The efforts of many contributed to a successful Farm to Table dinner in Medina

By on August 19, 2019

After several hours of anxiously awaiting an improvement in the weather on August 8, a final shower passed, clear skies blossomed and the set-up for Farm to Table 2019 began in earnest on Medina’s Main Street.

A crowd of 230 people from across Western New York gathered once again on Medina’s historic Main Street for the annual gourmet farm to table dinner. The gala affair is hosted by the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. as a fundraiser for the local Canal Village Farmers’ Market. The market, sponsored by ORG, is managed by Gail Miller and is open Saturdays through October at 127 West Center Street.

Four years ago, Zambito prepared a five-course gourmet meal for 137 guests for the first dinner. Since then, the dinner has grown and evolved with a larger team of talented local chefs and a crowd of 230.

Again leading the team of chefs preparing the dinner was Michael Zambito, owner and chef at Medina’s Zambistro restaurant. Chef Zambito was joined by chefs from Mariachi De Oro, Bent’s Opera House, Sourced Market & Eatery, Mile 303 and Shirt Factory — all of Medina — for a full six-course gourmet dinner.

“Our goal is to use as many ingredients from the Canal Village Farmers’ Market and local sources as possible,” said Zambito. “It’s all about showcasing what our area has to offer in terms of farm-fresh products.”

All of the ingredients used in the meal were locally sourced and farm-fresh, provided from the vendors at Canal Village Farmers’ Market and other local farms. After a late afternoon shower, Medina’s north end of Main Street was closed off at 4 p.m. and became a flurry of activity. Chefs and restaurant staff descended on the site, working with farmers’ market and ORG volunteers to transform the historic district into a “Hallmark-like” dinner venue.

As diners checked in, seating was arranged at a table stretching over 200 feet along the thoroughfare, set with simple, rustic elegance. The air was filled with laughter, conversation and plenty of “Oooooo’s” and “Ahhhhh’s” as patrons dined on gourmet courses each paired with some of the finest wines, cider and mead from the Niagara Wine Trail, including offerings from Schulze Vineyards, Leonard-Oakes Estate Winery, Liten Buffel, Victorianbourg Wine Estate and 810 Meadworks. Staff from the wineries poured for the guests and explained the wines and pairings. As dusk fell, dessert provided by Pastry Chef Abby Thaine of Shirt Factory was served. 

“The combined efforts of the sponsors, businesses, farmers and volunteers were no less than miraculous,” said dinner guest, Stacey Pellicano of Lockport. “Feeling incredibly grateful.”

Pellicano’s sentiments were echoed again and again all along the massive table throughout the night, with everyone looking forward to another event in 2020.

“It was touch and go with the rainy weather moving off so close to set up,” said Chris Busch, President of ORG. “But there’s no other place on earth where everyone works together like Medina. Hats off to all involved in making this a success – sponsors, chefs, restaurants, volunteers – especially Mike and Kara Zambito and their team. This dinner was divine!”

Corporate sponsorship of the event was provided by Pride Pak, Inc., Bent’s Opera House, Takeform Architectural Graphics, Generations Bank and LaBella Associates.

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Photo courtesy of Simply Em Productions LLC, Emily Pellicano, photographer

Photo courtesy of Simply Em Productions LLC, Emily Pellicano, photographer