Country Mouse, City Mouse: Great Performances’ Summer Farm Table Dinners, One at a Farm, One in a Loading Dock

One of our favorite moments last year was sipping an unbloody Mary, made with yellow cherry tomato juice and Crop organic vodka, as we strolled the pumpkin field at Wave Hill in the Bronx. One of our other favorite moments was sipping Long Island wine and munching Katchkie pickles while marveling at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and feeling like a star from 30 Rock.

Both these moments were courtesy of Great Performances’ Farm to Table series, and the caterer-cum-farmers are again holding two dinners designed to unite country mouse and city mouse—one at Great Performances’ own Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook (co-hosted with the Columbia Land Conservancy) on July 17, and another on July 29 against the streetscape of Great Performances’ Hudson Street courtyard, co-hosted with City Winery.

“It’s a great expression of man in cooperation with nature, that perfect synergy,” says Great Performances’ founder Liz Neumark, also one of the organizers of the heirloom veggie auction we’ve been talking so much about. (It’s part of our fall Eat Drink Local week.) “We’ve planted the land, we’ve harvested, we’ve taken care of it, we’ve set our table,” she adds.

And while the long farmhouse table set down in the field is an idea we have eaten before,  it’s much more intense when you transplant that table to a warehousey parking lot courtyard off Varick Street in Tribeca, where Katchkie trucks deliver produce for Great Performances’ kitchen and where grapes arrive to be crushed at City Winery.

Ingredients for both meals will be procured from Roxbury Farm, Monkshood Nursery, and Little Seed Gardens, and meats from Meiller’s Farm, Pigasso Farms and High Hope Hogs.

The two events will share the same delectable farm-to-table menu, but juxtaposed against two decidedly different backdrops.  (And as the invitation notes: “seasonal menus in nature are, of course, subject to Mother Nature.”)”The menu highlights foods that are served at their seasonal peak and artisanally crafted to accentuate their flavors,”  says Neumark. “Served within 36 hours of their harvest, the menu is the synthesis of robust flavor and modern dining.”

Weather permitting, menu highlights include: Garden Gazpacho with Sherry Vinegar Spiked Cucumbers, Pickled Baby Beets with Katchkie Farm Arugula,Coach Farms Goat Cheese, and Toasted Sunflower Seeds, Rosemary and Fennel Grilled Pigasso Farms Chicken and Cherry, Peach and Mixed Berry Tarts.

The country dinner is $125 per person — for an additional $25, Katchkie Farm will send you home with a tote bag filled with freshly picked produce — and the urban dinner is $75 per person; purchase tickets here. Profits for both will fund the programs of The Sylvia Center, a nonprofit housed at Katchkie Farm, dedicated to introducing children to the pleasures of healthy, seasonal eating, and profits from the first dinner will also benefit the Columbia Land Conservancy.

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Brian is the editor at large of Edible East End, Edible Long Island, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. He writes from his home in Sag Harbor, New York, where he and his family tend a home garden and oysters. He is also obsessed with ducks, donuts and dumplings.