By Voice of Alexandria on Jul 12, 2018
LITTLE FALLS, Minn. – The second annual Summer Harvest Dinner will celebrate the tastes of the season with local farmers, where the community is invited to dine alongside their food producer in a unique meal setting. The five-course meal on Friday, July 27 will be held at Sprout (609 13th Ave NE, Door 8, Little Falls, MN 55345). Each course is prepared by a different chef to showcase the culinary skills of the region and the creativity of utilizing local ingredients in the dish. The ingredients are sourced through Sprout’s Food Hub operation which works with a network of local growers to supply fresh local produce to schools, hospitals, co-ops, and restaurants. Local growers who supply their product for the Summer Harvest Dinner are invited to the dinner to enjoy the fruits of their labor and share their stories and work with their neighbors.
The opportunity to dine alongside one’s local food producer, celebrating their hard work during the height of this growing season, is one way that Sprout seeks to lift up the rich agricultural region of Central Minnesota. Sprout aims to honor the work of growers and producers in our community by inviting them to take the night off to relax and enjoy a gourmet meal, eating their own carefully raised seasonal ingredients and getting to know customers who enjoy their food, as it is prepared and served by expert chefs. The dinner begins at 5:00 p.m. with cocktails and live music by Erik Espe featuring his talents on piano, guitar, and vocals inspired by musical legends such as Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Cat Stevens, as well as Broadway musicals, and other favorites.
Five chefs who advocate for buying local food will prepare the five-course gourmet meal using the freshest offerings of Central Minnesota and serve it with wine pairings by sommelier Scott Lindman of Paustis Wine Company. The farmers providing those fresh ingredients will be seated at each table, wining and dining alongside guests and ready to talk about how and why they produce their meat, produce, grains, and other products. Little Falls chef Tomas Zimmerman (A.T. The Black & White) participated in the first annual Summer Harvest Dinner and is looking forward to this year’s event. Chef and owner of Zoomski's Midtown Cafe in Little Falls, Minn., Ron Lyschik, is a new addition to the chef lineup and will be preparing one of the two entrees of the five course meal. Kate Stumvoll of Wildflower Chocolate in Nisswa, Minn. will be preparing the dessert course, exploring herb infused chocolate ganache confections and enrobed caramels using local butter and cream. Prairie Bay Grill in Baxter, Minn. is one of the sponsors of the event, along with Region Five Development Commission and ArtPlace America. Prairie Bay Grill chefs participated in the first annual Summer Harvest Dinner, but are excited to bring new chefs from their team to try their hand at making a dish to impress. Last year, chef and co-owner of Prairie Bay Grill, Matt Annand, prepared a “Wok-ing Chicken Salad” featuring kohlrabi from Bakers’ Acres Farm (Avon, Minn.) and chicken from Island Lake Farm (Deerwood, Minn.). “It was a very special experience to look around the room as our kohlrabi was served to all of the guests” said Lisa Baker of Bakers’ Acres, pictured with her partner Sam Gilk as they taste their featured course, served creatively in Chinese take-out containers. “It is really encouraging as a grower to see how your hard work can create such positive food experiences.” The community is invited to attend the meal by reserving tickets which are $60 per person and available online through Eventbrite.com. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/summer-harvest-dinner-tickets-44517461927
The Summer Harvest Dinner is supported by a grant awarded to Region Five Development Commission by ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund. The ArtPlace funds are providing Sprout and partners the support needed to host an expansion of economic opportunities, social and cultural experiences, and learning for local growers, artists, makers, producers, chefs, and the public. Sprout and partners will also build out the Marketplace's physical space over the next three years using commissioned functional art from local artists, with priority granted to Latino, East African, Native American, Amish, grower, and youth communities.
The community is invited to shop the Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace vendors selling local food and art on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on October 27, November 17, and December 8. In the months of July, August, and September, the Marketplace will host cooking classes, fundraising events, and educational opportunities for growers, makers, and artists. Interested growers, artists, chefs, community members, and educators who want to learn more, visit www.SproutMN.com and follow the Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace on Facebook.
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