Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local News

July 11, 2012

Farm-to-Fork Gala celebrates abundance of local harvest

AMERICUS — Of all the positive aspects of Koinonia Farm’s recent inaugural Farm-to-Fork Gala, the most evident was the outstanding energy level of the more than 100 attendees.

The nearly 120-person crowd was already in anticipatory moods before they even entered the doors, and their visible enthusiasm escalated as they chatted with familiar faces from across the Americus community.

What elevated this particular night from other fundraisers of equal merit was the recipient of the funds coupled with the theme of the dinner itself.

The primary purpose of the evening was two-fold: to celebrate the abundance of fresh, healthy local foods in Americus and to support the Koinonia Farm Educational Cooperative, which offers hands-on, farm-based programs and workshops for Americus-area children as well as interns and visitors from around the globe.

Koinonia Farm, an intentional Christian community which served as the spiritual and ideological birthplace of Habitat for Humanity International and The Fuller Center for Housing, is now in its 70th year of operation.

But rather than resting on laurels of a bygone era, Koinonia Farm has purposely reinvigorated itself in the past few years by ushering in to Sumter County and the surrounding area this transforming concept: Local, small-scale farming should be emphasized, encouraged and celebrated.  

Koinonia Farm raises pastured pork, grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, pecans, blueberries, muscadines and seasonal produce on the community’s 575-acre property. And, as many are aware, the community has an on-site bakery and related vibrant mail-order business.

By collaborating with a dozen or so local South Georgia farms and farmer’s markets, Koinonia was able to offer gala attendees a delectable dinner grown locally and derived solely from fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Thus the Farm-to-Fork philosophy was in effect, and the entire menu served to celebrate the early summer South Georgia harvest.

Participating farms include Brown Produce, Carpenter’s Produce, Chase Farm Market, Easterlin Farm, Elnora Farms, Flower Empowerment, Jibbs Vineyard, Kauffman’s Farm Market, Koinonia Farm, Pitts Apiaries, White Oak Pastures, Sparkman’s Cream Valley, Still Pond Vineyard, William Brown Farms, and Willsofarm.

Specific menu items included a salad with heirloom tomatoes, green plums and cucumbers with citrus vinaigrette dressing; herb roasted chicken with grilled vegetable gumbo; braised beef with roasted ratatouille and potato in natural Burgundy jus; and roasted stuffed pepper and fried eggplant with herb oil and balsamic reduction.

The dessert consisted of a peach cobbler parfait and spiced pecan ice cream sprinkled with fresh berries.

Another highlight of the evening was the Silent Auction. More than 30 local businesses and friends donated a variety of items for the silent auction, including muscadine Wwine, Rylander Theatre season passes, Flint Riverquarium passes, gift cards, paintings and portraits, gift baskets and even a unicycle.

Koinonia Farm hopes to host such dinners seasonally as various harvest times occur. In so doing, the Americus community has yet another reason to come together and, enjoy its own local bounty, and serve as a beacon for the local-farming movement spreading across the nation.

This movement has been spawned by people who are keen to get their hands in the dirt, connect with their food source, and relish in a sustainable and economically savvy practice.  Though some are like Koinonia Farm and have ample acreage, others are doing as much as they can with their own plots of soil, whether that be townhouse patio or half acre suburban yardscape.

Koinonia Farm is excited about its initiatives and looks forward to future Farm-to-Fork gatherings.

— Submitted


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