It was all about Pig at the 2nd of four “Fork it Over” fundraising dinner to benefit the Westport Farmers’ Market this past Sunday night. The event was hosted at the Cannon Grange in Wilton, an appropriate fit for an event that champions local producers given the Grange's deep roots in the town's agricultural history. The surprise Chef team was none other than Chef Johnny Vaast of The Dressing Room and Tim LaBant of The Schoolhouse at Cannondale. Food Advocate and Chef Michel Nischan was also on hand throughout the evening, but his culinary skills took a back seat to his musical talent. VIEW PHOTO GALLERY HERE
The evening commenced outside the Grange as guests gathered to mingle with chefs cooking on fiery grills, and savour beautifully prepared apps. Starters were passed alongside Saugatuck Grain & Grape's signature Maple Old Fashioned cocktails and carefully selected wines. Chalked on rustic boards were the names of participating farmers and producers including: Riverbank Farm, Farah's Farm, Rose’s Berry Farm, Sport Hill Farm and Fort Hill Farm. Each of these played a role in the courses to come.
As the sun set, Market Director Lori Cochran, lured guests indoors where two long communal tables were dressed and ready for a party. And it was a party. Chef Nischan and his outstanding band, "House Dressing," delighted the 75 diners with classic rock and blues while platters of family style entrees arrived like clockwork, each course thoughtfully paired with wines from Saugatuck Grain & Grape.
It was at this point that we met our meal. Ryan Fibiger of Saugatuck Craft Butchery spoke about the importance of The Westport Farmers' Market, and the pivotal role it plays in our community. He also introduced us to the 198 pound Berkshire Farm Pig from Sir William Berkshire Farm in Craryville, NY that was to become dinner.
Entrees went like this and were accompanied by audible excitement: Pork Sausage (home made by Chef Vaast) with Apple Cabbage Slaw; Pork Shoulder w. Soft Egg, Kale and Mustard Greens; Grilled Legmeat w/ Lacinato Kale, Butternut Squash, Hamhock Broth and Crispy Pork Belly...with a little Mac + Cheese on the side. Chef LaBant & Chef Vaast teamed up to create a remarkably delicious meal that balanced the heartiness of the pork with delicate vegatables and sides.
As guests rolled out of the gorgeous historic Grange, each was filled with a sense of belonging to a very special community...and a whole lotta pork.
About The Fork It Over Series to Support The Westport Farmers’ Market
The Fork It Over fundraiser series is crucial to the sustainability of WFM. We work hard to keep the fees low for our farmers but that in turn means we have to raise money to afford our continued existence. We need to raise $40k to keep the market running year round, continue implementing the Gillespie meal program, further our work reward program with the Bridgeport Rescue Mission and install new programs like employing Gillespie residents during the Market to carry crates of food for our chefs that our buying local. Without the funds, we are not able to continue!