Everything tastes better when it’s fresh. And the latest trend for fresh food lovers is indulging in farm to table dinners. Extending beyond visiting local, farm-to-table restaurants, diners are now traveling directly to the farm to enjoy mouthwatering meals served family style at harvest tables surrounded by nature’s bounty.
Swallowtail Farm in Alachua, Florida is one such farm bringing community members directly to the land and utilizing local chefs to prepare elaborate dinners right on the farm.
“People are realizing the value of supporting local farms and the importance of knowing where your food comes from,” says Chef Amanda Bisson, manager at The Jones Eastside in Gainesville, Florida. Bisson, one of the chefs who prepared the menu for Swallowtail’s March 23 dinner, notes that events like this not only help the local economy, but they’re also a great way to connect with the farm itself. “Visitors come out and experience the farm as well as their food being prepared by local chefs.”
Swallowtail schedules several farm-to-table dinners a year, and each is a one-night-only, four-course creation from a local chef based on what’s ripe and available in the fields. Wine and local beers are paired with each course.
Dinners with a Purpose
For Swallowtail, the purpose of each dinner goes beyond serving delicious local fare. Each dinner is linked to a specific project, according to Head Farmer Emily Eckhardt. “Our dinners serve as fundraisers for our farm,” she says. Each one funds a particular project to enhance the farm, and the purchase of tickets directly seeds the project. “The goal is to show guests the completed project when they come for the dinner so they can see what they helped accomplish,” says Eckhardt.
Swallowtail dinners are an entire evening’s event. Guests arrive at 4 p.m. to a reception prepared by the farmers. After a brief introduction to the farm, visitors go on a tour where they have the opportunity to see the project they helped fund. When the tour is finished, guests gather back at the harvest table for cocktails, appetizers, music and a chance to meet the chefs. Then, the farmers, landowners and their families serve the meals.
Response to Swallowtail’s dinner events has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Eckhardt. “It’s exciting and surprising for people to see the food in the fields that they are about to eat,” she says. “People rave about the food. And they really experience a huge difference in the quality and the ingredients.”
At the end of the day, Swallowtail’s desire is to help community members connect with the farm and with their food. “It’s a really beautiful farm and such a shareable place,” says Eckhardt. And by hosting these farm-to-table dinners, Swallowtail continues to share its bounty with the entire community.
Get the Farm to Table Menu here:
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