I had the amazing opportunity Thursday evening to be among the 200 people invited to attend the Inaugural Harvest Celebration at Eastern Market.
A benefit for Detroit's Eastern Market, a non profit, six block, public market that has been working to bring farm fresh food to the people of Michigan for over 120 years, the Oct 16 event was billed as a celebration of the richness and vibrancy of the Market, to feature exceptional food and entertainment showcasing this Detroit landmark.
It was said that dinner would be an “”epicurean exuberant farm-to-table feast” with “exquisite cuisine, appetizers and desserts will be prepared by Michigan’s newest and most talented local food artisans.” paired with Michigan wines.
I must say, the event lived up to the billing. From the servers who met me at the door with drinks and trays of hors d’oeuvres, to the string ensemble from Detroit Symphony Orchestra, who played during our dessert, I was temporarily transported, from the world of farming, to a magical world of fantasy and luxury.
I made sure, as the trays of hors d’oeuvres circulated, to limit myself to one of each type, so as to save room for dinner. It wasn’t easy, particularly with the Caribbean Baked Wings, The Apple Chutney Crustini, or the Tomato and Basil sliders. (They had other sliders, but the Tomato and Basil were the best.)
Along with are business leaders, and government officials, several local celebrities were there. Cynthia and Edsel Ford made an appearance early in the evening, and although I would not previously have known him by sight, everyone knows the voice of Paul W. Smith of WJR who was the Master of Ceremonies. It was exciting to “bump shoulders” with some of the people who make things happen in Southeast Michigan.
A film shown during dinner highlighted two of the projects Eastern Market has focused on this year. Farm Stand, a series of pop-up markets, has allowed local grown produce to be introduced to inner city neighborhoods, and Kitchen Connect a program that provides commercially licensed ‘incubator’ kitchen space for entrepreneurs.
The newly refurbished section of Shed 5 at Eastern Market features a sparkling new community kitchen, made possible in part by a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
A “Farm to Fork” dinner, prepared by some amazing chefs, using ingredients sourced from Michigan farms was a highlight of the evening. (And I have to admit, it was rewarding to be able to explain to the people at our table what a Delicata was, how it was grown, what they looked like and why it made such good soup.)
Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged. To think that as a farmer, perhaps I don’t belong with the upper echelons of society. I think maybe some people hear the title farmer and attach subtitles like redneck, bumpkin or hillbilly. So it was encouraging to be there, among a group of some of the most influential people in the region, and know that I could hold my head up and be proud to be a farmer.
Without farmers, the entire event would have never come to pass.