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Farm to Table is more than just Dinner for JOFEE

Amy Green, Alayna Altman and Michael Fraade address the diners during the Farm to Table event. (See photo gallery pg. 14. Community photo by Jessica Budnick)

It was a fantastic feast, fit for a hundred.
The J’s annual Farm to Table Dinner, which was held Tuesday, July 23 in The J Pavilion, saw diners enjoying farm fresh food, prepared by some of the top chefs in Louisville.
“I’ve been planning for this event for the past four weeks,” said Eneitra Beattie of The Table Café. “You want to select exactly what you want to display and how you want to prepare it.”
Beattie was especially proud of her Moroccan beet salad, which seemed to be a big hit. The appetizers and main courses were not only tasty but healthy. The menu included treats like za’atar spiced salmon with basil tzatziki, watermelon, feta and tomato salad with jalapeno vinaigrette and charred corn with lime and cotija cheese.
“The chefs certainly take it to another level,” said Tamar Schwartz, who along with her husband, Rick, attended this event for the second straight year. “The pavilion is decorated so nicely. The band is awesome. The food is beyond fantastic. I think anybody who is not here is missing out.”
The man in the middle of this fundraiser is JOFEE (Jewish Outdoor Food and Environmental Education) Director Michael Fraade, who hoped to create an experience that would raise money for JOFEE and bring people together.
“We conceived of this event as a party, a chance to meet new people, meet the chefs and have some good food and drinks,” Fraade said. “We wanted people to enjoy the outdoor atmosphere. This is also a meaningful way to bring people together with local chefs, local farms and the local community.”
Last year’s inaugural event raised more than $5,000. The money helps fund many of JOFEE’s programs. But Fraade is equally proud of calling attention to those who help grow the food. Eleven regional farms, including The J’s Community Garden, contributed produce to the event.
“We would be nowhere in this movement without the people who put in the extraordinary hours and intense labor of our local farms.”
Fraade added, “We want to support them and highlight the work they do. We have a garden here at The J. We provide produce for this event from the garden. I think it is important to highlight the work these people are doing.”
The Farm to Table event is interactive. People are having a good time eating, listening to the live band and meeting the chefs, discussing how it is prepared. The chefs are happy to share their recipes.
“It’s a special event,” said Mat Shalenko of June Health and Wellness. “It’s something I am invested in. I’m happy to see how well received the event is.”
Beattie agreed, “I hope people understand Kentucky has some of the best food in this country. There is so much more to this state than Horse Racing and Bourbon. It all goes hand in hand.”
Overall, most agree this was more than just a dinner. Rick Schwartz who was enjoying the event with his wife, called it a win-win for diners, chefs and farmers.
“We are into healthy eating, healthy lifestyles and giving our business to local restaurants. The more local businesses you have, the better it is for the community,” Schwartz said.
A community that seems to be growing and learning, meal by meal.

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