A Farm-to-Table “Harvest Tour” in The Last Green Valley
“For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.” — Edwin Way Teale
For almost two decades The Last Green Valley, Inc. (TLGV) has held its annual fundraising event “Tastes of the Valley” in late August or early September when the harvest is in and the bounty of our region’s farms are available. The goal of the event was not only to raise funds for the organization, but to also introduce local farms, wineries and breweries to the area restaurants and chefs that used local farm products to provide the meal for the evening. The event was a celebration of the agricultural heritage of the National Heritage Corridor, and the talents of our region’s chefs.
Tastes of the Valley routinely sold out, and during the past 19 years was held at area restaurants and function halls that could hold 200 or more guests. This year the event will be very different though it will continue to tradition of introducing local food and beverage producers in the region’s local restaurants and residents alike. This year it will not be held on a single evening and it will not be a fundraiser for TLGV. Instead it will be a gourmet Harvest Tour on four days celebrating and supporting TLGV’s partner farms, orchards, vintners, brewers and restaurants during these economically challenging times.
A drive through The Last Green Valley on back roads and our smaller state highways is to witness both the past and current agricultural traditions of our region. Antique farm houses and adjacent barns still stand the test of time as proud reminders of the hardworking farm families of yesterday.
Today we see orchards, corn and hay fields and grazing cattle. Farm stands with local produce, weekend (and weekday) farmers’ markets providing opportunities to enjoy local grown and healthy products grown right here in our towns and communities. The farms of The Last Green Valley define our region as much as our winding rivers and forested hillsides do and Tastes of the Valley is the celebration of these traditions, old and new.
The Harvest Tour begins on Sept. 17 at Grill 37 in Pomfret, and then moves to the Inn at Woodstock Hill Sept. 24. Oct. 1 will be at the Willimantic Brewing Company and the Harvest Tour concludes at the Publick House in Sturbridge, MA. Oct. 8. The chef from each restaurant will create a unique three-course meal made from food and drink from 19 different farms, orchards, vintners and brewers in The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. These include Baldwin Brook Farm, Blackmer Farm, Bright Acres Farm Sugar House, Buddha’s Bees Apiary, Buell’s Orchard, Cloverleigh Farm, Crooked Creek Farm, Echo Farm, Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, Fairholm Farm, Fort Hill Farms, Horse Listeners Orchard, Lapsley Orchard, Maple Lane Farms, New Boston Beef, Organic World Farms, Taylor Brooke Winery and Unbound Glory Homestead Farm.
Information about the event, how to purchases tickets, as well as the menu for each of the chef’s 3-course meal can be found at the TLGV website:
Tickets are $40 per person for TLGV members and $45 for non-members and are to be purchased in advance through the website link shown above or by calling TLGV at 860-774-3300, Monday-Thursday, 8 am to 4 pm. Participants are invited to a sit down meal by calling the restaurant and making a reservation for specific time or by takeout, and folks can sign up for as many of the four dinner options as they like.
The Farm-to-Table Harvest Tour is the perfect kickoff to the 30th Anniversary of Walktober. Information on the 2020 Walktober can be found at the TLGV website where you can down load the Walktober online calendar at: https://thelastgreenvalley.org/walktober/. You can also call 860-774-3300 to have a printed version sent to you. There are 130 unique walks and events this year and provide the perfect autumn season opportunity to get out and enjoy the many natural and cultural resources that make our region so very special.
We live in a beautiful place called The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. I hope you’ll join me and others as we celebrate the bounty of the harvest, and work together to care for, enjoy, and pass on this special place we call home.
Bill Reid is the Chief Ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and has lived in the region for more than 35 years. He can be reached at email@example.com
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