“For future generations to care about farming, healthy eating, and our communities, children must experience the people and the work that produces food. It is the mission of The FARM Institute to provide that experience, and Meals in the Meadow helps us sustain that mission.” –The FARM Institute
Meals in the Meadow is an event that gathers not only islanders, but plenty of off-island visitors that have made The FARM Institute a summer staple in their schedules. This was my second year (click here to read about last year’s event!) attending the event as a guest (thanks to Julie Olson, farm manager extraordinarie!) and the event did not disappoint. What else could you ask for then a gorgeous setting on a local farm, with food from island restaurants floating around, amazing auction items to bid on, and displays by the summer campers eager to explain to you how banana peels decompose in different environments?!
As you walked into the event, Fresh Watermelon Margaritas, donated by Sharky’s Cantina, and Barnyard Lemonade welcomed you. A refreshing way to start the evening and it only got better. There were tables of stationary hors d’oeuvres such as Brick Oven Organic Pizza by Flatbread Martha’s Vineyard, a raw bar feating oysters and littleneck clams donated by Lattanzi’s Italian Restaurants and Edgartown Seafood, a gorgeous vegetable crudite table, and a luscious fruit and cheese display.
The setting was spectacular – out in the open field, a huge tent rose above everything. Fresh, local flowers in jars where sprinkled all around, creating a spectacular show of colors and scents all around.
Of course, to get guests ready to donate money for next year’s summer programs, the FARM Institute made sure to feed them well before the auctions and donation event started. Passed hors d’oeuvres included Linguica and Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms by Water Street Restaurant; Crostini with Bluefish Pate by 7a Foods; Local Cod Cakes with Lobster Tarter Sauce by Lucky Hank’s; Slow Smoked FARM Institute Brisket on Texas Toast with Sweet Onion Marmalade.
It all was amazing and composed perfectly – each bite made me more and more excited for the dinner buffet and the dancing! Local island restaurants donated most of the food served and went above and beyond the call of duty to present delectable items. And what’s a farm without some animals?! Look at this adorable sheep!
The Raw Bar was one of the most popular places to be and having local shuckers at the ready made them even more appealing! Some of the best seafood and shellfish I’ve ever had have come from the local waters of Martha’s Vineyard. Also, I’m totally in love with the photo below – hands in food photography get me every time.
The FARM Institute is a non-profit teaching farm whose mission is to reconnect children and adults with agriculture through the diverse operations of a 162-acre working farm. Which means it’s far from being a “petting farm” and more like a “put your kiddos to work cleaning stalls, planting seeds, feeding cows kind of farm”!
Summer programs on the FARM focus on team work, core values, work ethic, commitment to community, and caring for the land. Whether you have a two-year old or a fifteen-year old, they’ve got programs to fit everyone’s age! Plenty of activities keep the kids busy from story-time and tasting fresh garden vegetables (for the wee-farmers) to caring for their own garden plot, learning about animal husbandry, carpentry, fiber arts, and even selling produce in the farm stand (for the older kiddos).
We also went on a fun ride around the farm on two oxen brothers, Zeus and Apollo. How cute are they!?
A HUGE shout-out to the restaurants and island businesses that generously donated cocktails and hor d’oeuvres: 7a Foods, Beach plum Inn, Edgartown Seafood, Flatbread Company, Lattanzi’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, Lucky Hank’s, Offshore Ale, Scottish Bakehouse, Sharky’s Cantina, and Water Street at the Harbor View Hotel.
The dinner buffet was amazing and Mexican themed with a local twist. The menu started off with some gorgeous red cabbage and jicama slaw, grilled corn salad, and a Tex-Mex salad of mixed field greens, avocado, radishes, carrots, jicama, tomatoes, and a honey-lime vinaigrette.
The main proteins of the meal included the FARM’s whole-roasted chickens and pulled pork tacos, accompanied with a Lone Star State spice rib, blackberry poblano pepper sauce (which was DIVINE!), flour and corn tortillas, tomato salsa, mango salsa, guacamole, and smoked red pepper salsa.
As you can see, I did not miss a single item on the menu and stacked my plate high with some amazing food! Of course, there was also some cornbread with butter, black beans, and yellow rice to go with the delicious meal!
And of course, hot sauce and a pound of butter HAD to make their appearance! I didn’t get a chance to snap a photograph of the dessert, but let me tell you it was an amazing Bread Pudding Brûlée with an Anejo Espresso Caramel Coffee Sauce. To die for!
All in a day’s work, Meals in the Meadow 2013 was an experience I’d love to repeat over and over on an annual basis. The people you meet, the food you eat, the drinks you drank, and the animals you pet all made it worth it. Be sure to check out The Farm Institute on their website as well as Facebook.