Eat y’all! That’s not only a call to dig in to a scrumptious meal, but also the name of an organization that, since 2012, has strived to bring together chefs with the best of southern grown producers and makers. One way they accomplish this goal is to host a series of CONNECT dinners at restaurants throughout the south, and beyond. Four CONNECT dinners are on this spring’s lineup, including ones in Mobile, Chattanooga, New York City, and our very own Bainbridge, GA on May 22!
Through our relationship with a relatively new restaurant, The American, in Bainbridge, we were asked to participate by providing produce that would be used in several courses during the event. We were thrilled to be asked, and honored to be able to participate in the event. Even though we’d had a sneak peek at the evening’s menu, we still weren’t quite sure what to expect.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, we were immediately greeted by a big banner with Calamint Farms listed first (alphabetically) as one of the evening’s featured farms. Our rainbow carrots even featured prominently as focal decorations.
The evening’s meal was composed of five courses, each paired with a glass of wine. Each of the first four courses: “Fancy Maters and Rice,” “Cornmeal Catfish,” “Smoked Butt Ballontine,” and “Braised Short Rib Ravioli” could have been a meal unto itself. The final course, dessert, “Handcrafted Strawberry Puff Pastry” with basil ice cream put the finishing touches on a meal that was so clearly a labor of love put together by many hands. The ingredients of each dish were so perfectly complementary, the presentation divine, and the flavor of course was incredible.
For me, the event was everything I could have asked for. In fulfilling their mission of connecting chefs and local food producers, this Eat Y’all dinner brought together many of my favorite local foods. Thompson Farms of Dixie provided pork, Grady Ranch of Whigham supplied beef, and pecan truffle oil from Pecan Ridge Plantation in Bainbridge along with cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville was used in the ravioli. Last, but certainly not least, our greens, onions, and garlic were cooked down with the short ribs to make the ravioli filling. Our pea shoots and oregano also made pretty and flavorful garnishes throughout the evening. The founders of Eat Y’all were quick to point out that in their six years of putting together CONNECT dinners, there were more local food producers participating in this event than any previously. I think that speaks so highly to what we have going on in this part of the state, as well as to the dedication of Tyler and Heather Thomas, owners of The American, who have a mission not only of running a successful restaurant, but of also revitalizing Bainbridge and increasing community connections.
Back on the farm, we enjoyed some relaxation time this weekend, both by choice and due to Alberto’s on-again, off-again rains. We did manage to plant peanuts and basil, and harvested another round of potatoes, onions, and carrots. Between raindrops, we also managed to work in our now daily harvests of cucumbers, yellow squash, and zucchini. They’re going fast, so if you’re looking for those items and they’re currently sold out in our online store, check again in a day or two, they’re almost sure to be back in stock!