Supporting Local Farmers at Meals in the Meadow

The Farm Institute, located in Katama on Martha’s Vineyard, recently celebrated their 7th annual fundraising dinner & auction, Meals in the Meadow, bringing together Vineyard lovers for a night of great local food, silent auctions, and experiencing what the Farm is all about and the programs it offers throughout the year.

During 2011, Meals in the Meadow accomplished some fantastic goals, such as:

• Youth in the FARM Project gleaned and distributed 8,000 pounds of food to Vineyarders in need; • Over 250 inner city youth worked and learned at the FARM as part of the Residential Program; • The FARM greenhouses began providing discounted food regularly to the Vineyard school lunch program; scholarships were offered to young people so they could join the 1,000 children who attend summer camp at the FARM; • Conservation improvements and experimental farm plots are improving the farm and providing community education.

The night started off by walking around the silent auction, where the items ranged from having a hassle-free chicken coop and three laying hens for a week at home to a year of Chilmark Coffee and Chocolate. Specific to local living and eating, these silent auction items and raffles went directly to projects on the FARM. After bidding on a few items (and gracefully being outbid), guests strolled around the farm, enjoying the cool summer night. Oxen were available for rides and it was one of the most delightful rides ever! Did you know oxen aren’t oxen until they complete four years of training? Until then, they are just steers-in-training.

And slowly, the food started to trickle in and mingle among the crowd. Passed hors d’oeuvres were donated by local restaurants such as 7aFoods, Flatbread Company, Net Result, and the Water Street Restaurant, and just to name a few: island gazpacho; crostinis topped with buttermilk crème and pickled beets; and kielbasa sausage served with honey mustard on sweet potato biscuits.

As the sun set, we all sat down for a Southern-inspired dinner showcasing the FARM Institute’s meats and vegetables, while Sam Feldman, one of the founders of the FARM Institute, took the stage and shared with the crowd some amazing facts about the farm and how much it has developed over the years. The FARM has been an educational institution for kids ages 2-15, and engages both children and adults in sustainable agriculture via various programs and operations on their 162-acre farm. You can find out more about them by checking out their website, as well as their Facebook Page.

Photos: Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

To find out more about Marnely, please follow her blog Cooking with Books.