Event Pick: Crave Farm to Plate Week

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

As I sit down to write this week's newsletter, I'm coming off of a post-party high. I'm not talking the kind where you've had a few too many sips of bubbly-I mean the euphoria that comes after an energetic night out meeting new people and seeing old faces. On Tuesday, we celebrated the kickoff of the third annual Crave Farm to Plate week at Weiland's Market with local vendors sampling their craft cheese, spirits and grab-and-go foods.

Guests had a chance to taste products, like the aptly named Aphrocheesiac from Laurel Valley Creamery, beer cheese and bacon pierogi from Pierogi Mountain and roasted beet hummus from Darista Dips (all three of these are my new obsessions). But, more importantly, they were able to meet the makers. Something you can't always do, especially when it comes to cheese. (Speaking of which, have you seen this issue's cover story on Ohio cheese?)

It was a night of high energy, and one I'm hoping sets the tone for our annual dining out event, which runs Aug. 18 to 24 at restaurants all over town.

In a day and age when the term "local" has become a "Portlandia"-like punch line, Crave Farm to Plate hopes to bring real meaning back to the question, "Is it local?" The dishes featured on the menus of the nearly 50 participating restaurants are made up of at least 70 percent locally-sourced ingredients. Chefs have been coordinating with local farms and artisan producers for months to craft these dishes that truly are sourced from Ohio.

For example, you'll find a $35 chef's tapas tasting at Barcelona using ingredients from Snowville Creamery, Rhodes Farm and Shagbark Seed Mill. DeepWood also has a $35 three-course menu (add Ohio-inspired wine pairings for $15) featuring a Bluescreek Farm beef tartare, salmon cured in Watershed gin and a cherry crisp made with fruit from Lynds Farm. I could certainly go on-but you can check out the menus for yourself here. For example, you'll find a $35 chef's tapas tasting at Barcelona using ingredients from Snowville Creamery, Rhodes Farm and Shagbark Seed Mill. DeepWood also has a $35 three-course menu (add Ohio-inspired wine pairings for $15) featuring a Bluescreek Farm beef tartare, salmon cured in Watershed gin and a cherry crisp made with fruit from Lynds Farm. I could certainly go on-but you can check out the menus for yourself .

Best of all? The week benefits Mid-Ohio Foodbank. So you'll be supporting local restaurants, local farmers and producers and those in need. So please, get out and eat this week and show our area restaurants that we truly do care where our food comes from.