August 8, 2014
A special Farm-to-Table dinner held Saturday is drawing enough interest to make the first one perennially repeated.
On a balmy evening in downtown Winchester, with a 79-degree temperature and nice breeze blowing through, the Winchester Downtown Program (WDP) introduced its first-ever Farm-to-Table dinner for 100 patrons under a gleaming white tent lit with bright lights and lots of sparkling conversation.
Jerry Sharber, executive director of the WDP, welcomed the guests and beamed with pride at the work his committee had done as he mingled among the mix of young and old from all walks of life.
“This is our first event as a Main Street Community, a prestigious designation, giving us access to resources not available to other cities and towns in our area,” he said, as he recognized the ladies who he claimed, “did all the work organizing this thing.”
They were Rebecca Alred, Jessica Davis and Melissa Schapiro.
Sharber also recognized State Rep. David Alexander and wife Cile, Winchester Mayor Terry Harrell, Franklin County Mayor Richard Stewart, as well as City Councilmen Bruce Spencer and Wayne Hart.
After being greeted by Winchester City Administrator Beth Rhoton at the gates to the event on the parking lot between the old and the new Arezzo’s, attendees, who paid $50 per ticket, exchanged their them for a wristband and walked by the music of the Fritsl Butler band from Sewanee, playing their own unique brand of original folk music.
Lead singer Fritsl Butler floated her brilliant voice across the venue, backed up by Jay Koelbl on standup acoustic bass, Herschel Van Dyke on drums and Buddy Van Dyke on guitar and back-up vocals.
A makeshift bar served wine from Beans Creek Winery in Manchester, and a heavy dose of schmoozing and networking went on under the tent, provided by Reliable Rental. Two long tables running the length of the tent were set with dinnerware in anticipation of the food from local markets and farms.
Celeste Raulston of Winchester commented, “Winchester needs more events like this because it is important to support the local farmers.”
Rea Bowden of Estill Springs also stated she was, “all for local products, regardless of the sources,” and Shirley Clark called it a, “very awesome event for Winchester.”
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the meal, prepared by Ivy Wild restaurant of Sewanee, and catered by its own Amanda Mayo, catering manager.
Mayo led the members of Huntland High School’s Interact Club, a subsidiary of the local Rotary, down each aisle with plates of a colorful heirloom tomato salad, a main course of local beef brisket with shiitake and wine sauce, mashed potatoes, and smoked onion puree, topped off with cornmeal pound cake sprinkled with berry and goat cheese crumbles and a lemon anglaise.
All ingredients were provided to Ivy Wild by local markets and farms, including the Bonnie Blue farm, Joseph’s Garden, Bean’s Creek Winery, Keel Produce and Falls Mill.
Keri Moserm, chef and owner of Ivy Wild, said her establishment specializes in dinners involved with local foods provided by farms in the area.
“We are educating people about local food as well as from the city,” Moser said.
Ivy Wild has been operating for four years and, according to Moser, has shown lots of growth, especially with the catering.
Mayo said Ivy Wild does catering for weddings, which is where they met Jess Davis, who organizes weddings and is also a planner. They came up with the idea of presenting farm to table meals “with elegance,” and have been thrilled with the results so far. They said they were glad to be a part of the Winchester Downtown Program’s dinner event.
Mayo and Davis said they were excited about the event and hope that it will be held annually.
Major sponsors for the Farm-to-Table dinner included Dr. Brad Schapiro of Ultimate Health and Dr. Garrett Orr of Winchester Family Dentistry.
Key Sponsor was Southern Tennessee Regional Health System. Other Sponsors included Soul Flowers, Roots and Wings Yoga, Professional Massage Therapy, Advanced Radiology Associates of Southern Tennessee, Jerry Sharber, and Golden Living Rehab-Mountainview.
Music sponsors were S.L.I.M. and Davis, Kessler, and Davis, with drinks provided by Blue Chair Tavern and Bean’s Creek Winery.