A celebration of local food next week will start off with cantaloupe soup shooters, move on to beef from a county fair steer and end with cake made with Blue Diamond almonds.
The third annual Farm to Table Dinner will raise money for Ag in Motion, a mobile classroom created by the National Ag Science Center, based in Modesto.
The event will take place at the Ceres-area research farm owned by Stanislaus Farm Supply, a longtime supporter of the center. Diners will enjoy a meal made mostly with ingredients from Stanislaus County. They also can tour the company’s test fields for corn, alfalfa and other crops.
“It’s going to be a really rustic theme, but it’s going to be white tablecloth, too,” said Nick Biscay, executive vice president at the farmer-owned cooperative.
He and other dinner planners met Tuesday at Greens on Tenth, the downtown Modesto restaurant that is catering the event. They sampled a menu that will feature:• Small glasses of chilled soup made with Perez cantaloupe and mint from Four Seasons Farms.
• Salad with Ratto Bros. romaine lettuce, more Perez canteloupe, Nicolau Farms goat cheese, walnuts grown by Gordon Heinrich and prosciutto.
• Beef, prepared three ways – braised, grilled and smoked – from a steer that Riley Gonzalves of Modesto High School FFA entered in the Stanislaus County Fair this year. It will be served with a green onion risotto cake and herb-roasted vegetables from Four Seasons.
• Almond cake with nuts from Blue Diamond Growers, eggs from Rainbow Farms, butter from California Dairies and whipped cream.
Several local wines will be served, as will sweet potato vodka made in Atwater. Farmers will sit among the other guests, who will hear a talk on how beef is processed.
Nichole Basjamian, one of the chefs who will prepare the feast, said they have plenty of in-season produce to use, such as cantaloupe, squash and pluots.
“That’s why I started in this industry – to teach people that strawberries don’t come in December,” she said.
Ag in Motion, which debuted in 2011, provides 20 laboratory stations where students can learn about seeds, insects, DNA and other topics.