Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dinner on the River: Celebrating Forgotten Southern Foods

Katy Trail

Dinner on the River


Starring heritage ingredients from Slow Food USA’s
“Ark of Taste” endangered foods list

Sunday, Sept. 21 at 4 o’clock
(3 o’clock optional tour of the brewery, barrel room and new winery)

Les Bourgeois A-Frame
on the Missouri River Bluffs at Rocheport

This event is Slow Food Katy Trail’s main fundraiser

for our Harvest-of-the-Month elementary-school program

We loved having our annual fundraiser in Les Bourgeois’ century-old tobacco barn for the last few years. Unfortunately, the barn (which had been losing a few pieces of its wooden walls to the wind every year) finally succumbed this past spring to the ravages of time. The folks at Les Bourgeois were again quick and generous to offer an option at another one of their scenic venues. We think you’ll find this one, with its splendid blufftop river view, just as enjoyable. The food, of course, will be spectacular, as always.

A team of five local chefs, who are graciously donating their time and talents, will be cooking “on stage” in front of the river. They include Craig Cyr of the Wine Cellar & Bistro; Brook Harlan of the Columbia Area Career Center Culinary Arts program; Matt  Robertson and Blaire  DeVine of Les Bourgeois Blufftop Bistro; and Walker  Claridge  of Broadway Brewery.

Each chef will prepare a course that features something from Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction. By identifying and championing these foods, we keep them in production and on our plates.

Sharing the stage with the chefs will be The Third Switch, serving up an eclectic and lively musical menu of early blues, calypso, classic country and vintage jazz.

Because we want as many people to enjoy this event as possible, we’re offering several price levels (see below). Tickets are available only through the Brown Paper Tickets website.


$85 for current Slow Food members
$100 for non-members

(To renew your membership or join, go to and click on Donate; if you are unsure of your membership status, please email

From a blufftop view of the Missouri River, you’ll enjoy an elegant six-course Southern meal served on white tablecloths under a pavilion. Each course, featuring Ark of Taste endangered foods, will be paired with local wine.
Ticket includes:

Cocktail Reception
“Snack-of-the-South” Boiled Peanuts
Les Bourgeois sparkling wine, Broadway Brewery beer
or Planck & Anchor cocktail

A Six-Course Southern Dinner Paired With Wine
The still-evolving menu will be announced shortly, but will include chef-made Charcuterie, Pickled Watermelon Rind and Skillet Cornbread for starters, followed by Low-Country Boil (description below) and four more heritage-themed courses. Preparations will feature these Ark of Taste foods:

New Orleans Daube Glacé, Hog’s Head Cheese, Traditional Tasso Ham
Wild Gulf-Coast Shrimp
Handmade Filé, American Rabbit, Carolina Gold Rice
American Persimmon, Traditional Sorghum Syrup
American Native Pecan, Tupelo Honey, Norton Grape

Live Music and Great View!


Reserve this table of eight for you and your favorite dining companions. In addition to all the above delicious food, drink and ambience, you’ll also have the loftiest view of the river; a personal server; a private audience with each chef, winemaker and sommelier during dinner; and a bottle of 2003 Dom Pérignon Champagne.


Meet your friends around the picnic table—close to the working chefs, lively band and river view—for a pot of delicious Low-Country Boil, drinks and more. Ticket includes:

Cocktail Reception
“Snack-of-the-South” Boiled Peanuts
Les Bourgeois sparkling wine, Broadway Brewery beer or Planck & Anchor cocktail

Low-Country Boil
A traditional South Carolina stew of Wild Gulf shrimp, Louisiana crawfish, heirloom potatoes, corn, ale, peppers, onions and sausage; served with grilled French bread and paired with your choice of local wine or local beer.

Live Music and Great View!
Only 50 tickets are available at this price.

NOTE: Because we wanted to include as many Ark of Taste foods as possible, we’ll be unable to accommodate special dietary requests for this event. In case of inclement weather, the event will be inside The Blufftop Bistro. Tickets are non-refundable.

Click here to download this information in pdf format for printing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

SFKT ends the 2014 season with three farm tours, picks back up in 2015 with Blue Bell Farm and Sullivan Farms

Slow Food Katy Trail's 2014 Farm Tour Series is officially closed for the season, a little earlier than originally planned. We've had a great time visiting seven fascinating farms this summer, and some of you have been right there with us all the way, from those who have their own gardens or small farms and want to pick up tips from the pros, to folks who make it a priority to eat good, healthy food and want to see exactly how it's grown or raised. And the goats, free-range cattle, sheep, chickens, pigs and donkeys were always a hit with the kiddos!

