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CROP fundraiser helps sustain necessities to fund farmers market space, market, associated services

 - At the last Farm to Table Dinner in 2016, guests enjoy a 5-course meal that features produce and food from local farmers.

On Sept. 22, the Prineville City Hall Courtyard will be the venue for a meal to remember, complete with good company and conversation from folks from the community.

The large banquet table for the 2019 farm to table dinner will be set with hops and flowers, and twinkling lights will preside over the festive atmosphere. The five-course meal will be derived from the harvest of 10 local farmers.

"It's an amazing menu," commented event coordinator Sheena York of Firefly Events.

The event is being held as a fundraiser for CROP, which is an acronym for Crooked River Open Pastures.

Although York is overseeing this part of the event, she is not affiliated with the organization. She is donating her services, as are many volunteers in the community.

The five-course meal will be cooked by Facebook Chef Eric Boarini, and Ochoco Brewing will be on-site with beer and wine, which also makes this a 21-and-older event.

"They (CROP) really wanted to celebrate the bounty of the season and honor all local farmers," added York.

The Farm to Table Banquet event was last offered in 2016.

CROP has rolled out a weekly farmers market this growing season. In the past, CROP members and participants would travel to a different farm or ranch on a bi-weeky basis.

"People could kind of see where their food was from and how things were produced in our region," indicated CROP member Alia Fern. "This year, we decided to expand on that, and thought Prineville might be ready and be able to support and sustain a weekly market."

As a result, a hybrid model was established, and twice per month there is a farm tour and the other weeks, there is a farmers market at a consistent location at Stryker Park. The new model provides an educational component, and affords local customers to get the things they need on their grocery list each week.

This year's Farm to Table Banquet has been fortunate enough to have Boarini from Facebook bring his talents to the meal preparation. He is donating his time outside of his obligation for Facebook.

"He is really coming out swinging," exclaimed Fern. "He is bringing some really awesome ideas and creations to the table. It's very exciting to collaborate with him."

She emphasized that they are excited about the quality of food that will be served, which will represent local farmers and their harvest at their finest.

Except for the musicians, the individuals involved in the event are volunteering their time — including Boarini, farmers, NJROTC, 4-H club, and Sheena York from Firefly Events, just to name a few.

"It takes a village," Fern said.

In the farmers market, they are trying to have as many local farm products as possible, and that includes varieties of farm-raised meat, eggs and a variety of produce.

The education portion of the tours also enables them to have a conversation with participants about what it's like to raise food in Prineville and Central Oregon.

"It's a different climate over here," stated Fern. "Things come on later in the season than they do in the Portland area, for example."

They have been able to secure a berry vendor weekly from Molalla during the season. They also have local craft makers contribute to their farmer's market. During the dinner event, they will have some of these vendors, and there will also be live music from Da-Chara from 4 to 7 p.m.

The dinner is the biggest yearly fundraiser that CROP offers, and it helps to sustain their basic necessities to fund the space, the market and associated services. It helps to make the weekly farmers market and tours possible the rest of the season.

"It's effectively a community event," said Fern. "We want to be able to give people a place to come, hang out, spend time and get to know where their food comes from. Then, of course, take home the goods and products that they find there."


Farm to Table Banquet will be Sunday, Sept. 22.

For more information: Laura Fern 541-233-3100

The event will be at the Prineville City Hall Courtyard

387 NE Third St., Prineville, OR 97754

4 p.m. for Happy Hour

Dinner begins at 5 p.m.

Must be 21 years of age or older

Live Music will be by Da-Chara Duo from 4-7 p.m.

Tickets are available at CROP - Crooked River Open Pastures, on Facebook. Under events it is listed as Farm to Table Banquet. Tickets are available through Eventbrite. $75 per ticket for dinner.

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