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Newton Community Farm to host farm-to-table dinner

Posted by Laura Franzini  July 13, 2012 11:40 AM

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Margaret Mallory
A view of Newton Community Farm.

The Newton Community Farm will host its third annual Dinner on the Farm on Tuesday.

Open to all, the farm-to-table dinner will feature ingredients grown right on the farm, prepared by professional gourmet chef Ted Craddock. There will also be live music and wine.

Tickets are $50 per person, with a $10 discount for anyone who joins Friends of the Farm, NCF’s membership program. The proceeds will go directly to the farm’s educational and community outreach programs, according to NCF’s Administrator and Event Coordinator, Rochelle Rosen.

“The beauty of this event is that it’s an affordable fundraiser,” Rosen said, since similar fundraisers with food, wine, and live entertainment can cost over $100 per ticket. “And we anticipate that at least 30 percent or more of the ticket price will be tax deductible as a donation,” she said.

So far, about 60 people have purchased tickets for the dinner, which will start at 6:30pm. Rosen said the event can accommodate up to 90 people, based on resources. She said about half of the attendees are currently Friends of the Farm, with another 10-15 who are farm volunteers. Kids and families are invited to attend, as well.

This year’s dinner will return to the event’s original format—which was scaled down last year—to offer a four-course buffet-style meal and a local string band, The Dixie Butterhounds. Guests will dine at tables outside in an area between the farmhouse and the barn, overlooking the 2.25-acre fields.

“It’s a very serene, very peaceful location,” Rosen said. “You really get that farm-to-table experience, feasting on ingredients that come right from the farm.”

The meal will start with a tomato and burrata crostini appetizer, followed by three types of salad, including a roasted beet and blue cheese salad. Each guest gets to choose roasted chicken breast, seared salmon, or a vegetarian sweet potato dish for an entree, followed by baked goods and a lavender panacotta for dessert.

Chef Ted Craddock, of Sandrino’s Best of Thymes catering company in North Andover, was given a month and a half to design the dinner’s menu, based on the farm’s available produce. Though Craddock will prepare some of the ingredients offsite, most of the cooking will be done onsite in the farmhouse kitchen.

“I tried to incorporate as much produce from the farm as possible,” Craddock said, explaining that each dish highlights the farm’s vegetables and herbs, which will also complement the proteins coming from other local farms. “That’s really what the dinner is about.”

Newton Community Farm has been open for six years. It currently serves about 120 families through its Community-Service Agriculture Program (CSA), according to farm manager Megan Talley. By paying a fee at the beginning of the season, individuals and families can receive produce from the farm from June through October.

“A little over half of what we grow and sell goes to the CSA,” Talley said. NCF also operates an onsite farm stand five days a week, participates in a weekly farmers market, and donates produce to food pantries.

The farm also focuses heavily on educational and outreach programs geared toward informing the community about farming and local produce.

Rosen said the onsite classes bring children “to the forefront of farming,” with a “cross-section of projects, depending on age.” She said the farm is continuing to expand its programming this season due to an increased interest that she attributes to its growing presence in the community.

“It’s getting to the point where everyone knows the farm is there and are embracing and taking advantage of it,” Rosen said. She said the Dinner on the Farm is a good opportunity to further that community awareness and involvement.

“It is one of the only opportunities of this kind that people have locally,” she said. NCF hopes the event will continue to grow and allow even more guests to experience a farm-grown meal firsthand.

For more information about Dinner on the Farm and to purchase tickets, visit: newtoncommunityfarm.org.

Laura Franzini can be reached at laura.franzini@globe.com.

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