story & photos
by Don Church & Tony Schillaci
The first of a series of three “Farmers’ Dinner” evenings was enjoyed by an overflow group of serious diners at the Mystic Marriott’s stylish Octagon Restaurant on Monday, June 28th.
Representing the CT Farmland Trust, a Hartford-based group dedicated to “preserving working lands for future generations,” and chatting with guests at a pre-dinner wine and cheese reception were Henry Talmage, Executive Director, CT Farmland Trust, Nancy Weiss, Pomfret, and Fumiko Ishikawa Foos, Middletown.
Jonathan Edward’s Cabernet and Chardonnay were poured while nibblers were able to sample exceptional local cheeses from Cato Corner Farm, Colchester, while the Octagon’s friendly and professional staff passed Johnny Cakes with maple mushroom caviar, sweet pea pancakes with smoked salmon and early summer vegetable salsa with chips.
Chef Steve Rosen and his team worked with local farmers in designing and preparing the appetizer fare and five-course dinner which immediately followed. Steve told the Resident, “I worked on the Johnny Cakes with Whit Davis, whose Stanton-Davis Farm in Stonington has been worked every year since 1654. Farmer Davis wouldn’t leave the kitchen until we got his recipe and preparation method exactly right!”
During dinner, Emily Brooks from the Edibles Advocate Alliance, Woodbury, donned her emcee hat and introduced CT farmers, fishermen and gardeners, all dedicated to the preservation and sustainability of farmlands – both on land and sea.
Doctor and farmer Warren Burrows spoke about Groton Family Farm’s free-range eggs which contain one-third less cholesterol than store-bought. The first course salad was topped with one of those perfectly-poached eggs.
The next two Farmers’ Dinners in the series will be held on August 23 and October 25. Don’t miss out! Go to www.octagonsteakhouse.com, or visit the Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa online. And be sure to say “hello” to the Resident at the next Farmers’ Dinner!