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Beneficent Banquet • The Westerly Land Trust Farm Dinner

Tasty Trifecta: A Benefit for Fields, Farms and Diners

land-trust-banquetLast September the Westerly Land Trust celebrated its second successful farm dinner, bringing together five area chefs, with ingredients from more than 15 area farms, to serve a spectacular outdoor meal at its first protected property, the Avondale Farm Preserve in Westerly.

Chefs included Andrew Nathan of the Cooked Goose, Chris Champagne of 84 Tavern on Canal, Allyson Mansfield of Vesta Bakery, chef and culinary instructor David Miguel and Kristen Synan, formerly of the Weekapaug Golf Club. Together they served hors d’oeuvres followed by a five-course dinner for more than 100 guests to benefit the Land Trust’s mission of preserving and enhancing Westerly’s sense of place.

Since 1987 the Westerly Land Trust has been working to preserve open space, rehabilitate and renew older neighborhoods and create educational and recreational opportunities for the public. Land Trust Board and Farm Dinner committee member Jennifer Fusco describes the benefit event as “a way to connect people in the community back to the land. We wanted to create a unique dining experience tying [the public] back to the land and the mission of the Land Trust.”

Fusco continued, “Since the Westerly Land Trust has a very active working agriculture component, we try to have all the food at the dinner sourced within 20 miles of the greater Westerly area. We want to highlight what’s very local and very fresh, in partnership with the growers and chefs, who have an opportunity to create a restaurant without walls for the evening. We have a great time doing it and it’s been a rewarding experience for everyone involved.”

It was certainly a rewarding experience for the diners who got to feast on Andrew Nathan’s Louisiana-Style Baked Oysters, made with local Watch Hill Oysters, of course. Kristen Synan’s salad was a tour de force of South County produce, honey and goat cheese. Chris Champagne turned to nearby Stonington for some of the best seafood in the area in his Bomster Scallop dish. David Miguel rounded out the savory courses with his brisket from Westerly’s Ever Breeze Farm, accompanied by grits and summer slaw. Allyson Mansfield capped off the meal deliciously with a peach gallette. eR

David Dadekian is a writer, photographer, personal chef, cooking instructor, PR director for Blackbird Farm and board officer for Slow Food Rhode Island. Visit him at

The 2013 Westerly Land Trust Farm Dinner will be held on Saturday, September 7. Visit for details.

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