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Road Tripping: Local Beet Farm Dinner at Genesis Growers

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Sep 21, 2009 8:20PM

Yesterday Kevin and I went to St. Anne, IL in Kankakee County (where AT&T's 3G service fears to tread, apparently) to attend the Local Beet's inaugural farm dinner at Genesis Growers. It was my third official farm dinner of the year and it was interesting to look back at how the growing season has progressed since that first City Provisions farm dinner at River Valley and the Outstanding in the Field dinner at Kinnikinnick Farm. Back in August it looked like Kinnikinnick's tomatoes would never ripen. Now we're trying to can as many tomatoes as possible and get ready for peppers, gourds and fall root vegetables.

Local Beet founder Michael Morowitz said that the dinner was on the verge of being canceled for a lack of ticket sales. "Melissa (Graham of Monogramme Events & Catering) and we worked our contacts all week and managed to get some last-minute sales." Graham didn't disappoint as guests tore into heaping mounds of marinated, wood-grilled chicken with salsa verde, wheatberry salad with basil, tropea onion & cherry tomatoes, tomato soup shooters with cheese wafers and peach-frangipane crostata with farm fresh cream that Kevin declared so good, he had repeated helpings.

Genesis Growers owner Vivki Westerhoff was a gracious host, giving a tour of the farm and even allowing us to pick a pumpkin to take home. Genesis Growers is an organic farm that implements a 9-month Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) program, which Westerhoff said helps to strengthen relationships between her and customers like Morowitz. The dinner also served as an example of the bounty of fresh produce available to us right under our noses, which is the whole purpose of the Local Beet's existence.

As a bonus, Westerhoff allowed attendees to pick a pumpkin from her patch. I made away with two, as Kevin said he didn't know what he would do with his. "Make me a pie," he said. There will be plenty of pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, roasted pumpkin seeds and maybe some pumpkin beer.