Dinners at the Farm

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Dinners at the Farm
DINNERS
at the FARM
Dinners at the Farm is a series of bene t dinners
shing and the often forgotten value of eating
granted by the Eastern States Exposition
celebrating local food, farms and community.
fresh, vibrant food that was just harvested by
Organization as part of Working Lands Alliance
Created in 2007 by Jonathan Rapp, chef and
a dedicated farmer you know and trust. The
and American Farmland Trust. The award was
owner of River Tavern Restaurant in Chester,
dinners also raise funds for local agricultural and
presented at a ceremony held in the state capitol
Conn. and Drew McLachlan, chef and owner of
humanitarian non-pro t organizations such as
on November 16, 2008. Recreating a sense of
Feast Market in Deep River Conn., Dinners at the
Working Lands Alliance, a project of American
connection to farming, cooking and eating is what
Farm serves as a vehicle generating awareness of
Farmland Trust, CitySeed Urban Farmers Market,
Dinners at the Farm is all about.
the importance and vitality of our local farming
SLOWFOOD-Connecticut, Connecticut Farmland
community and the delicious, wholesome and
Trust, Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries among
On the following pages is a collection of publicity
abundant food it provides us. Each dinner is a
others. In the past two seasons we’ve donated
clips generated by Dinners at the Farm. Each tells
unique experience held in the very elds from
over $28,000 and purchased over $60,000 worth
the story of the dedication and hard work of all
which the evening’s menu is sourced. The menus
of produce from local farmers. Through their
those involved but especially they capture the
are spontaneous and bountiful, highlighting the
hard work with Dinners at the Farm, Jonathan
excitement and energy of supporting something
richness of our local traditions of farming and
and Drew were awarded the PathFinder Award
so bene cial to so many.
national media
Futuristic Guides and Farm Dining
coalition of customers—something absolutely crucial
in a town with fewer people than the number that
walked by Etats-Unis in a day. In our own minds, we
were the best restaurant around—but the fact was,
we weren't connecting with our customers.
A Moveable Feast
I set out to change that, starting with my own attitude.
By PAIGE REDDINGER
Our customers here at River Tavern have a different
set of assumptions and expectations of a restaurant
than I had come to expect in New York City. Good
food and service are still paramount, but they want it
in a package that’s familiar. Our customers tend to be
more conservative and less excited by the prospect
of being challenged by their dinner.
While our fundamentals remained unchanged, I
redirected much of the focus, work, and imagination
that I had given to cooking to the task of growing a
truly successful, sustainable business—one based on
a real concern and strategy for making our customers
happy.
The Entrepreneur: Jonathan Rapp, 41
Background: After a 10-year run operating the
Michelin-starred, critically acclaimed New York City restaurant
Etats-Unis with his father, Rapp moved to the small village of
Chester (Conn.) seven years ago to strike out on his own.
The Company: River Tavern is a 55-seat restaurant serving a
menu that changes daily, sourced with local ingredients.
From the outset, Rapp hoped to create a neighborhood spot
that was good enough to draw customers from across the
whole state.
Revenues: $1.6 million (estimated for 2008)
His Story: When I opened River Tavern in tiny Chester, I knew
the path to becoming successful in rural Connecticut would
be different than in Manhattan,
but I gured that my restaurant experience coupled
with my intimate knowledge of the area would give
me a big head start. I had a successful concept, a
large group of excited supporters, and was opening
in a charming, well-to-do town with a reputation for
sophistication.
Two dif cult years later, with business shrinking and criticism
even from supporters impossible to ignore, I was trying to
gure out what had gone wrong and how I could x it. The
restaurant was essentially
bankrupt, kept alive for the moment with loans from friends and
family. It was time to take a hard, unforgiving look at my
assumptions, my approach, and
our execution.
TAKING STOCK
I had been cooking since I was 12; my rst restaurant
job was at 14. My hero was Alice Waters, who had
made a religion of cooking careful, simple food from
only the freshest, locally produced ingredients. I was
a disciple. Etats-Unis was about the food. I spent
hours each week at the Union Square Greenmarket,
lugging hundreds of pounds of local produce back
to the restaurant. Two more mornings a week were
spent at the Fulton Fish Market scouring the stalls for
the freshest sh.
