Organic Land Care Program Director, CT NOFA
|Jenna Messier and Chris Antezzo, Sr.|
I expected it would be difficult to find a caterer who would be willing to spend time sourcing locally from multiple farms. Fortunately, we found an energetic, young couple who were up to the task, and as our guests can attest; the food was absolutely local and delicious!
I started meeting with Jim Calkins and his wife Michelle of Seasonal Sweets and Catering last summer, as I outlined our desired menu and the particular farms and products which we would like to source. It took 3 to 4 meetings to work out the many details. Jim spent a lot of time reaching out to busy farmers over the summer to identify product availability and costs. We planned for 100 guests with 15 children and 85 adults.
|appetizer table next to the carousel|
|wines and re-usable glass mugs are lined up at the back counter|
Planning the main course proved more difficult, and trying to stick to our budget was even harder. It appears that local, organic growers are not producing at a large enough scale to sell at wholesale rates to caterers and restaurants. This was our experience. So we had to create a menu with a mixture of local and organic produce and meats as these products could be sourced. In the end, our guests were thrilled with all of the dining options. The full menu and list of contributing farms are listed below.
|Pear cupcakes were delightful AND local!|
My favorite part of the meal was our dessert. I really wanted to use our Anjou pears which we cook down and freeze every August. Let's just say that the pears are our family heirlooms, as Chris' grandfather planted the trees 70 years ago! I worked with Michelle to create a recipe for pear cupcakes. She is such a talented baker, to say the least! She came up with a pear cupcake recipe using small chunks of pear, a cream cheese frosting and a honey-pear glaze using with the remaining juice from the bags of frozen pears. Luckily, we have some left over and frozen so we can sample them on future cold and wintry days.
I am so grateful to my best friends from North Tabor Farm in Chilmark, Massachusetts for picking every flower in their field and bunching the loveliest, brightest, most magical flower bouquets ever! While the flowers were not from Connecticut, they did travel by car along with my guests instead of by plane. A heartfelt thank-you to the Miller-Dix Family! And, don't forget to buy local flowers.
|Flowers in barn prior to bunching|
|Matthew Dix, Ruby and Rebecca Miller|
I am sharing this very personal story with you all for one reason: so I can spread the message that we will only be able to eat local and organic food - if we ask for it, seek it out, and are willing to pay a higher price within our own personal limitations. I am so happy that we did! Food for thought...