at Berry Hill and Meadow’s Mirth Farms in Stratham, NH, will again host this unique event whose goal is to raise funds for local food-based community organizations while generating awareness of sustainable food and farming, agricultural biodiversity, and the community’s extraordinary collaboration of farmers and chefs. Ten of the area’s most celebrated chefs will collaborate on a spectacular menu that will be served by a volunteer crew of impassioned community members.
Led by Chef Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro, participating chefs will prepare elegant dishes highlighting heirloom vegetables grown by local farmers. Complete with locally produced beverages and live music from Mary Dellea emanating from the hayloft, the Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner is always a night to remember. Farmers, chefs and community volunteers will be in attendance and honored at the event.
In addition, Slow Food Seacoast will be distributing free heirloom seeds of the produce featured at the dinner, as well as teaching about how to save your own seeds in the future. Knowing that genetic diversity begins with open pollinated heirloom plants and rare breeds livestock, this dinner highlights the Slow Food philosophy which suggests that if you value the preservation of these historically significant varieties, “…the best thing you can do is eat them!”
Chef Mallett says that, in 2009, he was “not alone in being a chef who had a vision to host a dinner in a barn, but my desire to do something like this didn’t have a cause linked to it.” That was until Evan participated in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste–a celebration of heritage and heirloom varieties that are considered to be at risk or endangered. Now inspired by the plight of heirloom vegetables, Mallett has become engaged with organizations that are striving to preserve and protect this tradition.
Josh and Jean Jennings of Meadow’s Mirth were extremely receptive to having the event held at their barn. The final piece of finding chefs who also supported the cause easily fell into place. “The deep-rooted collaboration of chefs and farmers will sustain this idea well into the future,” says Mallett. In recent months, this event has led to the development of the Heirloom Harvest Project, a network that will continue to build these connections between farmers, chefs and community year-round.
The event would not be possible without the support of many businesses from the community, including Dole & Bailey, Exeter Events and Tents, Farnum Hill Ciders, General Linens, Maine Shellfish Co., M.S. Walker, Salmon Falls Winery, Smuttynose Brewing Co., Throwback Brewery, and Vermont Butter & Cheese.
Tickets for this event have sold out in record time this year, and participating organizations are grateful for the community’s overwhelming response. If interested in supporting the Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner as a volunteer, please contact Briana Cribeyer, Event Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though this event is now sold out, two other dinners featuring local food will take place the evening of September 18th—”From the Ground Up: a Farm Fresh Benefit Dinner” at Arrows Restaurant to celebrate York Land Trust’s 25th Anniversary; and the Applecrest Farm Dinner Series with Chef Mary Dumont and Guest Chef Daniel Dumont.