In the open kitchen, I was driven, uncompromising,
and I must admit, a bit of a jerk. Too often, customers could
hear and see my dad and me arguing. Our staff likewise
endured my occasional profane
outbursts. But the food was great and we had a loyal
following that appreciated the restaurant for its quality and
unique personality. The food press loved us. Of course, we
also alienated plenty of customers. But with literally millions
of potential customers, great publicity, and 30 seats, it didn't
much matter. New York City rewards that kind of obsessive,
slightly arrogant focus. Rural Connecticut? Not so much.
By Year Two, the trouble signs were too numerous to miss.
Numbers were declining for both customers and revenue.
There was a persistent drumbeat of
criticism of virtually every aspect of the restaurant, except the
food. No matter what we did, we couldn't shake the
perception that we were too expensive,
too “New York-y” (a nasty epithet here), and on top of
that, had inconsistent, aloof service and a menu that
was too limited. My staff and I became increasingly
demoralized. With losses mounting, I had to go back
to my investors and family for more money just to
make payroll and pay necessary bills. I was getting
desperate.
The bottom came at the end of 2003. With my newborn son
in intensive care, I became distracted from the business.
Worse, the restaurant now felt like a
stone around my neck. My father suggested that
I sell and start over. When we took a hard look at the
numbers, we discovered that there was nothing to
sell. As tempting as it was at that point to just give
up, deep down I knew I couldn't allow myself to quit.
I was doing what I loved right? I couldn't fail.
Revising the Recipe
I realized that I had had the equation backwards. I was
making decisions based on what I wanted. I hadn't been
willing to make the compromises (as
I saw it) sometimes necessary to create a broad
For starters, I red my very talented chef who refused
to make the changes that I felt necessary to save the
restaurant. We renovated the dining room to make it
more comfortable and warmer, and we expanded our
offerings with an inexpensive bar menu full of simple
favorites. We also tried to make the restaurant more
accessible, opening for lunch and dinner every day.
We offered a roster of half-priced weeknight specials:
wine on Mondays and Tuesdays, cocktails on
Wednesdays, beer on Thursdays, and a family dinner
on Sundays where children could eat for free.
Once we implemented those changes, we started
thinking about how to extend our reach and capture
new customers for the future. We began publishing
a seasonal calendar of special events: monthly wine
lunches, town-wide holiday events, and art openings
with local artists. Our collaborations with local artists,
restaurants, and businesses draws on and reinforces
our image as a member of an unique, thriving village.
Our customers love the sense that we are working
creatively together to make Chester vibrant.
By far the best and most promising idea I’ve had is
Dinners at the Farm, a summertime series of outdoor
dinners that we put on in the elds of local farms. The
food, 100% locally produced, is cooked from scratch
on our bright red 1955 Ford re truck kitchen. Each
dinner bene ts a local agricultural nonpro t. O ver
the past two seasons, we have donated $28,000 and
purchased over $50,000 worth of food and wine from
local producers. More than 150 guests show up on
any given night.
I now get as much satisfaction from the challenges
of keeping my restaurant fresh and exciting as I did
from cooking. It is now more than twice as busy as
it was and growing at 20% a year—teeming daily
with regulars and newcomers. With the economy
slumping, things will certainly be tough in the coming
months, but I think we are in a better position than
many of our competitors.
Looking back over the last four years, I am amazed
at the change in my restaurant. River Tavern now
embodies the idea that while you can’t be all things to
all people, you can be a lot of things to many.
—edited by Stacy Perman
As the sun sets in the horizon, a member of the Outstanding in the Field team chops vegetables on the
cutting board as guests wait eagerly in the fields.
“Forget trying to get a reservation at Joel Robuchon or The French Laundry. This summer's coveted tables are out in
farm fields, literally. A raft of new businesses started by restauranteurs and food enthusiasts are offering outdoor
culinary experiences everywhere from the Napa Valley to Spain's Basque country. The idea is to supply diners with
great food and ambience and to reconnect them to the land where the food is grown while supporting local farms and
artisans.”
