Farm to table dinner satisfies locals’ appetite
By May Soricelli
An event many months in the making was held Saturday at the Berthoud Inn and Events Center in Berthoud. The first Farm to Table Dinner, an event highly anticipated by the community, did not disappoint.
“For our first time hosting this, I would say it was very successful,” said Berthoud Local member Jason Reiff.
The collaboration of a number of local farms, individuals and businesses supported the efforts of Berthoud Local in its desire to bring the community and locally grown food together at the dinner table, all while raising funds for its upcoming year’s endeavors. Berthoud Local hosts many educational events, the Farmers and Fleas Market, and supports local gardeners and farmers throughout the year.
“This is essentially our way of trying to get people together and have a good time and also support Berthoud Local,” said Reiff. “Now that Berthoud Local has achieved non-profit status this year, they really hope to make a name for themselves and make an impact.”
Reiff took on the role of coordinator and head chef for this event. He felt that he could lend his talents to the group as an experienced and passionate cook. While being a member of Berthoud Local, Reiff is also a long-time local resident with his wife and two children, and is the owner of Pixels and Press in Berthoud.
“I’m really passionate about cooking,” said Reiff, who has cooked for several different restaurants and is very accustomed to preparing food for large crowds.
“I thought I would lend my expertise to the group for this event because I was the most qualified and it keeps cost down instead of having to hire a caterer. I’m just supporting them by putting this event on,” said Reiff.
The Farm to Table dinner was a casual affair in a sophisticated setting, with a gourmet menu. The meal boasted local fresh commodities such as chicken, lamb, mozzarella, vegetables and homemade desserts. Also included in the evening was an open bar offering drinks exclusively from Berthoud’s own local breweries, vineyard and distillery.
Reiff enthusiastically crafted an exceptional menu of unique items, including three main entrees of roasted chicken, braised lamb, and herbed fettuccini with mushroom medley. Reiff stated that the lamb dish received the best reviews of the evening, which he found surprising since most people are not accustomed to the taste. He believes that a big component of the fresh taste of the dish was the locally-sourced ingredients from Longshadow Farm, that were cooked in oil and spices and roasted until tender.
Guests loved the surprising ingredients and sophisticated composition of the courses. For example, the chorizo sausage, alpaca meatballs, salad greens with a beet reduction dressing, and homemade mozzarella were all sourced from local farms and gardens and cooked fresh for the meal. Long Shadow Farm, Beth Conrey, Happy Hart Farms, Hazel Dell Mushroom Farm, Plowshares Farm, Ida Hall, and Wayne and Deb Dorband, were all resources for the food items provided.
Drinks were served by Matt Throop of Berthoud’s own KJ Wood Distillers. Throop stated that the distillery’s most popular drink of the evening was the Jinn. They also served their Dead Drift Colorado White Whiskey, and Berthoud Blue Vodka. Blue Mountain Vineyard also supplied a host of wines created at its vineyard here in Berthoud. In addition, guests enjoyed the popular Cowboy Golden Ale from City Star and Fire Ban Golden Ale from Berthoud Brewing.
The Berthoud Inn provided a very charming setting; the ambiance of the outdoor patio was accented with a surprisingly warm October evening, waterfall trickles, a setting sun, ukulele folk music, pumpkins adorning the steps, and scattered fall leaves.
Many contributors played a role in making the Farm to Table event possible. Mark Chaffee, the innkeeper at Berthoud Inn, generously donated the space to be used, including the kitchen for preparations because he felt that it was an important cause.
“That’s why we are hosting this event, to support local business,” said Chaffee.
“Without his generosity we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to put this on,” said Reiff.
Caleb Jordan, a member of the Berthoud Local committee, assisted by acquiring pumpkins from Berthoud Feed and Supply for the event, as well as helping with many other facets.
“He took photos and assisted in any way he could. He is really involved in the organization and goes to all the meetings,” said Reiff.
Kristin Ramey, of Longshadow Farms, helped by being the impromptu sous chef for the night and helped in the kitchen.
Jane Viehl donated flower arrangements, supplies, and vegetables from her garden, as well as time in front of the house, expediting meals from kitchen to guests.
Mike Woods provided help booking the band, Aaron McCloskey and Friends, and set up music arrangements.
Approximately 50 people attended the gathering. Reiff states that a lot of positive response came in that night via emails saying that those who attended can’t wait for the next Farm to Table dinner. Several people really enjoyed the camaraderie and connecting with others.
“It is really important to Berthoud Local to build community and bring people together,” said Reiff. “There were new people to Berthoud that were there, people from other nearby towns and locals too. The whole vibe was good.”
As for next year, Reiff anticipates a few changes, such as more advertising in order to bring the attendance up to 65. The event also helped Berthoud Local gain an understanding of the costs in order to be able to better prepare for next year. While this event was by invitation only, they plan to make next year’s dinner open to the public.
“This was a great way to lay the foundation for future Farm to Tables and hopefully the word will spread, especially since it went really well,” said Reiff.
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