MEDINA - "Epic." "Magical."
Words like these were used again and again to describe the experience diners had at Medina's third Farm to Table Dinner last Thursday evening.
A record crowd of 220 from Rochester to Buffalo and beyond gathered on Medina's Main Street, in the heart of the village's Downtown Historic District.
The annual gala affair is hosted by the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc., a Medina area 501(c)(3) arts and cultural organization, as a fund-raiser for the local Canal Village Farmers' Market. The market, sponsored by ORG, is managed by Gail Miller and is open Saturdays through October at 127 West Center Street, Medina.
At the helm of the dinners is Michael Zambito, owner and chef at Medina's renown Zambistro restuarant. The first dinner occurred three years ago with Chef Zambito preparing a five course gourmet meal for 137 guests. The 2017 dinner saw a collaboration between Zambistro and local Mexican restaurant, Mariachi de Oro, and an expansion to accomodate 200 patrons.
This year, Zambistro and Mariachi were joined by chefs from Sourced Market & Eatery, Mile 303 and the Shirt Factory- all of Medina- for a full six-course dinner and over 200 people.
All of the ingredients used in the meal were locally sourced and farm-fresh, provided almost entirely from the vendors at Canal Village Farmers' Market. Proceeds from the dinner go to the market.
At 4:00pm, Medina's Main Street was closed off and the transformation began in earnest. Chefs and staff from all five restaurants decended on the place, working with volunteers from the Canal Village Farmers' Market to remake the historic district into a sensational dinner venue.
At 6:00pm, arriving guests were welcomed a glass of award winning Tiny Bubbles sparkling wine from Schulze Vineyards, a Chef's Course prepared by Zambistro- a Roasted Corn Hush Puppy with Lobster, Italian rice, corn meal, and poblano cream. Diners found arrayed before them an impressive table, stretching nearly 200 feet along the thoroughfare, set with simple elegance.
The Main Street Historic District, listed on both the National and NYS Registers of Historic Places, provided a stunning backdrop of magnificently preserved 19th century architecture in the soft light of the evening sun.
As the evening progressed, words like "magical", "captivating", "dazzling" and "gorgeous”" were heard as patrons dined on gourmet courses such as Chile Verde Empanada- pork shoulder, green tomatillos, red tomatoes, garlic and wild verdolago plant, and Chicken Three Ways- egg pasta, chicken thigh tortellini, sous vide chicken breast, anise beurre blanc and carrot dust.
Each course was paired with some of the finest award-winning wines and mead from the Niagara Wine Trail from Schulze Vineyards, Leonard-Oakes Estate Winery, Liten Buffel, Chateau Niagara and 810 Meadworks. Staff from the wineries poured for the guests and explained the pairings.
As twilight began to fall on the scene, dessert provided by the Shirt Factory was served... Summer Berry Chocolate Cake- layered chocolate cake, mixed summer berry buttercream with chocolate ganache, paired with Raspberry Mead from 810 Meadworks, Medina. While guests savored their last delicious bites, a standing ovation was given for the chefs, servers, wineries and volunteers who executed a flawless evening. Guests dispersed with smiles on their faces, joining the after party at Fitzgibbons Celtic Pub and Mile 303, already looking forward to next years' dinner.
Corporate sponsorship of the event was generously provided by Pride Pak, Inc. Pride Pak is a recent addition to Medina's corporate community. The company operates a new state-of-the-art 64,000 square foot, fresh vegetable processing facility on NYS Rte. 31A.
"We are immensely grateful for Pride Pak's continuing commitment, not only to Medina but to this great community event. They were our first sponsor in 2016." said Chris Busch, ORG President. "Without CEO Steve Karr and the Pride Pak team, this event would've gotten off the ground three years ago."
Also providing sponsorship was Takeform Architectural Graphics. Also located on Rte. 31A, they are designers and manufacturers of architectural signage & graphics for interior & exterior environments. "Bill Hungerford and Takeform are well known for their dedication to our community and we're grateful for their support."
Additional sponsorship was also provided by LaBella Associates of Rochester, NY. Tickets for the event were $100 each and sold out within thirty minutes after going on sale. Brockport resident and blogger, Lori Skoog has attended all three dinners. Writing in her blog, The Skoog Farm Journal, she states, "If you plan on going next year, do not hesitate to get your tickets the minute they are available. This year they were sold out in a heartbeat!"
For more information on the 2018 Farm to Table Dinner, please check out buffalovebirds.com/2018/08/04/farm-to-table-fairytale-in-wny/.