“... ...Dinners at the Farm meals, however, are always prepared by its founders, chefs Jonathan Rapp of River
Tavern in Chester, CT and Drew McLachlan of Feast Gourmet Market in Deep River, CT. They
started the company two years ago after hosting several outdoor dinners at nightfall after a local farmer's
market. Rapp and McLachlan make everything from scratch right down to the bread, charcuterie and
preserves. Due to the increasing popularity of these dinners which range from $100-$180 a plate, they sell
out months in advance. Rapp and McLachlan are even contemplating franchising their business by
creating partnerships with other chefs and farms to help spread the word about supporting small local
agriculture and preserving farmland. At the end of the day, all the cooking and hard work boils down to one
simple fact: "There's just something about the spirit of cooking and eating in the very field that the food came
from that's pretty special," says Rapp.”
www.dinnersatthefarm.com
Diners across the U.S. head to the farm
Posted 9/28/2007 3:53 AM
By Cara Rubinsky, Associated Press Writer
LYME, Conn. — Forget the maitre d’ and import
ed caviar. Sophisticated diners are now tromping
across muddy elds and braving mosquito bites
to eat gourmet food at its very source.
Outdoor dinners at family farms, popular on
the West Coast for several years, are making their
way east as part of a local food movement fueled
by concerns about tainted food and a desire to
eat vegetables grown nearby rather than halfway
around the world.
“The cruel irony is that this is the way every
one used to eat,” said chef and restaurant owner
Jonathan Rapp, a co-founder of Connecticut’s
Dinners at the Farm series. “Now it is special,
and hopefully we’re going to get to a point where
it becomes ordinary again, where eating whole
some, locally grown delicious food is every day.”
While the U.S. Department of Agriculture
doesn’t keep statistics on farm dinners, the Con
necticut program isn’t alone.
A California company, Outstanding in the
Field, started with two farm dinners for 60 to
70 people in the Santa Cruz area in 1999. A few
years later, Chef Jim Denevan and his crew were
traveling across the country.
This year, joined by chefs from all over,
they’ll have served 80 to 140 people at ea ch of
14 dinners in California, Massachusetts, Canada,
Illinois, New York and Kentucky since June. The
next is Sunday in California’s Sonoma County.
“Everybody has to eat and they eat every day,
yet previously no one had any idea where their
food came from,” Denevan said. “People realized
along the line that the story of where the food
came from might make food more interesting but
also make it taste better.”
Denevan has been pleased to see similar din
ners elsewhere, including some put on in Oregon
by a company called Plate & Pitchfork.
“I think our goals have been met when they
just kind of pop up in obscure places and people
don’t necessarily know where they got the idea,”
Denevan said.
Connecticut’s Dinners at the Farm series was
conceived last fall as Rapp hunched over a Weber
grill in the pouring rain to cook at a fundraiser.
He and local farm owner Chip Dahlke wanted
to feed more people the same way. They enlisted
Drew McLachlan, a chef and gourmet market
owner, to join them in planning and executing
10 dinners, each held at a different farm to raise
money for charities.
USA Today picked up the AP wire story as did over 30 other publications
throughout the country [Including a slideshow with commentary].
They out tted a 1955 Ford F600 with a smok
er grill and a six-burner commercial range and
approached area farmers about supplying produce
and locally raised meats.
“We’re friends with the people who grew all
this food,” Rapp said. “Most of the people who
eat here know the people who grew this food. It
adds a whole other human element to it.”
They originally hoped to feed 80 people at
each event, but now draw nearly twice that. A
recent dinner in a southeastern Connecticut horse
pasture drew more than 150 people, who gathered
at long tables for a 10-course meal made only of
ingredients from less than 30 miles away.
“Whatever is happening here, it’s a good
thing,” Dahlke said. “This will probably be re
membered like Woodstock was in 1969.”
Guests who pay $85 a ticket never know
exactly what they’ll be eating or who they’ll be
sitting with until they show up that night. Often
the farmers who produced the food are there to
talk about it.
“It’s very exible and free, and in a lot of
ways that’s sort of the point, that we’re working
with whatever’s available, whatever’s freshest,
whatever’s best at that moment,” Rapp said.
Guests are warned ahead of time to wear
sturdy shoes, and no one seems to mind the
occasional bug bite or mud puddle.
