Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyards, located in Gasport, hosted the first of many dinners this past Thursday. In the midst of a moderate gathering, the farm introduced the new concept of 100 Mile Radius Meals, a bold attempt to bridge the gap between farm and table. Under this idea, Becker Farms will prepare and serve meals on a series of dates throughout the summer with food produced from the farm itself, or other local producers from within 100 miles. Thursday’s meal highlighted foods from local vendors such as Yancey’s Fancy, Snyder Farms, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Apple Blossom Florist (they provided the centerpieces for the tables) and much more.
Each dinner will be served outside on the patio, and yes, protected from the elements of nature. I was able to enjoy the picturesque view while feasting on the delicious foods. Everything I tried was exquisite–and I heard small exclamations of delight over the homemade meatballs and comments of awe about how much effort must have been put into the small but intricately stuffed potatoes.
Before the meal commenced, there were welcoming speeches and an appearance by the Niagara and Orleans County Dairy Princess. The princess gave a captivating and informative speech on the benefits of eating local. A purchase from a local farmer or vendor directly supports the local economy, whereas with $1 of a purchase in a grocery store, less than 18 cents would go back to the farmer. New York State is the third largest dairy-producing area, but our grocery stores sell milk from Wisconsin. On average, food travels 1500 miles, losing valuable nutrients. Buying local alleviates much of the nutrient loss because food is fresher and most often, at the peak of ripeness.
Right on the farm is a winery, which provides the wine throughout the dinner. They pair the wine with the different foods, giving you the best experience and tastes possible. I personally enjoy a wine that is sweeter, to which the elegance of Dusty’s Diamond white wine proved delightful. I also sampled the Red Creek Raspberry wine, a mouth-watering sweet wine that quite honestly tricks you into believing you are eating a raspberry. Their menu is full of fruit wines, a practice that began in an attempt to use the leftover harvest at the end of the season. Now, instead of acting on a whim it is a full-fledged production, and they make, bottle and label everything right on the farm. I didn’t try a dry wine, but I met someone at the gathering that absolutely loved the Paso Fino red wine.
Also on the premises is a small store in which you can purchase a variety of goods ranging from homemade baked goods, jams and sauces, ice cream, and of course, fudge. As those who know me can attest, I can never pass up chocolate. They had at least 10 varieties of fudge and I caved, purchasing the heath bar and regular chocolate kinds.
By working with other local farmers, Amanda Vizcarra, the organizer of the 100 Mile Radius Meals, is working to strengthen and support the local economy. The dinners bring people of the community together, creating and strengthening social bonds. The diversity of the environment is exhilarating and it is quite remarkable how we were all connected in our support of eating locally. It is a great opportunity and Amanda has shown us how seemingly easy it is to find everything you need to make a complete and delicious meal right from our own area. Becker Farms is not only just available for the scheduled dinners; it is also the perfect place to hold weddings and other special occasions. For dates and times dinner will be served, visit Becker Farms.
posted by Ashley Zengerski