Farm to Table dinner serves up local food for a good cause

Jul 21, 2019

Nearly 200 people came out despite roasting temperatures on Saturday July 20 for the Sharing the Harvest’s Farm to Table Dinner, an annual fundraiser for the Dartmouth community farm.

Although it was anything but cool in the midst of an extreme heatwave, a steady breeze and shade under trees and tent — not to mention ice-cold beverages and cucumber-infused water — helped guests chill in the summer evening sunshine.

Jazz quartet Sean O’Leary & band provided atmospheric music for the gathering, which saw clusters of people chatting with drinks in hand under trees overlooking the community farm.

YMCA Dartmouth Executive Director Maia Shwartz said that almost all of the food served at the dinner was local. 

The chicken came from Copicut Farms in North Dartmouth and produce from Skinny Dip Farm in Westport, among other local providers, Shwartz said.

Sharing the Harvest Farm — a program of the Dartmouth YMCA — is a non-profit, volunteer-driven farm that aims to alleviate hunger and provide agricultural education to the community.

Since its inception in 2006 the farm has donated 547,000 pounds of produce to those in need in communities across the south coast.

“It’s a beautiful cause,” said guest Dennis Golden, who was enjoying some of the appetizers. “The mushrooms are outstanding.”

Guests bid on items at a silent auction with a variety of goods on offer, from a signed Celtics photograph to a sculpture by Little Compton artist Walter Horak.

Also up for auction were several travel packages, including a weekend getaway to Cuttyhunk, a golf trip to Pebble Beach in California, and an all-expenses-paid vacation in Canada with dinner at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa.

“It’s amazing. The music sounds great,” said guest David O’Leary, who drove down from Boston for the event. 

It was his first time at the farm. “We took a walk around the farm, which is really really impressive. The chickens look hearty and healthy, and there’s a lot of them,” he laughed. “The breeze is nice.”

“The facility is beautiful, really beautiful,” said his wife Kathy.

Mike Daoust of Westport said that this is his first-ever Farm to Table dinner, although he’s on the farm committee and his family volunteers at the farm. 

“We love this place,” he said, adding that they were all enjoying the evening. “It’s awesome. It’s hot, but there’s a nice breeze, and it’s a great environment.”

Shwartz said that the Dartmouth Y is seeing an uptick in summer camp enrollment following an expansion of their financial aid this year.

“For the first time in years, our camp next week is full,” Shwartz said. “So we’re trying to hire more staff to take on more kids. We have 200 kids coming in on Monday.”

She added that they have a lot of new specialty camp programs this year, including a farm to table camp where the kids pick vegetables on the farm and learn to cook with them.

“My grandson actually attends the Y,” said guest Cheryl Fredette of Dartmouth, who was invited to speak on the evening. “It’s quite an amazing place for a little guy,” she added.