Harvest Land farmer-members recently attended a Summer Harvest Supper, hosted on the family farm of one of our members. The intent of this supper, organized by Farm Bureau, was to invite consumers to share a meal with local producers and open the evening to conversation about food production.
The evening began with a brief reception with wine from J&J Winery and vegetables – and the best candied bacon you could imagine – from local growers and pork producers.
Each supper table was set for six consumers and two producers. The producers consisted of dairymen, beef, poultry and swine producers, grain farmers, large animal veterinarians, extension agents, and fruit and vegetable growers. Harvest Land was well represented, having farmer-members, an employee and even a former Director serving as experts in food production.
The consumers included a wide array of people, including college students, business owners, school superintendents, bankers, the Chamber of Commerce, real estate agents, medical doctors and more.
The setting of the event was perfect, in the yard of the farmstead, next to a cornfield lined with sweet corn, which the attendees shared during the family-style supper.
Everything enjoyed during the supper was grown and prepared locally. Sweet corn, green beans, beef, honey, bacon and more.
Each table had a set of prepared questions, should the consumers not know what to ask in order to learn more about where their food comes from. Our experience was that no one needed those prompting questions! The consumers came with questions and concerns about various things, such as raw milk, pesticides, what to look for at the meat counter to have a great beef eating experience, confined feeding operations and much, much more.
Every twenty minutes the two producers would rotate to the next table, giving the consumers the opportunity to ask the experts in many different areas – dairy, pork, beef, grain, vegetables, etc.
Local FFA chapters from Western Wayne, Hagerstown and Northeastern joined us to serve the dishes and deliver drinks in an efficient manor.
The Summer Harvest Supper was a success and a very enjoyable evening. Some indicators of success at an event such as this are having a consumer approach you after the event and simply say, “Thank you for tonight. I feel so much better about grocery shopping for my family.” Or, “I’m not afraid of milk anymore!”. The event allowed people to put a friendly face with the idea of food production.
We’d like to thank Neil and LuAnn Gettinger for opening their farm to a large group of curious folks. Everyday those involved in food production are faced with a general public which is largely misinformed about where their food comes from and how it is produced. This event helped farmers educate consumers on the safest, most abundant food supply in the world: Ours.