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Local food connects a community at county Farm Bureau event
A suggestion for a Grow & Know event in Medina County was so popular that almost all of the county Farm Bureau action committees wanted to be a part of it. In the end, Celebrating Season’s Harvest Grow & Know touched on many Farm Bureau goals, including promoting membership, connecting consumers to the farm, showcasing Ohio products and showing how farmers care for their animals.
“It was a tremendous success. It was one of the best activities we’ve ever done. We had a lot of people ask us to contact them when we do it again,” said Organization Director John Fitzpatrick.
The Grow & Know event was a sit down dinner in a wooded area of Richman Farms, a dairy farm run by the Indoe family in Lodi. The Aug. 11 event drew 75 participants from the Medina, Cleveland and Akron areas. Tickets were $80, and all profit went to the Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The event raised $4,000.
“This was such a unique event that we decided it would be a perfect way to raise funds for the local animal shelter. This allowed us to create a better relationship with the animal shelter and animal control,” Fitzpatrick said.
The county Farm Bureau received a grant from the Animals for Life Foundation to help offset expenses.
“This was an excellent event that provided an opportunity for guests to learn about animal agriculture, develop and enhance relationships and support a worthy cause,” said David White, the foundation's executive director.
Local produce and meat were donated by area farmers, and Chef John Kolar of Thyme the Restaurant created the menu based on the fresh food he received from farmers. Andy and Deanna Troutman, owners of nearby Troutman Vineyards and the Winery at Wolf Creek, provided wine samples with the food.
When guests arrived, they had a chance to tour the farm’s dairy barns and ask the family questions about their operation and how they take care of their cows. They were then shuttled to a soybean field where a long white clothed table was set up in a nearby wooded area. After participants had time to mingle over wine and hors d’oeuvres, they sat down for the dinner, which included salad, a pork trio, beef and dessert. All the food came from local farms, including the homemade whipped cream, and guests were given a map that showed area farms that sell directly to consumers.
During the event, participants heard a Farm Bureau speaker talk about why it was better to donate to a local animal shelter than a national animal organization. The animal shelter representative talked about the value of a Farm Bureau membership and how guests could support local farmers.
The county Farm Bureau is already making plans for next year’s event and looking at ways to better promote it, Fitzpatrick said.
“The Medina County Farm Bureau did a great job organizing Season’s Harvest. They did a great job incorporating local foods, working with the local animal shelter and showing how farmers care for not only their animals but all animals,” said Cara Lawson, Ohio Farm Bureau’s promotion specialist. “This one really stood out because it tied together so many things like local foods, animal care, gardening and connecting consumers to the farm.”
Photo by Cara Lawson