Dinner for Farmers
Vizcaya and edible South Florida Honor Local Growers
As part of its centennial celebration, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens partnered with edible South Florida for the second annual Dinner for Farmers, a progressive dinner and awards ceremony honoring local growers. In keeping with the spirit of Vizcaya's agricultural origins, the event took place on January 17, 2017, at the historic Vizcaya Village, a part of Vizcaya that housed farmland and animals when the estate was constructed in 1916.
Local farmers were invited to walk in the footsteps of agricultural industrialist James Deering, Vizcaya's founder, as they strolled through the 100-year-old Village and enjoyed offerings by local chefs. Dishes were designed around freshly-harvested produce donated by participating local farms that included: Bee Heaven Farm, Guara Ki Eco Farm, Grow2Heal, Knaus Berry Farm, Little River Cooperative, LNB Groves, Paradise Farms, Ready-to-Grow Gardens, Seasons Farm Fresh, Verde Community Farm and Vizcaya's Kitchen Garden. Riverside Elementary and Twin Lakes Elementary also contributed tasty dishes as part of the Edible Gardening Initiatives of The Education Fund.
The evening featured appetizers in the Piazza from Ghee Indian Kitchen, Fufi's Restaurant and Miami Smokers as well as cocktails provided by Gabe Urrutia. It then moved to a family-style dinner in front of the Staff Residence where local farmers gathered at a long harvest table to enjoy the creations of Chef Melanie Stewart, Chef Evan Boomer of The Brick American Kitchen & Bar, Chef Ben Rablat and Sandy Sanchez of La Fresa Francesa French Bistro, before culminating with dessert by Lemon City Tea and Cloud 9 Bakery adjacent to Vizcaya's kitchen garden on the Superintendent's Lawn. Additional sponsors and contributors included Unearthed Vintage, Anthology Floristry, Whole Foods and Jordan Winery.
In between dinner and dessert, guests gathered in the Farm Quad for the presentation of awards. Judges included: Miami-Dade Agricultural Manager Charles LaPradd; Johnson and Wales Dean of Culinary Education Bruce Ozga; and Fruit and Spice Park Director James Stribling. Winners were as follows:
- Sowers and Shakers Award, recognizing innovative and sustainable farming practices: Bee Heaven Farm
- Growing Seedlings Award, honoring work with school-age children through garden-to-table programs: Ready-to-Grow Gardens
- Homesteader Award, in recognition of the creative problem-solving: Verde Community Farm and Market
- Growing It Forward Award, honoring public participation and engagement with the farm's mission through educational programming or otherwise: Grow 2 Heal
- Plowing Ahead Award, recognizing farmers who experiment and adapt with the times: Robert Is Here
- Companion Planting Award, celebrating farms that understand urban agriculture as a catalyst for social change and community building: Health in the Hood
- It Takes a Village Award, honoring professionals who support farmers: Redland Ahead
Events like Dinner for Farmers are an example of what is to come for Vizcaya Village in the near future. Vizcaya's 100th anniversary coincides with the development of an ambitious plan to breathe new life into the estate by restoring the historic buildings at Vizcaya Village, making this space more accessible and engaging for the South Florida community.
PHOTOS: Click here to download event photos.