Phillies Brdge Farm hosts Meal in the Field on August 16

Phillies Bridge Farm will hold its summertime “Meal in the Field” farm dinner on Saturday, August 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. Pictured are Phillies Bridge farmer Anne Eschenroeder and Meal in the Field coordinator Wendy Rudder. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Phillies Bridge Farm will hold its summertime “Meal in the Field” farm dinner on Saturday, August 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. Pictured are Phillies Bridge farmer Anne Eschenroeder and Meal in the Field coordinator Wendy Rudder. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

For Phillies Bridge Farm Project, the third annual “Meal in the Field” event is, of course, a celebration of all that our local chefs, bakers and farmers have to offer. But it is also a celebration of Phillies Bridge itself turning around.

The meal will be served this Saturday, August 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the farm located at 45 Phillies Bridge Road in Gardiner.

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After a nearly disastrous year in 2013, CSA members are reveling in the return of beloved farmer Anne Eschenroeder and the resurrection of the fields they love.

“It’s the third year we’re doing it. Last year, we didn’t. We missed a year, because of all the problems on the farm. It’s a very exciting endeavor. It’s a celebration of local farms and the bounty we have — and local chefs,” said Wendy Rudder, who helped organize the fundraiser.

Rudder noted that people can expect more than 20 farms and vendors to appear. Those include Bridgecreek Catering, Aroma Thyme Bistro, A Tavola, The Huguenot, Café Mio, Bread Alone and Moxie Cup.

“It’s particularly this year a celebration, because the farm is really back. It’s just abundant this year. It looks beautiful,” she said.

When Eschenroeder left the farm after 2012, the new farmers did not have the experience to keep the fields thriving. And 2013 almost broke the iconic Gardiner CSA. “There was nothing to celebrate,” she said.

But “Farmer Anne” — as most people call her — came back to save the day. She mended the fields as the 2013 season came to a close. She prepped the soils, and planted cover crops.

“We knew she would,” Rudder said.

Obviously, Meal in the Field has a huge appeal to current and past CSA members — those who have loved the non-profit farm project. But people who’d like to support local agriculture, or just get a taste of what it has to offer, are welcome to come, too.

“It’s an introduction to what local, sustainable agriculture is all about,” she said.

In the past, Phillies Bridge has had people come all the way from New York City to attend Meal in the Field. It has been a draw.

Meal in the Field is a full, five-course meal featuring food from some of the most-skilled chefs in the Hudson Valley. Their recipes draw fresh ingredients from nearby community farms. For foodies, it is like Lollapalooza.

Pre-registration is required for the event. “We really can’t take walk-ins,” Rudder explained.

Spaces are still available. The cost is $100 per person and $185 per couple. To register for the event, call 256-9108 or e-mail melissa@philliesbridge.org. Learn more about the CSA at philliesbridge.org.