“This is so wonderful to actually be in the spot
where your food was grown, and it reconnects
you to nature,” said Alyse Chin of East Haddam,
whose sister bought her and her husband dinner
tickets as a birthday present.
Course after course emerged from the kitchen,
bruschetta and pizza appetizers followed by three
different types of salad, a hearty sh soup and
three main courses.
Stomachs already full, diners groaned, then dug
in as volunteer waiters distributed bowls of peach
cobbler. Strangers no more, they shook hands and
exchanged phone numbers, promising to call or visi t.
It’s a scene familiar to Kathy Stephenson of
Old Lyme, who attended a dinner this summer
and was so smitten that she became a volunteer
member of the kitchen staff.
“There’s a glow under the tent, it’s great food,
people are happy,” she said as she chopped squ id
to top a pizza appetizer. “They’re drinking wine
and they’re eating great food and I think they
know they’re part of something really special.
It’s really magical.”
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Diners Across the U.S. Head to the Farm
Sep 28 02:53 AM US/Eastern
By CARA RUBINSKY, Associated Press Writer
LYME, Conn. (AP) - Forget the maitre d’ and imported caviar.
Sophisticated diners are now tromping across muddy elds and
braving mosquito bites to eat gourmet food at its very source.
They out tted a 1955 Ford F600 with a smoker grill and a six -burner
commercial range and approached area farmers about supplying
produce and locally raised meats.
Outdoor dinners at family farms, popular on the West Coast for several years,
are making their way east as part of a local food movement fueled by
concerns about tainted food and a desire to eat vegetables grown
nearby rather than halfway around the world.
“We’re friends with the people who grew all this food,” Rapp said. “Most
of the people who eat here know the people who grew this food. It adds
a whole other human element to it.”
“The cruel irony is that this is the way everyone used to eat,”
said chef and restaurant owner Jonathan Rapp, a co -founder of
Connecticut’s Dinners at the Farm series. “Now it is special, and
hopefully we’re going to get to a point where it becomes ordinary
again, where eating wholesome, locally grown delicious food is
every day.”
While the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t keep statistics on farm
dinners, the Connecticut program isn’t alone.
A California company, Outstanding in the Field, started with two farm
dinners for 60 to 70 people in the Santa Cruz area in 1999. A few years later,
Chef Jim Denevan and his crew were traveling
across the country.
This year, joined by chefs from all over, they’ll have served 80 to 140 people
at each of 14 dinners in California, Massachusetts, Canada, Illinois, New
York and Kentucky since June. The next is
Sunday in California’s Sonoma County.
“Everybody has to eat and they eat every day, yet previously no one had any
idea where their food came from,” Denevan said. “People realized along
the line that the story of where the food came from might make food more
interesting but also make it taste better.”
Denevan has been pleased to see similar dinners elsewhere,
including some put on in Oregon by a company called Plate &
Pitchfork.
“I think our goals have been met when they just kind of pop up in obscure
places and people don’t necessarily know where they got the idea,”
Denevan said.
Connecticut’s Dinners at the Farm series was conceived last fall as
Rapp hunched over a Weber grill in the pouring rain to cook at a
fundraiser.
He and local farm owner Chip Dahlke wanted to feed more people the
same way. They enlisted Drew McLachlan, a chef and gourmet market
owner, to join them in planning and executing 10 dinners, each held at a
different farm to raise money for charities.
They originally hoped to feed 80 people at each event, b ut now
draw nearly twice that. A recent dinner in a southeastern Connecticut
horse pasture drew more than 150 people, who gathered at
long tables for a 10-course meal made only of ingredients from less than
30 miles away.
“Whatever is happening here, it’s a good thing,” Dahlke said. “This will
probably be remembered like Woodstock was in 1969.”
Guests who pay $85 a ticket never know exactly what they’ll be eating or
who they’ll be sitting with until they show up that night. Often the farmers
who produced the food are there to talk about it.
“It’s very exible and free, and in a lot of ways that’s sort of the point, that
we’re working with whatever’s available, whatever’s freshest, whatever’s
best at that moment,” Rapp said.
