4th Annual Harvest Dinner

4th Annual Harvest Dinner

Food brings us together. Never has a war started over carrots, or a fight broken out over squash. Sure, there are friendly food fights or the occasional argument over Sunday night family dinner, but it generally has nothing to do with the salad and more to do with who should have really won on The Bachelor. Local First doesn't care so much about who really should have won on The Bachelor (they support everyone), but they do want to bring people together over food. The 4th Annual Harvest Dinner on September 7th is hosted by Local First and brings together local farmers and local restaurants to celebrate the powerful efforts of top foodies in our area and share it with the community. It's a partnership made in heaven and also made with a great idea, a lot of time, and so much effort.

Harvest Dinner's roots run back more than four years though, it began as a small gathering almost 20 years ago at the downtown restaurant, Cyprus Cafe. Then owner, and always supporter of local food, Alison Dance along with the help of Ore House owner, Ryan Lowe, decided to bring area farmers and foodies together to celebrate harvest season in the fall. A group of farmers, chefs, and local food lovers would get together to eat, drink and celebrate a community of fresh, delicious food.

The celebration of local, delicious food roles on still and now has become a much bigger soirée. Durango's first official Harvest Dinner hit the Smiley Building lawn four years ago as a collaboration between Dance, Lowe and non-profit, Local First, which has been a beneficiary of the dinner ever since. Together, the three entities connect local farmers and chefs to cook up an elaborate five-course meal for 150 lucky attendees.

The elegant evening includes an abundance of food paired with live music, elaborate desserts and beverages galore. It's a hodgepodge of fine dining and community connections."You are eating all night. The wine is flowing, the food is always coming, you will be stuffed by the end of it," Local First Director Monique DiGiorgio said.

This year people can expect to see dishes and drinks from El Moro, Cyprus Cafe, Fenceline Cider, Eolus, Wines of the San Juans and the new downtown restaurant, Prims--and that's just to name a few.

Along with the elaborate dinner conies a side course of an education as well. "The story first and foremost is a way to celebrate that connection between the local independent businesses and the chefs in town that are really connected to the local farms and ranches," DiGiorgio said.

Sometimes it's hard to tell, but there is a plethora of local ingredients coming into Durango area restaurants from local farmers. The night serves as that education piece to show just who is growing that food, where it's coming from, and let's us meet the people preparing it for us. Not only that, the night closes the whole food circuit for diners and allows for everyone to compost their scraps to go straight back to those farmers. It's a true farm to table, table to farm experience.

"It's also a way to start a dialogue with people about using local food and supporting the local food movement, whether it's local independent grocers, local restaurants or the farmers markets." Programs Director, Kiki Hooten said.

Whether you talk about local foods, or you talk about who won on The Bachelor, the Harvest Dinner is an experience to bring people together, and get local with a beautiful, rustic vibe, an intimate setting, and food created specifically for the event, there's nothing quite like it.