Celebrating the Farm-to-Table Movement

Diana Peisach

The farm-to-table movement is one that has been on the rise for years, particularly noted by the growing number and popularity of farmers markets and organic food stands in cities across the country. For restaurants, the option to buy local products means not only improved ingredients, but also the ability to help the local economy and farming industries. With the vast number of farms in Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay in our backyard, Baltimore is now working to unveil the true potential of this movement in our area. And in a lively attempt to showcase all the incredible products Maryland has to offer, Dine Downtown Baltimore is hosting this summer’s Farm-to-Table Celebration.


The Farm-to-Table Celebration is a week-long promotion that includes over ten of Baltimore’s top restaurants featuring specialized farm-to-table menu items to promote eating and buying locally. To start off the week, Dine Downtown Baltimore hosted a free kick-off tasting event this past Wednesday, July 10, in Center Plaza from 5-8pm. The celebration featured wine and food tasting stations from local farms and vineyards across Maryland. I got the chance to attend this fine event and can truthfully say Baltimore is in for a foodie treat!


Set up under tents around the plaza, approximately 15 different farms, creameries and wineries offered samplings of their finest items. Featured restaurants, TEN TEN, Fleet Street Kitchen, and Vino Rosina serving up their own locally inspired dishes, also joined the event.



After arriving at the plaza, my friends and I began our evening by grabbing our first wine sample from Red Red Wine Bar and then headed to the restaurant stations. Fleet Street Kitchen and TEN TEN, both under the same tent, offered delightful local creations crafted by their brilliant chefs. TEN TEN offered a taste of their deliciously rich tomato gazpacho soup, while Fleet Street Kitchen served a bite of roasted beet salad that included beets, pine nuts, homemade yogurt, and raspberries picked locally that morning. Each sample was offered in a single spoonful serving and the combination of both dishes made for a fantastic first bite.



Vino Rosina was our next stop. As one of the most popular stands at the event, they constantly had the longest line- and after just a taste, it was clear to see why their sample was such a hit. Vino Rosina served a sample of their pulled pork over homemade ranch, topped with tomato jam and paired with a buttermilk biscuit. The combination of sweet from the jam and savory from the pork made for an incredible dish. Vino Rosina’s pulled pork will be one of their featured farm-to-table menu presentations offered this week.



As the event wore on, we hopped from line to line, experiencing the delectable flavors of all the local products and wines. We sampled several local cheeses, tasted naturally raised chicken from Springfield Farm, drank wine from Red Red Wine and Basigiani Winery, and even had a scoop of chocolate ice cream from the Prigel Family Creamery, just to name a few. Each station offered free samples, information about their products and the opportunity to purchase items on the spot. 



Overall, the event was a great success. A constant flow of city dwellers leaving work filled the plaza throughout the evening and, despite the severe heat, the smooth music and friendly atmosphere made it pleasant for all.


Although this event has now passed, it marks only the beginning of the full Farm-to-Table Celebration, which will last from July 12-21. Participating restaurants include B&O American Brasserie, The Black Olive, Fleet Street Kitchen, Grille 700, Regi’s American Bistro, Ryleigh’s Oyster, TEN TEN, Vino Rosina, Waterfront Kitchen, Wit & Wisdom and The Yard.


By participating in the farm-to-table movement, these restaurants are paving the way for others in the art of using locally grown products. Buying locally not only tastes better and is better for you, but it helps the environment, the economy and our local farms. I recommend stopping by any of the participating restaurants this week and tasting for yourself what Maryland has to offer. To learn more about the celebration, visit the Dine Downtown Baltimore event page at http://www.dinedowntownbaltimore.com/featevents.aspx.


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