Top Chefs, Mixologists and DC's Top Food Leaders At Farmland Feast
by Susan Able and AJ Dronkers, Edible DC
Bluegrass lovers, sophisticated cocktail attire, farmers with farmer beards were all in attendance last night at FRESHFARM Markets Farmland Feast, held at the Ritz-Carlton. The annual fundraiser, always one of DC's top locavore events, was especially significant as the audience paid tribute and a farewell to the two founders, Ann Yonkers and Bernie Prince. The sold out event started with the First at the Feast Cocktail Party, then attendees who stayed for the Feast were seated in the ballroom.
Washington Post food editor, Joe Yonan, served as the Master of Ceremonies and new Executive Director, Michael Koch, paid tribute to the legacy of the founders and introduced a video that was made to commemorate the night. Koch also announced the launch of The Founders Legacy Fund, and a live auction raised well over $100,000 to get it started, the robust donations from the Wallace Genetic Foundation of $50,000 and Think Food Group's Chef Jose Andres of $10,000.
As usual, there was no better place to be eating or drinking, many of DC top food talent was in attendance, and lucky enough for the ticketholders, there were also as many in the kitchen serving everything from blue catfish to lamb shoulder to a dessert made of kabocha squash. Handmade chocolates from Zoe's and plentifully poured wine from Virginia made the evening very festive.
Tarver King, chef at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, always wows the cocktail crowd with his Virginia style, WD-50ish take on appetizers, and his spread this year was exotic and wonderful--with foraged Hen of the Woods mushrooms done fried chicken style, dill pickle "chips" made from puffer fish with a dollop of labneh yogurt and a mind-bending ball of cocoa butter filled with a liquid elixir, don't ask, we can't remember it was. "Just pop it in your mouth--go ahead!" Tarver said. And I did. Can food be a thrill? With Tarver, we can count on it.
Kudos to the organizing committee, the FRESHFARM staff and volunteers. The evening went off without a hitch and it served as a lovely tribute to two women who helped create the vibrant local food scene and healthy eating in DC.