When was the last time you dined at a “farm-to-table” restaurant? It probably hasn’t been too terribly long, since Baltimore is jam-packed with great restaurants that tout their commitments to local ingredient sourcing.
But when was the last time you truly thought about the “farm” part of that equation? About planting and tending and harvesting crops?
On Saturday, September 17, starting at 6:30 p.m., you can do just that, at Harvest Moon ShinDig. The event is put together by the Maryland Agricultural Resource Council, a non-profit organization that is working to transform the Baltimore County Ag Center and Farm Park into an agriculture knowledge and awareness resource for both farmers and the public. Featuring food and drinks from some of the best restaurants and producers in the state, plus music by favorite local son Bosley, the ShinDig looks like it’ll be an absolute blast.
Event organizer John Hawks promises the event will be a great time. “Bosley is playing, we have a huge tent and an extra large dance floor – none of these little postage stamp things up by the band,” he says. “We have lots of bars and a big AV system.”
Hawks is also looking forward to the party’s power to increase people’s awareness of the role agriculture plays in our lives.
“For thousands of years, humans have celebrated the harvest. Maybe we’ve let that go a little bit the last hundred or fifty years,” he says. “But with the rise of the farm-to-table restaurant, it’s time to celebrate that harvest the restaurants enjoy and the food we enjoy.”
He notes that in terms of understanding and appreciating the value of farmers, especially smaller farms, we have, as a society, come a long way over the past fifty or sixty years. But, he says, we could be even more cognizant of the important role agriculture plays in the state of Maryland.
“Ag is the biggest business in Maryland, by far,” he says. “We’re in such a sweet spot – we’re so lucky. The weather’s moderate, we’re getting plenty of rain and we’re close to urban centers, so we can get fresh produce and all the other things we grow out [to restaurants].”
As befitting an event focused on agriculture, the restaurant lineup is an impressive one, stocked with spots that make local sourcing a priority: Woodberry Kitchen, Woodfire Kitchen, Gertrude’s, The Corner Pantry, Fork & Wrench, Parts & Labor, Stone Mill Bakery, The Milton Inn, Orebanks, The Valley Inn, Copper Kitchen, The Filling Station, The Oregon Grille, Birroteca, Plantbar, Waterfront Kitchen, The Nickel Taphouse and John Brown General and Butcher will all be on hand. Plus, there will be treats from Charlottetown Farms, maker of some of the best goat cheese around.
Beer lovers will be excited by the lineup, which includes brews from Heavy Seas, Jailbreak, Flying Dog, DuClaw, Union Craft, Evolution and Manor Hill. Wine enthusiasts can choose pours from Boordy, Elk Run, Basignani, Linganore, Fiori and St. Michael’s and those who prefer the hard stuff can go for Old Line Spirits’ whiskey, Jen’s Vodka, from Cassinelli Distillery, Baltimore Whiskey Company’s Shot Tower Gin, Sagamore Rye or Blackwater Distilling’s Picaroon Rum.
“It’s such a good time for Maryland agriculture,” says Hawks. “And the Ag Center is a great place where farmers and people who care about food can meet.”
Tickets for Harvest Moon ShinDig are $95 in advance or $125 at the door. The event takes place September 17, starting at 6:30 p.m., at the Baltimore County Ag-Center and Farm Park, 1114 Shawan Road, Cockeysville. To purchase tickets, visit www.marylandagriculture.org
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