Farm to Fork so far a success


The Schoolhouse at Cannondale will host this year’s fourth Farm to Fork dinner at Millstone Farm on Thursday, July 17.
“It is a four-course meal that we do under the stars, if the weather cooperates,” said Francesca Kirwan, event coordinator.
Farm to Fork starts with a cocktail hour at 6, said Ms. Kirwan, and a specialty cocktail is featured at each event.
“This month, we’re doing a ‘Schoolhouse Spritz,’ which is a really great celery syrup-based gin drink,” said Ms. Kirwan. “That’s going to be delicious and refreshing for July.”
Following the cocktail hour is an optional tour of Millstone Farm at 6:30.
“People who go on the tour have a great time. The leader farmer brings them around and shows them how the farm works,” explained Ms. Kirwan.
“Once they come back from that, we sit down for dinner, which is B.Y.O.B. It’s a very casual, fun evening with some great drinks and lawn games.”

Farm to Fork was started years ago by Tim LaBant, executive chef at The Schoolhouse, said Ms. Kirwan.
“He’s from Wilton and he’s been around here, around Millstone Farm and all these other great farms for a while,” said Ms. Kirwan.
“I worked at Millstone for a while when I was in high school with my sister Emma, who is on Food Network Star right now, so we’re all a bunch of foodies here.”


The food


Ms. Kirwan said about 95% of the food served during Farm to Fork is sourced from Millstone Farm.
“If we can’t get it from Millstone, then we get everything from similar types of farms that are organic — the real organic; not the trendy word people throw around,” she said.
“It’s dangerous to throw out the ‘Farm to Fork’ term, because like ‘organic,’ it’s used everywhere now and it doesn’t carry a whole lot of weight, but people like Tim and my sister are the people who actually have the backing to say it.”
Ms. Kirwan said each Farm to Fork menu is like “a mystery.”
“I can’t even get the menu out of Tim because he’ll go up to Millstone, look around there and grab whatever he wants, and he’ll create it with what he can get that’s the best of the best that day,” she said.
The menu isn’t the only aspect of Farm to Fork that changes each time.


“We like to promote our event and the farm as a venue, so we like to showcase our stuff,” said Ms. Kirwan.
“We’ll do fun menus or seating cards or bar menus with the specialty cocktail, and fun little decor items like flowers. Just little extra details that make people go, ‘Wow.’”
There are many repeat Farm to Fork guests, said Ms. Kirwan, “so we want to give them something new and exciting each time.”
Regardless of what The Schoolhouse and Millstone do differently, Ms. Kirwan said, “the food is really the main star — it never fails to disappoint.”
Although an evening under the stars is intended for each event, Farm to Fork takes place rain or shine.
If it rains, the dinner is brought into Millstone’s farmhouse, which Ms. Kirwan described as “a beautiful building with a big open room and high ceilings.”

“The farmhouse is fully functional for processing all the organic foods that come out of there, but we can only fit about 60 people maximum in there,” said Ms. Kirwan.
For this reason, she said, each Farm to Fork is limited to 50 guests.
Tickets for Farm to Fork cost $126.35 per person and the proceeds benefit The Schoolhouse at Cannondale, said Ms. Kirwan.
“The Schoolhouse is a really small restaurant that seats a maximum of about 36 people,” she said.
“It has a great following, everybody loves it and the food is great, but because of the numbers you can actually seat, events like Farm to Fork are a great way to help keep the place running, in a sense.”


Farm to Fork began as a once-a-month event, said Ms. Kirwan, “but as demand got greater and greater and the tickets started selling out quickly, we decided to do two every month in the summer.”
Now, she said, Farm to Fork takes place twice a month during the summer.
Tickets for this year’s Farm to Fork events have been sold out, said Ms. Kirwan.
“The June and July tickets sold out in two days and the August and September tickets sold out in three days.”
Tickets for next year’s Farm to Fork go on sale June 1, 2015, and may be purchased at timlabantevents.com.