by Diva Trista Russell
I have to admit that when I heard about this event, I had no idea who Audrey was. But after attending Audrey’s Feast, it appears that Audrey was wonderful inspiration to our community, and especially the Farmers’ Market in my hometown of Exeter. Unfortunately, she recently passed away, but it was evident from the kind words spoken throughout the night that her inspiration still lives on.
Audrey’s Feast was a long-table style dinner that was held in a tent right beside Main Street in Exeter. Audrey’s Feast was inspired by Audrey McFalls, who saw similar events celebrating local food held in neighbouring regions and wanted to bring it to Exeter. The proceeds from the Feast went to the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre and the Exeter Farmers’ Market. The servers throughout the night were all vendors from the Farmers’ Market. Dinner was catered by Devin Tabor of Bon Vivant Personal Chef Service, and live music by Devon Martene and Jon Gill.
The delicious dinner started off with an amuse-bouche (bite size appetizer) of smoked Lake Huron fish, mixed greens with roasted beets, and roasted sweet potato soup. For the main course, there was roast beef with gravy and horseradish cream sauce, and honey dijon roast chicken. This was accompanied with a medley of veggies, smashed potato with roasted garlic, and fresh rolls with seasoned butter. The dessert was an an apple crumble with fresh raspberries, chantilly cream and mint. Yum!
The dinner featured items from Barrking Hill Farm, Bayfield Berry Farm, Cedar Villa Angus Farms, Firmly Rooted Farm, Good Luck Gardens, McClymont Century Orchard, Sheldon Berries, The Home Farm, and Cudmore Farm.
Guest speaker for the evening was Andrew Fleet, who is Director of Growing Chefs! Ontario, a non-profit organization based in London that unites chefs, growers, educators and community members to help get kids excited about how to grow and prepare healthy food. One of the programs Growing Chefs! Ontario offers is called “Fresh Food Frenzy” which takes school kids to a local farmers’ market and then prepare a meal using market ingredients.
He also spoke about how we need to change how the way we look at food, as often we look at eating as an inconvenience in our busy day. He said that Europeans, especially Italians, have it right: they look at food and eating as a priority, and fit the other things in life around food.
I hope this event happens again next year!