D.C.’s largest farm-to-table event, FRESHFARM's Farmland Feast held on November 10 at the downtown Ritz Carlton was a smash hit—the biggest and best gala ever, raising over $350,000 for the nonprofit.The funds raised will support FRESHFARM Market’s food security and outreach programs during the year. A silent auction was the highlight of this year’s cocktail hour, “First at the Feast”, and the bidding during the live auction was spirited and competitive. Some of DC’s top chefs and mixologists wowed the crowed with terrific seasonal samplings—Tarver King from the Restaurant at Patowmack Farms deserves special recognition for his fabulous table décor, which looked as if it had come directly from the woods—as well as for his innovative fare.
Ann Yonkers, FRESHFARM co-founder and co-executive director, said, “We are thrilled with the success. The quality of food, spirits and wine were outstanding. We had over 50 FRESHFARM Market farmers and producers as guests who were sprinkled throughout the room who had the opportunity to meet and talk with Farmland Feast guests and supporters.”
After the First at the Feast cocktail hour wrapped, guests filed into the main ballroom for dinner. Ben Wenk, a seventh-generation farmer from Three Springs Fruit Farm in Pennsylvania, was the keynote speaker, engaging the audience with the story of his family’s heritage as farmers, and his new generational blood and ideas that have brought back traditional vegetable farming to a big apple operation.
“I am working the same soil as my ancestors, honoring their sacrifice and devoting a new energy into their same struggles,” said Wenk. “I am striving to improve my family business and preserve my family’s land. Humbly appreciating the ways in which my work and my land improve me everyday. I am feeding my local foodshed with clean, wholesome food and maintaining the vibrancy of the natural world through our farming practices and doing it with a smile.”
His spirit was emblematic of the entire event—a true coming together of top food talent, leaders and supporters of the farm market, farm-to-table and locavore movement, journalists, foodies and citizen supporters of FRESHFARM’s mission and vision.