Here's just a quick glimpse at what we experienced during our June, July, and August 2014 tours.

Several families took advantage of the June 1 tour of Goatsbeard Farm to give their children a taste of the farming life. This little girl was ecstatic about petting the goats—can you tell?! Visitors to Goatsbeard also got to tour their cheese-making facility and sample some of their award-winning cheeses, including the Franklin Island Feta that took 2nd Place at the American Cheese Society Conference in the Goat Feta Category this August. Way to go, Ken and Jenn Muno!

It was a glorious day at Altai Meadows on June 1, and the grass-fed, free-range cattle were happy to show off for an appreciative audience. Jeff and Augie Cook also showed us their chicken operation, compost and mulch piles, and many fruit and vegetable beds.

On July 13, Sarah and Craig Cyr (left and middle) told farm-tour visitors how a desire to supply their restaurant, The Wine Cellar & Bistro, and feed their family turned into a passion. With help from Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture (CCUA), the Cyrs have turned their farm into a twice-a-month gardening school for the public. Participants not only get hands-on experience, but garden-fresh lunches prepared on site by chef Craig and wine selected by sommelier Sarah. Liberty Hunter of CCUA (right) explained her role in the project.

John Corn of Mighty Acorn demonstrated his "lay-down" planter, which he built for around $70 from two old bicycles. On the July 13 tour he and wife Sandy Gummersheimer shared a wealth of information about how they grow the premium produce they sell at the Columbia Farmers Market. 

On August 3, Dan and Laura Pugh shared what they've learned about raising sheep, bees, chickens and produce over the past few years of life on their small diversified farm, and told us what's in store for their Columbia Farmers Market customers in the coming years. 

At Terra Bella Farm on August 3 I was so fascinated by host Margot McMillen's tour that I failed to take a single picture, but their barn quilt is still just as striking a landmark for passing motorists as it was in this 2013 shot. We learned about the farm's historic buildings, their use of solar energy, the heritage wheat project they started from 5 grams of heirloom wheat (but isn't available to the public yet!) and the other grains for bakers and bakeries like Uprise Bakery, the produce they grow for local restaurants and the Brick District Farmers Market in Fulton, and much more.

On August 3 at Bluebird Composting, our final stop in 2014, Rana Bains showed us just how his premium blend organic compost is made. Chelsea and Jessica took us through the fabulous produce growing outdoors and in the high tunnel, including a munching tour of their cherry tomato rows, and we saw lots of extremely free-ranging chickens eating very well with the scraps to be found on a compost farm!

We're looking forward to the 2015 growing season, and we hope you'll join us on next year's tours. We'll be kicking off the season with a visit to Blue Bell Farm and Sullivan Farms, both in the Fayette area, at a date and time to be announced after the first of the year. (See these vendor profiles of Blue Bell Farm and Sullivan Farms on the Columbia Farmers Market web site for more information about each farm.) We'll be compiling our full list of farms and tour dates over the winter, so be sure to check back here when you're looking for tour info next spring. Be sure to "like" the SFKT Facebook page for the most up-to-the-minute information about Slow Food Katy Trail activities, and just about anything else that's important to lovers of good, clean and fair food.

Blue Bell Farm in Fayette, one of the farms on the 2015 Slow Food Katy Trail Farm Tour. (Photo by Matt Jernigan)
Bill Sullivan with one of his heritage pigs. Sullivan Farms is another one of the farms to be featured in the 2015 series of farm tours. (Photo by Matt Jernigan)

About Slow Food USA

Slow Food USA seeks to create dramatic and lasting change in the food system. We reconnect Americans with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our food. We seek to inspire a transformation in food policy, production practices and market forces so that they ensure equity, sustainability and pleasure in the food we eat.

About the Slow Food Katy Trail Chapter

Our chapter is a gathering place for people who have a passion for safeguarding local farms, regional and multi-cultural food traditions and for supporting foods grown sustainably and with affection. Our events are venues for building food culture and community. 

Through local-foods dinners, potlucks, tastings, films, farm tours, volunteer days and work with local elementary-school children, Slow Food Katy Trail engages with our community and the broader Slow Food movement. We partner with local and national activists, chefs, farmers and organizations already working for direct change to our food system. We encourage you to join us in our effort.

We heartily welcome new members and new energy for the cause. To learn more about the national organization or to become a Slow Food Katy Trail member, please visit and click on Donate, then Join/Renew.