In September we hosted one of the most beautiful events we’ve had in recent years, a farm-to-table dinner with Sweetgreen.
The discussion started when Sweetgreen wanted to do a retreat here and center it around local and sustainable food, one of their founding principles.
We came up with a lot of ideas, all centered around the locavore concept. Here’s what we did…
- We decided we wanted it outside and in nature. To keep with that theme, we used clean white linens, hay bales for seats and set the table with other natural elements – all set in our lower field. We used seasonal gourds as the centerpieces with tea lights in mason jars and lanterns, tan squarish plates, cream napkins and a burlap table runner. We covered the bales of hay in upcycled burlap bags and grain bags from Mountain State Brewing Company. Sweetgreen uses chalkboards as their menus for their restaurant chain and we thought it was a fitting format.
- While natural light worked while it was still daylight, at this point in September dusk was around 7:00 p.m. and the dinner began at 7:30 p.m. Mike and the maintenance team created a beautiful lighting structure that we zigzagged rope lighting the entire length of the table and on the sides. Last minute, the weather became cool, so we used standing heaters in between each table to throw off heat. We lit a walkway of luminaries down the path to guide people to the dinner and had the lanterns and mason jar tea lights to help illuminate the tables as well.
- For the food, we wanted something that would reflect Western Maryland, but at the same time was innovative and of course delicious. We decided on a beet and goat cheese salad, using Amish market beets and FireFly Farms Allegheny Chevre goat cheese, and a caprese salad with Amish market tomatoes for the first course. For the main entree, we served roasted pork loin paired with braised kale, wood fired rolled eggplant filled with spinach, sundried tomato, roasted red pepper, basil, Asiago and mozzarella and finished with a fresh tomato pistou and balsamic reduction and lightly smoked whole snapper shallot, citrus, and fresh herb marinade. For dessert we did good old deep dish apple pie.
Our main focus – local and sustainable, was able to be used through out the course of planning. Through the use of local foods, upcycled materials and some creative ingenuity we were able to pull of a beautiful event, while still being earth-friendly.