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July 17, 2014

Local Foods, Local Spirits celebration to highlight area flavor

The abundance and unique array of the region’s food and drink will be celebrated fully at this year’s second annual Local Foods, Local Spirits event from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, August 7, at the Farmers Market in Cooperstown.

“Come enjoy a summer evening with friends and neighbors and taste the bounty of our area. Local Foods, Local Spirits is an initiative to raise awareness of the region’s agricultural diversity, promote local agricultural food businesses and their products, and connect producers to both commercial and individual customers in a meaningful way,” said Lyn Wier , Cooperstown Farmers’ Market Manager.

With a competition premise worthy of a Food Network show, the event brings local producers, local restaurant chefs and the community together to celebrate the combined fruits of all of the participants’ labor. Of course, the only labor involved for attendees is the task of voting with their mouths.

As Weir explained, this year’s event is targeted at building more working relationships between restaurant chefs and farmers growing ingredients. Leading up to the night, 14 chef led teams will be grouped with almost 45 farmers and food entrepreneurs to develop inventive dishes for tasting. The hope is that these efforts will be the seeds growing into new ongoing relationships between restaurant and farm businesses.

To this end, a competition has been set up between local chefs to see who can create the most delicious bite from the Farmers Market producers. Each chef gets assigned three producers. They must choose one product they want to use in their taste from each supplier and concoct the perfect morsel. The guests have the pleasure of tasting the farm-to-table treats and voting for the team who delighted their taste buds most.

“Just to keep it interesting there is a Local Food, Local Spirits People’s Choice award at stake -- guests vote for their favorite taste, and the team that created the winning taste gets the bragging rights, an award, and gift certificates for the team members. The chef gets a gift certificate to his favorite market, the producers get a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant,” said Weir.

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