Guests are warned ahead of time to wear sturdy shoes, and no one
seems to mind the occasional bug bite or mud puddle.
“This is so wonderful to actually be in the spot where your food was
grown, and it reconnects you to nature,” said Alyse Chin of East Haddam,
whose sister bought her and her husband dinner tickets as a birthday
present.
Course after course emerged from the kitchen, bruschetta and pizza
appetizers followed by three different types of salad, a hearty
sh soup and three main courses.
Stomachs already full, diners groaned, then dug in as volunteer
waiters distributed bowls of peach cobbler. Strangers no more,
they shook hands and exchanged phone numbers, promising to
call or visit.
It’s a scene familiar to Kathy Stephenson of Old Lyme, who attended a
dinner this summer and was so smitten that she became a volunteer
member of the kitchen staff.
“There’s a glow under the tent, it’s great food, people are happy,” she said
as she chopped squid to top a pizza appetizer. “They’re drinking wine
and they’re eating great food and I think they know they’re part of
something really special. It’s really magical.”
July 27, 2008
connecticut media
July 26, 2007
July 26, 2007
July 5, 2007
CONNECTICUT MAGAZINE | August 2007
August 9, 2007
CONNECTICUT COTTAGES & GARDENS | August 2007
INK | August 2007
INK | August 2007, continued
EDIBLE NUTMEG | Summer 2007
EDIBLE NUTMEG | Spring 2008
EDIBLE NUTMEG | Spring 2008 continued
EDIBLE NUTMEG | Spring 2008 continued
July 13, 2007
May 10, 2007
May 21, 2008
July 13, 2007
November 30, 2007
July 4, 2008
September 6, 2008
July 5, 2007
Dinners at the Farm Celebrate Local Food
By: JULIE ANNE RANCOURT, Special to The Press
CHESTER—The idea grew out of a passion
for cooking, the joy of being outdoors and
a desire to give back to local farmers and
charities.
When chefs Jonathan Rapp and Drew
McLachlan met and became friends, they started
talking about cooking dinners for people outside in a
natural setting. They thought they’d do it once or twice a
summer.
They’re now in their second season of
“Dinners at the Farm” and hosting 12 dates this
season. Last year, they donated more than
$17,000 to local non-pro t organizations and
purchased more than $30,000 worth of local
farm produce.
The pair recently hosted three dinners to
bene t the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries
at the garden behind Grace Church on Main Street in
Old Saybrook.
SSK&P served more than 500,000
meals last year and distributed food through four
pantries in area churches. The garden where the
dinner was held has produced an average of
10,000 pounds of produce each season it’s
been grown.
And although the need for SSK&P ser
vices normally increases about 12 percent
each year, this year’s tough economic times
drove it up 43 percent. Through Dinners at
the Farm, Rapp and McLachlan donated
$3,000 to SSK&P which will translate to
12,000 meals for the food-dependent.
As well as offering a beautiful setting for
the evening’s dinner, the SSK&P garden also
provided some of the items on the menu,
including purslane—a “naturally occurring
vegetable product,” as Patty Dowling, direc
tor of the SSK&P, described it.
“It’s a weed,” Claudia Van Nes, SSK&P
volunteer and board member retorted.
Van Nes started the garden six years
ago and explained that it is tended by volunteers
and has expanded to more than twice the size
since its inception.
The purslane was used in the recipe
Seared Scallop With Purslane Molé And
Corn Salsa.
The dinner featured seven courses as
well as appetizers and wine selections to
compliment the meal and not all the ingre
dients were as pedestrian as the purslane.
Dinners at the Farm takes dining al fres
co to a new level. According to its Web site,
“Guests are seated under a twilight sky to a
long white, linen-draped table adorned with
stunning wild owers, antique reproduction
copper lanterns (which are handmade in
Ivoryton), white porcelain table settings and
silverware.”
The menu for Dinners at the Farm is
spontaneous, based on what’s available
and fresh off the docks. Diners are encour
aged to come hungry and enjoy a “truly
magical and delicious dining experience.”
The gourmet feast began with Cool
Summer Squash Soup with Clams and Pesto
before moving on to the scallop course.
