The Farmer and the Chef upstate event was just as spectacular as its downstate counterpart (read about the downstate event here). I was fortunate enough to partake in the upstate event’s VIP reception, where we heard from Rik Miller, president of DuPont Crop Protection, Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, and longtime March of Dimes supporters and volunteers Cindy and Joel Serrano. Though each speech was individualistic in nature, there was an overarching theme: Supporting a local cause by celebrating food, farming and the community.
More than 30 chefs and restaurants collaborated with upward of 20 farms to create dishes that highlighted the fruits and veggies of the season.
There was a seasonable difference between the upstate and downstate events. It was still thoroughly summer during The Farmer and The Chef South, but now the weather has gotten a little crisper and so have the fruits and vegetables. Items like squash, apples and spice filled almost every dish. Some of the highlights include: Home Grown Café’s Green Lamb and Cheese bite, a spin on green eggs and ham from 2 Fat Guys, and Cavatelli Portobello Funghi from Soffritto Italian Grill.
I usually like to save my desserts for later, but once you got in a line, you didn’t want to leave (as some dishes had us wrapped around an entire area, waiting for our turn). So we just tried everything as we went along. Some of those delectable desserts included macaroons from Hotel du Pont, apple cider doughnuts from Highland Orchards and gingersnap ice cream from Woodside Creamery. The most creative dessert award goes to William Penn High School for what looked like a mushroom sitting in dirt—and it was anything but. The “dirt” was creamed Oreos with a cute, sweet, mushroom-shaped meringue popping out of it. It also included candied beets and squash,and was topped off with kiwi berry. My favorite finish of the night was the honey crisp apples foster served over Woodside Farm Creamery’s pumpkin ice cream with a cup of Milburn Orchards’ red and white raspberry-infused hot apple cider with Rogue Hazelnut Spiced Rum—a big thanks to Ernest & Scott for that treat!
After counting up all the votes for favorite dishes and displays, The Farmer and The Chef organization announced the winners:
- First Place Chef Eric Aber from Home Grown Café with Powers Farm and Filasky’s
- Second Place Chef Jim Berman and Chef Michael Mullen and Delcastle High School Cooks & Bakers with Tommy Eliason’s Kalmar Farm
- Third Place Jim Mitchell’s Woodside Farm and his cows
- Rookie of the year Chef Donny Merrill from Skipjack with Milburn Orchards, Cool Breeze Gourmet Greens LLC and Terrapin Station Farm
- Best Booth Decorations went to 2 Fat Guys for its Seuss-themed setup, To-Jo Mushrooms for the beautiful and modern decor, and Willey Farms for the illuminated pumpkin display.
Can’t wait for next year’s event!