Dinner highlights farm-to-table process
BY AMY FUHRMAN
As each course was served during 220 Café’s Our Farm to Your Table Dinner on Thursday, guests enjoyed dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients and had the chance to meet the farmers who provided food for the meal.
From jade green beans and berries hand-picked by Brian and Amy Howard to ice cream made from Stamey Farms milk, the four-course dinner was intended to shine a spotlight on the deep agricultural roots in Iredell County and the farm-to-table process, said 220 Café owner Kelli Simko Walker.
The meal, created and prepared by Chef John Walker, started with Ashe County Cheeses and fried zucchini. Next, seared Ahi Tuna was served on a bed of kale and cabbage from Howard Family Farms, followed by quinoa with squash and baby bella mushrooms. The main course featured grilled New York strip steaks from Wilkes County’s Apple Brandy Beef, served with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans. Dessert was a strawberry pound cake prepared by Annie Parker and served in mason jars with Howard Farms berries and Front Porch Ice Cream. Each course was paired with an organic wine.
During the dinner, David Stamey discussed both the local roots and global reach of Stamey Farms, explaining that they have provided cows to countries like Columbia, Egypt and Korea. But he also noted that it would be difficult to get much more local and fresh than the yogurt and ice cream made right across the street from the farm and cows providing the milk. “There’s no way that freshness can be locked in faster,” he said.
Phil McLain of McLain Farms said his family has been farming locally for four generations. “Our family was born and raised here and it’s a blessing to us to continue farming,” he said. McLain discussed the advances in farming technology, allowing him to know everything from the amount of rain a field got an hour ago to the exact “prescription” of fertilizer a section of the field needs.
Brian and Amy Howard said they love the experience of people coming to their farm to pick and purchase the produce they grow. This year, they added tulips, which proved to be very popular. “The tulips are the most beautiful thing you’re ever going to see and the people who come pick them are the happiest people,” Brian said.
Annie Parker of Parker’s Market discussed her love for the farmer’s market and creating her baked goods with locally grown ingredients. “Farmers have such a key role in our community and I am so passionate about supporting our local farmers,” she said. “That is the most important thing we can do. “