You could say the Friends of the Farm at Hilltop were in quite a pickle.
With nearly 350 tickets sold for the annual Harvest Dinner this Saturday night it was quite a shock to learn the chefs had abandoned the proverbial kitchen.
Lincoln Culinary Institute typically prepares the meal but just last month closed its Suffield campus.
It was a shock for the organization which had to scramble to find a replacement. But a replacement it did find.
“We were saved by Suffield Academy,” Eileen Moncrief, with the FOFAH, said. “There aren’t many certified kitchens that cook for us.”
"Suffield Academy was happy we could find a way to help ensure the success of the event this year," Charlie Cahn, headmaster at Suffield Academy, said.
"Our students have been involved with the farm and several members of the event's planning committee have been loyal to the school. It's a very full schedule for us right now with the start of the new academic year, but Sean Hennessey, Rich Trites, and Ian White from our talented food services staff stepped right up to help with the dinner," Cahn said.
Moncrief expressed thanks for the academy chefs who will now take locally grown produce and meats and turn it all into a fabulous dinner under the tent.
The event also features a silent auction and live entertainment by The Fast Lane Band.
The dinner is part of the Tenth Annual Farm Fest, a celebration of Suffield’s agricultural roots and Labor Day tradition.
The family event will be held on Monday (Labor Day), Sept. 3, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Guests can enjoy farm animals, pony rides, live music, exhibits, demonstrations, contests including the skillet and hay bale tosses. The annual Tractor Parade shows off farm equipment large and small and food concessions keep hungry visitors fed. Farm Fest admission is free. Donation suggested for parking is $5 per car.
Moncrief said everybody looks forward to the traditional events each year but the group always tries to do something just a little different from the year before.
“We try to keep up with the times,” she said. “We want to get people up to the farm but we also want to show our supporters how much we’ve done over the year.”
The Friends of the Farm at Hilltop formed in 2002 to save George Hendee’s 20,000-square-foot dairy barn from sale and possible demolition. The all-volunteer organization has rehabilitated barns, installed fencing and completed countless other repair and maintenance projects.
“When that farm was operational it was a driving economic force in Suffield,” Moncrief said. “(Farm Fest) is a history lesson in what farming really meant in this region and what it took to run a farm.”
She said what it takes to run the event is made possible by the generosity of the partner farmers and suppliers including:
- Bielonko Farms LLC, 1045 East St., Suffield;
- Boroski Farm Stand, 300 Bridge St., Suffield;
- Brown’s Provin Mountain View Farm, 481 N. West St., Feeding Hills, MA;
- Chestnut Hill Nursery Garden Center, 75 Chestnut Hill Rd., Stafford;
- Clark Farms at Bushy Hill Orchard, 29 Bushy Hill Rd., Granby;
- Cupola Hollow Farm, 1510 N. Stone St., West Suffield;
- E. Cecchi Farms, 1109 Springfield St., Feeding Hills, MA;
- Easy Pickin’s Orchard, 46 Bailey Road, Enfield;
- Halladay Farm, 8 Halladay Ave. E., Suffield;
- Hastings Farm, 472 Hill St., Suffield;
- Kuras Farms, 1901 Mountain Rd., West Suffield;
- Nestrovich Fruit Farm, Route 57, Granville, MA;
- Oxen Hill Farm, 1434 Hill St., Suffield;
- Raisbeck Farm, 1330 North Grand St., West Suffield;
- Vincent Farms, 547 Russell Ave., Suffield;
- 90 Meat Outlet, 90 Avocado St., W, Springfield, MA,;
- Cabot Creamery Cooperative, 1 Home Farm Way, Montpelier;
- Geissler’s Supermarket, 830 Suffield St. Agawam, MA; and
- Highland Park Market, 68 Bridge St., Suffield
- H. P. Hood and Sons
For more information please visit www.fofah.com. For tickets for the dinner, which are $55/person, please call (860) 668-0758.