A new fundraiser for Kingfield Community Gardens attempts to demonstrate the benefits of eating local in the most literal sense.
Garden to Table is a monthly dinner party featuring produce from the Kingfield Community Pleasant Avenue Garden. Each party is held in the garden itself at West 38th Street and Pleasant Avenue.
“I think it’s a wonderful gathering space for people,” said Suzie Lillyblad-Larson, who is the Pleasant Avenue garden coordinator.
Garden to Table was inspired by a 12-course dinner Lillyblad-Larson hosted on Halloween 2011, which included ingredients from the community garden.
“The setting sounded great,” said Lynn Smith, who attended the first Garden to Table event, which was held in July. “It was just really peaceful.”
Garden to Table exemplifies both the aesthetic and gastronomic advantages of community gardening.
For each event, Lillyblad-Larson sets up a table in the garden for on-site dining. A record player serenades the eight guests as they enjoy a family-style dinner.
The menu is determined by which produce in the garden is ready for harvest and it is subject to change until the day of the dinner party. Lillyblad-Larson prepares the meal herself, with the help of a few volunteers. Many ingredients are harvested immediately before the course in which they’re served. Diners will likely catch a glimpse of Lillyblad-Larson out in the garden snipping fresh greens not long before the salad course.
All the produce is donated by Lillyblad-Larson and comes from her community garden plot. Proteins and other ingredients that can’t be grown are donated by vendors from the Kingfield Farmers Market.
All the money raised by Garden to Table goes to expand Kingfield Community Gardens’ growing space. The organization, an affiliate of the Kingfield Neighborhood Association, currently consists of 10 plots for 19 gardeners, as well as one communal plot at the front of the garden.
Ideally, Kingfield Community Gardens would like to provide one plot for each gardener. The organization also hopes to start new community garden spaces separate from the Pleasant Avenue garden, which is the only community garden in Kingfield coordinated by the Kingfield Neighborhood Association.
The next Garden to Table dinner will take place Aug. 18, from 6-8 p.m. The final dinner will be held on Sept. 15. Two seats are currently available for the September dinner, each of which costs $55. To purchase one of the remaining seats, email firstname.lastname@example.org.