To celebrate the Saugerties Farmers’ Market’s 20th year, a series of Harvest Home Dinners will showcase the diversity of Hudson Valley farm-raised foods. The intimate dinner market fundraisers, hosted at area homes and prepared by an array of local chefs and talented home cooks, are offered on twelve different evenings.
The dinners may be booked by one, two people or as many as a party of ten guests. “Part of the fun of the evening is that you get to meet new people while enjoying a fantastic dinner prepared by an expert in the kitchen,” said Harvest Home Dinners organizer Diane Congello-Brandes. This is Congello-Brandes’ first year taking over the event from Jamie Fine, who retired from the position after some 15 years of making these events happen.
A dozen homes will host dinners this year and three will offer vegetarian dinners. “When you become a host of one of these dinners, it’s very exciting,” said Saugerties Farmers’ Market Committee Coordinator Judith Spektor, who has hosted dinners every year. “It’s like you’re putting on your best party dress. You do your best to please and show off what’s in season and in the market. It’s very festive and celebratory.”
Each of the Harvest Home Dinner’s chefs designs a special one-of-a-kind menu to showcase area farm foods, and the chefs strive to buy most of their ingredients at the market or from the farmers and other vendors who are market regulars. The dinners are prepared at the peak of the late-summer and early-fall harvest season, so there is an abundance of Hudson Valley produce, meats and poultry from which the chefs can choose.
Dinner tickets are $65 a person and each guest is expected to bring their own wine or other dinner beverage with them. Part of the fun of the Harvest Home Dinner concept is that guests choose the dinner by the date only. The identity of the home, the chef, the home cook and the other guests remains a surprise until all the dinners are sold out and seats are finally assigned. Then, well in advance of the evening, each guest learns who their host will be, as well as the chef for the evening and is given driving instructions to the home.
“Our goal is to raise $6,500 this year,” said Spektor. “The funds help us pay market staff, underwrite Double SNAP (doubling low income shoppers benefits) and fund Kids’ Art Corner and live music throughout our five-month market season.”
Those interested in attending one of this year’s Harvest Home Dinners can call (845) 706-6715 for more information or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For COVID safety, organizers request that all guests show proof of vaccination with the RSVP. This is to make sure everyone feels safe whether indoors or outdoors.