The farm to table movement has garnered a lot of attention recently as consumers attempt to learn where their food comes from. The movement, which focuses on local food production, will be on display at the Newaukum Valley Farm as area chefs show what they have to offer.
Melissa Hyatt, co-owner of the farm, said the event brings chefs who are excited about eating local and cooking with locally grown ingredients. This year, five chefs will be featured, including Laurel Khan, owner and chef at Mackinaw’s in Chehalis. The remainder of the chefs come from restaurants in the Seattle area.
On their respective nights, each chef will make a five-course meal, using organic farm-fresh vegetables and local food producers. During meal time, producers and artisans will join the discussion to explain how their products are grown and crafted.
“We have such a rich array of producers here locally that it’s just fun to bring everyone together,” Hyatt said.
The event draws in a variety of different people all passionate about learning more about the movement. Hyatt said the event, which is in its third year, has established some return customers.
This year, people will arrive at the farm for a meet and greet and later take a tour of the farm. Hyatt said she will educate people on what the farm is currently growing in season, and will talk about what will be featured in the meal. Afterward, dinner will be served, highlighting the bounty of Washington state.
Similar events are offered in other areas. However, Hyatt said Lewis County does not have as many, providing a unique opportunity to those who decide to participate.
When asked what her favorite part of the event is, Hyatt’s answer was simple — eating delicious food with good company.
“Watching people throughout the event and just being excited about the same concept of eating local is fun, and to listen to the conversations,” she said.
Newaukum Valley Farm has been in operation since 2003 and is located on the banks of the Chehalis River in Adna. Now in its 12th year of operation, the farm has approximately 20 acres of certified organic vegetables in production.
The organic nature the produce is treated with helps provide “a favorable growing environment that is beneficial to all,” states the farm’s website. The Hyatts sell their produce to the Olympia Food Co-op, the Chehalis Farmers Market and a variety of restaurants, among others.
The farm’s on-site produce stand will be open following the dinners, giving guests the opportunity to buy fresh picked vegetables. The stand will be open to the public beginning June 3 and will be open on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. through October.
The money raised will go toward the chefs who produce the meals, the producers featured and to cover the cost of vegetables contributed during the dinner.
Hyatt encouraged those who are interested in attending to purchase their tickets early, as the events have the tendency to sell out weeks before their scheduled date.