Submitted by Shawn Personke – Farm to Table Dinner Co-Chair

Calling all farmers market fans!

Tickets for the seventh annual 5 Healthy Towns Farm to Table Fabulous Feast are now on sale. And the virtual auction benefiting the Chelsea, Grass Lake, Dexter, Stockbridge, and Manchester farmers markets opens Aug. 7.

With the Farm to Table Fabulous Feast taking place on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, at 4pm, we’re pleased to be back in Chelsea, where the tradition started.

For the past six years, the fundraising dinner traveled to each of the five healthy towns. In 2016, Chelsea presented the first dinner, followed by Grass Lake, Manchester, Dexter, and then Stockbridge. In 2021, Grass Lake hosted the event under their community pavilion.

This year’s chair, Emily Griswold, manager of the Chelsea Farmers Market, and co-chair Shawn Personke are excited about working with community members from each of the towns, as well as hosting the event at Robin Hills Farm.

“It’s such a beautiful venue,” said Griswold. “And we love that they offer kitchen space, nice bathrooms, and a lot of other niceties that we previously had to rent.“

As usual, the event is primarily outside, providing plenty of fresh air and space.

Griswold has been lining up the chefs to prepare the food donated and purchased from each of the five farmers markets. While the menu is still being fine-tuned, she is excited to welcome back chefs from Smokehouse 52, Silver Maples, the Cedars of Chelsea, Chelsea Alehouse, Friendly Foods Vegan Kitchen, Roaming Goat, and Moveable Feast. Wesley’s Catering is joining the team. Lone Oak Vineyards is providing the wine, and Jolly Pumpkin, the beer.

This year’s online auction opens August 7 and runs through 9am on August 21. At that time, the most popular items head to a live auction format at the dinner. Items are still being collected, but highlights include a stay near the coast of Italy, a Pickleball Party for eight at Wolverine Pickleball, and tickets to the Purple Rose Theatre.

Stephen Petty, CEO of the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation, sees the event as so much more than a dinner.

“Over the last few years, the farmers markets have demonstrated that they are far more than a place to find locally grown produce, but that they are also a hub for social connectedness and well-being,” said Petty.

“Each of the market managers plays an important role in building relationships with farmers and growers, while also creating healthy connections between community members — an increasingly important element of the 5 Healthy Towns mission,“ Petty continued. “Another of the primary pillars of the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation is to encourage people to eat better, which in turn helps ensure better long-term health outcomes. Our farmers markets play an essential role in the five communities to support greater access to fresh, local foods at affordable prices.”

He added that the markets also provide a great opportunity for community residents to stay connected locally, offering music and other events that encourage people to come together, saying, “Our communities love their farmers markets and the Foundation is happy to support the annual Farm to Table event.”