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Eat in-season, organic food, jam to Reverend Slankey at second Farm2Table

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Eat fresh, organic local food at the second Farm2Table event at Bert and Ernie's this weekend in Great Falls
Eat fresh, organic local food at the second Farm2Table event at Bert and Ernie’s this weekend in Great Falls

Guests will have the unique opportunity to dine on fresh, in-season food and visit with the farmers who grew it all at the second Farm2Table event outside Bert and Ernie’s in Great Falls on Saturday.

The event, put together by Bert and Ernie’s and McMeel Insurance, celebrates serving fresh foods and showing how easy it is to think about what you eat in a seasonal way much like you might beer or wine.

The first outing received such a positive response that organizers quickly started a waiting list for this time out, which will feature a few new attractions including music from the Missoula band Reverend Slankey, more space under the tent and a pairing of foods with wines selected by Mark Tronson of WinesByWednesday.com.

Bert and Ernie’s owner Janet Neil said having McMeel Insurance as a part of the event this time out should make the event even better.

“(McMeel) insures a lot of farmers so they’re a cool connection between us and the farmers,” she said.

The meal will start at 6 p.m. in an outdoor tent behind Bert and Ernie’s. Some of the food being served includes several “beautiful” fresh entrees, Neil said.

“Basically the first course is all summer by using a lot of fresh seasonal items such as dragon’s tongue beans (purple beans), garlic, house made ricotta cheese with purple and yellow tomato bruschetta with an artistic flare.

One of the other courses will showcase pork from Groundworks and we will make homemade zucchini pickles),” she said. “Then, another course will teach our guests how to use the grain farro because that type of grain is becoming a bigger part of today’s cuisine. We will top it off the evening with a huckleberry tart and house made chocolate ice cream.”

The farms participating in the event this time out include Prairie Heritage Farms and Groundworks Farm. Tilleras Landscaping will provide green accessories around the tent and Neil said they have a new sponsor in Montana Farmer’s Union and a returning sponsor in 2J’s Fresh Market.

Meanwhile Courtney Lowery Cowgill, one of the farmers attending the event said she and her husband Jacob are particularly looking forward to sharing with folks the benefits that come from eating local, organic fare. The Cowgills own Prairie Heritage Farms and also attended the inaugural event in June.

“One of the best parts of what we’re doing is just learning along with people who are eating our food about how to eat seasonally, and it’s been so exciting to see the turnout and the reaction that Janet has had from this Farm2Table event and just the sheer amount of people interested n it number one and their enthusiasm for super good food, I believe showcases how supportive the Great Falls community is for local food.”

Cowgill said there is no better fulfillment for them than seeing people eating their food who are just as passionate about it as they are.

Eat fresh, in-season foods at the second Farm2Table event outside Bert and Ernie's. Here's a dish created by chef/owner Janet Neil.
Eat fresh, in-season foods at the second Farm2Table event outside Bert and Ernie’s. Here’s a dish created by chef/owner Janet Neil.

“There’s no better feeling for us than seeing people really enjoy our food and get really really excited about what we’re doing,” she said. “It’s a lot of hard work, and can be … difficult at times, but it’s all totally worth it when you see somebody take a mouthful of something you’ve grown and see how they appreciate it as much as you do.”

Along with the food, Neil said this time they’ll be serving four red and two white wines from local areas such as wineries in Oregon and Washington. They have been paired up with the food selections by Mr. Tronson.

Neil said pairing the food with the wine takes the Farm2Table idea to the next step in terms of what they can offer people and that it’s been a fruitful partnership thus far.

“He and I work well together when it comes to pairing wines with foods, plus we’re both kind of laid back getting things out and we meet each other’s schedules.”

After the meal, Neil said she can’t wait to see Reverend Slankey play again after watching them put on a great show at the Food and Wine Festival earlier this year. She said she’s kept in touch over the years with Cody Hollow, drummer/vocalist, since they graduated high school together.

bertnernies_event_mephotography-1-Edit (1)“They’ll be a draw of their own and I kind of wanted to add that in to celebrate summer,” she said. “Just create something where people can be somewhere cool downtown that encourages fun and helps to create a local vibe that shows there is stuff going on for younger adults.”

Neil said they will have lots of photos of the event on their new website farm2tablegreatfalls.com, where you can go to check out news about the upcoming events as well as highlights from past events.

Tickets to the dinner are $70 per person, gratuities included. To RSVP, call Bert and Ernie’s at 406-453-0601.

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