Much of the seafood was purchased on
the docks of Stonington. McLachlan said,
“The Connecticut shing industry is on its
last leg,” but anyone can walk up to the
docks and purchase the catch of the day,
getting the freshest catch possible and
supporting local shermen.
Then there was Gnocchetti With Summer
Vegetable Guanciale and Herbs, followed by
Pan-Seared Striped Bass With Squash, Tomato
and Onion Ragout.
And the meat courses consisted of
Chicken Braised With Wild Mushrooms,
Carrots, Onions and Tomatoes and Grilled
Paillard of Beef With Lettuces and Corn On
The Cob.
The evening was topped off with a light summer
Fruit Tri e for dessert.
In welcoming their guests, Rapp, owner
of River Tavern in Chester, and McLachlan,
owner of the Deep River Feast Market, ex
plained why these dinners were so impor
tant to them.
All ingredients were purchased locally
in an effort to bring business to local farmers and
shermen and to raise awareness of what they
have to offer.
“One of the main points of this exercise is to
showcase the incredible bounty that exists in
New England, especially in Connecticut,” Rapp
told the crowd.
“Everything that you’re going to eat to
night was harvested within 20 or 30 miles,
most of it more local than that,” Rapp con
tinued.
“The our for the tempura came from that
little patch right there,” Rapp told the diners as they
applauded the appetizer that they had just enjoyed.
Dowling thought it tied in nicely with the
effort to help SSK&P. “It’s such a nice con
nection with the local food and farming. The
more local food we have, the cheaper it’ll be
and more easily available,” Dowling said.
Other than the food, the star of the
evening was the 1955 candy-apple red Ford
F-600 pick-up truck, which serves as a mobile
kitchen. The atbed of the truck has been
retro tted with a six-burner stove, a grill top,
sink, refrigerator as well as a food prep area.
The truck was purchased as a practical mat
ter to make the series of dinners mobile, but
it adds a tting pastoral centerpiece for the
evening.
Tickets are $130. Dinners at the Farm
draws people from as far away as Penn
sylvania and has been featured in Time
magazine.
Some diners came for the experience
of eating outdoors. Some came for the
gourmet menu. And all applauded Rapp
and McLachlan’s efforts to help out those
less fortunate.
Dinners at the Farm will next be at White Gate Farm
in East Lyme Aug. 15 to 17; and at Humdinger Farm,
Hamden, Sept. 12 to 14.
For information, see www.dinnersat
thefarm.comor call (860) 526-9417.
RIVER & SHORE | Summer 2008
August 6, 2008
While many restaurants grow stale over time, not this
one. Last year Jonathan headed up the wildly successful
“Dinners at the Farm” with his longtime friend Drew
McLachlan. Local, seasonal, farm-fresh fare is the star
at these dinners. The series raised $17,000 for various
charities and this year these movable feasts will take place
throughout the summer at different picturesque locales.
June 6, 2007
June 6, 2007
May 10, 2007
July 26, 2008
Jonathan Rapp and Drew McLachlan have
volunteered their time and shared their understanding
of good foods with our communities. Their
commitment to the bene ts of utilizing local food
systems has been an integral part in the education of
our children.
May 10, 2007
December 27, 2007
September 27, 2007
May 15, 2008
June 14, 2007
television, radio,
and online media
Dinners at the Farm
By Dorie Greenspan
They’re being called Dinners at the Farm, but the y
might just as well be called a community revolution,
since these summer meals could change everything
about the way the people in our little stretch of Con
necticut think about what they eat and whom they
eat it with.
From now through early October, there will be
ten dinners, each held on a farm, each bene ting a lo
cal non-pro t organization and each serving only the
foods sold at the Lyme Farmers Market - translation:
foods from within about a 30-mile radius of dinner.
The series is the brainchild of Chip Dahlke, own
er of Ashlawn Farm and host of the Farmers Mar
ket; the gifted Jonathan Rapp, chef/owner of River
Tavern in Chester, Drew and Claudine McLachlan,
who own Feast Gourmet Market in Deep River,
and, of course, the farmers.
