If you invite someone to dinner expect to have great conversation, to discover several 6-degrees of separation connections and to exchange information at night’s end that leads to great friendships.
That sums up the inaugural Illinois Harvest Dinner served Wednesday, September 9 at the Mackinson Dairy Farm near Pontiac, IL. Fashioned after CommonGround North Dakota’s Banquet in a Field event, the goal was threefold:
- To create conversation that included thought-provoking questions, light-bulb moment answers and lots of listening and learning about food, fuel and fiber.
- To forge connections with people (i.e. farmers) consumers can trust, so when a question arises in the future, they know who might have an answer.
- To highlight Illinois’ number one industry and community!
Whose crazy idea was this?
Mary Mackinson Faber, Jenny Schweigert and I had connected on social media as Illinois farm gals and agriculture advocates. So, when North Dakota’s video began circling through our newsfeeds, one us posted, “Let’s bring this to Illinois.” And the other two said, “Count me in!”
We reached out to Illinois Agri-Women as official partner and hosts of the night, but were overwhelmed by the number of individual farmers, agri-business and commodity and farm groups that rallied around the cause. Their support proved that agriculture as a community is finding value in connections off-line as much as on-line. We are discovering that our commonalities as humans far outweigh our differences and that civil exchange of ideas can happen without hashtags, likes and shares.
Also in the audience were farmers, of course. We asked a select few to attend the event and help drive conversation, field questions and glean understanding of the issues consumers puzzle over.
As we called out our farewells, folks offered praise, thanks and then asked, “When will you do this again?” Exhausted but pleased and oh so grateful, Mary, Jenny and I know a second annual event is in our future.
More highlights from Illinois Harvest Dinner are coming . . . in the form of a highlight reel, photographs from the talented Erin Ehnle from Keeping It Real Through The Lens of A Farm Girl, and other posts from those who attended. Follow along on facebook at Illinois Harvest Dinner or on twitter #ILHarvest or @IllinoisHarvest.
- Out to dinner with the Illinois Harvest Dinner by Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer
- Sharing A Meal Will Lead to. . . by Steph at Educational Anarchy blog
- IL Harvest Dinner by Erin Enhle, Keeping It Real Through the Lens of a Farm Girl
- Video Recap from ParkLife Films
Other Details: What Did You Serve?
- Horseradish infused deviled eggs
- Bruschetta- Local mozzarella, grilled tomato, peach, aged balsamic on house made focaccia
- Assorted pickled vegetables, fresh herb & buttermilk dip
- Yukon gold potatoes, roasted cauliflower, caramelized onions, eggs, Dijon vinaigrette on Asian spoons
Family Style Salad:
- Cider roasted golden beets, apples, cherry tomatoes with hazelnut vinaigrette & house made croutons
White Yeast Dinner Rolls with Butter
Duet plated meal:
- Prime rib & slow braised pork shoulder
- Fresh green beans
- Charred corn polenta
Dessert: Mini Cheesecakes
- Chocolate Zucchini
- Maple Bacon
- Butter Pecan
- Peach Amaretto
Other Details: Who Sponsored This Event?
Illinois Corn Growers Association
Prairie Farms Dairy
Illinois Farm Bureau
Mackinson Dairy Farm
Illinois Beef Association
1st Farm Credit
Midwest Dairy Association
Randy & Kathy Faber
Erin Ehnle Photography
Livingston County Farm Bureau
Country Financial & Growmark
Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers
Illinois Pork Producers
St. Louis District Dairy Council
Illinois State University – Agriculture Department
John & Linda Olson
That’s So Sweet
Mariah’s Mums & More
Illinois Specialty Growers
Illinois Milk Producers’ Association
Pilot Knob Comforts
Grundy County Farm Bureau
Livingston County DHIA
Woodford County Farm Bureau
Marcoot Jersey Creamery
Massie & Quick LLC
Penny & Kris Lauritzen
Prairie Central Cooperative
Luck-E Holsteins – Engel Family
Doug & Amy Raber Family
Kelly Sauder Rupiper Equipment, LLC
Sleepy Creek Vineyard