Farm to table benefit dinner aims to promote local food, raise funds for downtown district

Brandon Paykamian • Sep 18, 2018 at 11:44 PM

The Downtown Johnson City Foundation is holding its third annual Grown & Gathered “farm-to-table” benefit dinner on Sept. 30 to promote local food and to raise funds for the downtown district’s beautification efforts.

Last year, Downtown Development Director Dianna Cantler said the benefit dinner was able to raise proceeds for the refurbishment of the downtown Johnson City sign, located at King Commons Park.

“One of the reasons we started the event was the increased interest in local producers,” she said. “The first two years, the funds went to the rehab of the Johnson City sign. This year, the funds will probably be used for working with the Sesquicentennial Committee on some type of art or something downtown.

“It’s more to celebrate local farms and producers, and to educate people about where they can get food locally, not just at the Farmer’s Market, but throughout the year.”

The dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and appetizers in the Pavilion at Founders Park. The feast, prepared by local business owners Jamie Dove and Elise Clair and their team from Main Street Pizza and River Creek Catering, will feature ingredients from 30 local farms and producers, including River Creek Farm.

“This dinner is certainly a celebration of the heritage of local agriculture in our region, and we love to see the hundreds of folks that gather to honor this tradition. It lets us show just what all we’re capable of, and how we’ve been inspired by our neighboring small farmers,” Clair said.

Clair described some of the food and drinks featured at the dinner.

“We’re starting the dinner out with a featured cocktail, infusing Jonesborough’s finest Tennessee Hills corn whiskey into a sweet corn liqueur and roasted cantaloupe sparkler, finished with the foraged flavors of an astringent gingko and citrusy sumac tincture,” she said. “Then, we take you right back home to a familiar Appalachian summer with a bite of heirloom tomato on sourdough, fresh aioli whipped up from Lafollette's free-range eggs, kicking up the ante with a salt-cured egg yolk to make that tomato sing.

“A second appetizer features figs from The Fig Lady, Kathy Waldo, of Jonesborough, topping a butternut tart with whipped chevre, cornmeal-candied Benton’s bacon and roasted sunflower seed.”

According to a press release announcing the event, lamb, duck and beef brisket will also be featured on the menu, which can be found at www.downtownjc.com.

Tickets for the dinner are $90 per person and can be purchased through Eventbrite or in person at the JCDA office, 300 E. Main St., Suite 406, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30. Organizers recommend purchasing tickets as early as possible.

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