Friday night, under a sky that was alternately
threatening, wet and gorgeous - we had a ray or
two of sun, a couple of downpours, a rainbow, black
clouds, then stars and a peek-a-boo moon - there
was a kick-off dinner for the farmers and winemak
ers whose products we would be savoring all sum
mer, organizers from the groups that will receive
donations from the dinners, and local press.
We all ate at one very long table and it was mag
ical to look in either direction and see people eat
ing and drinking fresh, beautifully prepared food,
laughing, talking and marveling at the setting.
The menu was put together late in the afternoon,
only after Jonathan knew what ingredients he’d
have in hand, and everything was prepared on Riv
er Tavern’s “chuckwagon,” a red 1953 Ford atbed
out tted with a commercial range, a smoker a nd
some racks and counters.
The food was both simple and amazing for its
goodness, quality and perfect preparation: warm squid
(see below), a mixed seafood salad with scallops, lob
ster, Stonington red shrimp and bass on a bed of pris
tine greens, a porchetta with roasted tomatoes and a
strawberry crostata with whipped cream. Every bite
of food came from a farmer or producer who was seat
ed at the table and we drank wine from local Chamard
Vineyards with the winemakers right there.
Everything was served family style and it was
lovely to be passing the food among us and serving
one another.
There was a lot of table-hopping (if you can call
jumping up to talk to people who are all at the same
table table-hopping) and even truck-hopping - yes,
that’s Jacques Pepin up there with Jonathan, who’s
on the right.
In fact, Jacques will be cooking at one of the
summer dinners and Jonathan asked me if I’d do
desserts for a couple of them. Yes, yes, of course,
I said “yes!”
It was an inspired evening and I left
ing if such evenings would be possible at Farmers
Markets around the country. The effort is huge and
it’s not every chef who wants to cook for a crowd
when he doesn’t have a clue about what will turn up
in the larder, but the rewards for a community are
tremendous.
wonder For me, it was extraordinary to be able to share
the food of our region with the people who grow and
produce it. It was another lesson in the power of food
and one I wish everyone could have.
Can we start a movement? Is there already a
movement?
doriegreenspan.com Sunday, 24 June 2007
Down on the Farm
By Colin McEnroe
August 17, 2008
You may have heard of Dinners at the Farm, a Con
necticut program in which food enthusiasts actu
ally go to to a farm where much of the ingredients
are produced. Some of the proceeds go to a related
charity. Last night, in perfect, gentle summer tem
peratures and under a breathaking full moon, we
ate at White Gate Farm in Lyme. Seven courses, us
ing meat, sh, cheese, fruits, wines and vegetables
drawn from all over the state. Drew McLachlan
and Jonathan Rapp were our chefs. The bene ciary
was Working Lands Alliance a project of American
Farmland Trust.
It was one of those rare dinners that remind you
of what food really is—something sacred, emotional,
beauitful, integral.
But the fabulous Michelle Paulson pictures tell it
better.
And our chefs for the evening, who cooked all of
the meals from the back of an ingeniously equipped
truck.
media placement - 2 0 0 7
public relations &
marketing
communications
consultant
media placement for 2 0 0 8
Dinners at the Farm
public relations &
marketing
communications
consultant
National
Conde Nast Traveler, February 2008
TIME MAGAZINE June 30, 2008 “A Moveable Feast”
New York Times July 30, 2008 “Feasting on the Farm for Charity” Orlando
Sentinel April 2008 “Savor Farm-fresh Flavor from Coast to Coast” BusinessWeek
- Small Business Feature, November 24, 2008
Media placement for 2007 include:
Chester Elementary Lunch
Hartford Courant Town section Chester Elementary school lunch ½ page article and photo
Valley Courier Front page photo with full page article inside
New Haven Register News and notes section
Dinners at the Farm
Hartford Courant Cal section
