Under a beautiful pink evening sky, Saratoga Preserving Land and Nature (PLAN) held its 12th Annual Feast of the Fields at Saratoga National Golf Club on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
The event, which was sold out to over 600 people, brought together various local chefs, restaurants, farmers, volunteers, BOCES students and more to celebrate the immense farm-fresh bounty that Saratoga and the surrounding area has to offer.
As always, PLAN volunteers collected fresh farm products that were then prepared by local chefs, accompanied by wine, spirits, beer, baked goods, fresh juices, and other delicious local products. This year's theme was squash, which was prevalent in many of the dishes, including Farmer's Hardware's Butternut Squash and Sweet Onion Lasagna and Prime's Trotolle pasta with whipped buratta, spiced squash and olive oil bread crumbs. Produce from 32 local farms was featured in the evening’s showcase, used in dishes by 10 different chefs from restaurants throughout the region, including 9 Miles East, Leah's Cakery and Merry Monk.
The venue, decorated for fall with donations from the community, was picture perfect. Merry Monk's Spiced Roasted Carrot Taco with Pico de Gallo and Cilantro Cream brought a spicy freshness and satisfying quality to the taco without the weight of the meat. The Sweet Corn and Local Mushroom Risotto from 9 Miles East was a creamy combo of sweet summer corn and earthy mushrooms, a toothsome and warming dish. The Blue Hen's Porchetta with Frisee and Plum Mostarda was a standout, offering the salty savoriness of the pork with the tanginess of the plum all in one bite. And Leah's Cakery's Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie served with two percent milk was thick, chewy, sweet (with a dash of salt) goodness to cap off the range of impressive offerings.
All of this local food could be washed down with an array of area beverages ranging from Bowman Orchard’s Apple Cider and Saratoga Apple’s Hard Cider, to beers from Artisanal Brew Works and Common Roots Brewing Company, to some of the harder stuff from Saratoga Courage Distillery and Upstate Distilling. There were also wines from Victory View Vineyards and a complex and juicy Marquette from Fossil Stone Vineyards. For the non-drinkers, a lavender lemonade from Slate Valley Farm, a sweet and floral treat, was on tap.
Silent auction items filled the big tent, where guests could also watch a live painting demonstration by artist Elisa Sheehan. Many guests went home with prized items like a kayak from Mountainman Outdoors, a leather flight jacket, wine baskets and artwork, and experiences such as tour tickets on the Hoppy Trails Brew Bus. The jazzy sounds of Hot Club of Saratoga filled the scene on the gorgeous evening on the patio.
Other chefs in attendance included those from well-known restaurants like Salt & Char and Excelsior Springs at the Courtyard Marriott, and those who are newcomers to the Saratoga region, such as The Blue Hen, opening soon at the rejuvenated Adelphi Hotel.
Many local businesses and individuals contributed items and experiences for the silent auction. For more information on Saratoga PLAN, visit saratogaplan.org.