Dorrie Greenspan Blog, Food Writer & Cookbook Author
WTIC 1080 Ray and Diane Show phone interview
WTNH Channel 8 Nine minute studio interview with cooking demo
Shore View Local paper one ½ page article and two weeks later full-page story front page of Living Section
Shore Publishing - Valley Courier ¼ page teaser front section w/full-page front page of Living section plus ¼ page
continuation of article complete with photos
Lyme Times
New Haven Register
Manchester Journal Inquirer
Providence Journal Food Notes section
Event listing on Saveur website
August issue of CT Magazine
Summer issue of Edible Nutmeg
August issue of INK Magazine
Hartford Courant FLAVOR Section front-page
New Haven Advocate Story
Associated Press Story with a known pick-up of over 30 publications across the country including AP created full-color
video clip complete with recorded audio narration from client
Food & Wine: Dinners at the Farm story included on their Blog, describing Hay House Farm dinner
FarmAid2007 NYC
Hartford Courant Cal section
MSNBC Farm Story (related to FarmAid Event) - Interview with Nunzio
Fox 61 New York interview as part of station’s coverage of Homegrown festival
Holiday Farm Dinner - Hale Hill Farm
Hartford Courant Cal section
Shore View
Valley Courier
Radio Interview (10 minutes) on the Kal London “CT’s Secret Treasures” WMRD/WMMR
Connecticut Media
Valley Courier, May 22, 2008 “Getting Back to the Farm - Dinners at the Farm 2008”
Valley Courier, July 2008 “Sherwood Nursery School Kids Get Back to Nature”
Hartford Courant June 5, 2008 Dining Section “A Farmers Showcase: Dinners Feature the Best
Ingredients, And It’s for a Good Cause”
Hartford Courant CAL Section, Best Bets, June 5, 2008
Hartford Courant, July 17, 2008 “Learning & Lunch Fresh Picked”
Hartford Courant, July 26, 2008 “A Good Meal on the Go”
ShoreView, July 3, 2008, “A Feast in the Fields”
Middletown Press August 6, 2008 TASTE Feature “Fresh, Locally-grown Food Focus of Dinners”
Edible Nutmeg Magazine-Summer “From a Moveable Feast” Including three recipes New Haven
Register, July 7, 2008 Front page feature of LIFE section with photos New England Wine Gazette,
September 2008
Television & Radio
WFSB Channel 3 CT Grown/Dinners at the Farm Cooking Demo May 31, 2008 WFSB
Channel 3 “Better Connecticut” September 11, 2008
WTNH Channel 8 Farm Dinner Cooking Demo “Live” outside studio with Truck
NBC-30 Farm Dinner/Soup Kitchen specially produced piece aired July 10 th
NBC-30 6:00 News, Lead News Story Live from Soup Kitchen Garden July 13, 2008 WTICColin McEnroe “Drive Time” Show May 6, 2008 - Jonathan Live interview
WTIC- Colin McEnroe “Drive Time” Show July 25, 2008 (MP dressed as a Cucumber)
WTIC- Colin McEnroe “Drive Time” Show August 18, 2008 Colin Talks up Dinners
WDRC-1080 The Phil Miken Show, July 8, 2008 (MP interviewed)
WDRC-1080 The Phil Miken Show, July 22, 2008 Jonathan & Nunzio
WLIS/WMRD June 26, 2008
WLIS/WMRD July 1, 2008
WLIS/WMRD July 8, 2008
On-line
Metromix Connecticut “Dinner at the Farm”
PeterGreenberg.com “Eat Like a Local Even if You’re Not One”
Colin McEnroe Radio Personality - Blog
GreenScene.com
Chow.com Blog
Special Mentions
 Department of Agriculture’s Farm-to-Chef Program January, February & March
Newsletters
 Department of Agriculture’s 1 st Annual Farm-to-Chef Meeting - Jonathan Rapp,
keynote speaker and panelist, MP meeting moderator
 Connecticut Public Television’s Farm-to-Table Fundraising dinner, Jonathan and Drew
keynote speakers along with Faith Middleton Radio Host
Special Awards
 Pathfinder Award - Recognized as outstanding educational leader by Working Lands
Alliance a project of American Farmland Trust, nominated by SlowFood CT Chapter  Earth
Charter Award
michelle paulson, public relations
email: [email protected]
phone: 860.391.1606
michelle paulson, PR, email: [email protected] phone: 860.391.1606
Design by Nancy Freeborn
Photography by Michelle Parr Paulson
Dinners at the Farm Logo design & Corn Illustration by Cummings & Good
River Tavern Restaurant 23 Main Street Chester CT
Feast Gourmet Market 159 Main Street, Deep River CT