GETTING READY — The farm is buzzing with work in preparation for the Kokomo Downtown Farmer’s Market’s Farm-to-Fork dinner.
Herald Photos / Provided
GETTING READY — The farm is buzzing with work in preparation for the Kokomo Downtown Farmer’s Market’s Farm-to-Fork dinner. Herald Photos / Provided

The Kokomo Downtown Farmer’s Market (KDFM) prides itself on unique experiences, farm fresh produce and meats, specialty goods, and food items that can’t be found anywhere else in town. 

The annual Farm-to-Fork dinner is no exception to KDFM’s offerings.

In its third year and third unique location, the evening continues to morph into a one-of-a-kind event that aims to please the palate and the soul. 

“Each year, we have a different theme and location for the dinner. This is the first year we’ve ever held it at a farm, and we are doing an entire farm experience,” said KDFM Market Manager Adrienne Akers-Partlow. “Former mayor Steve Daily has become a farmer, and he is now running Thistle Rock Farm where we’re having the dinner.”

Ticketed guests will arrive at the farm and immediately be treated to a wagon ride by Daily where they will learn about the animals kept on the farm, their reason for housing such animals, and where each crop is planted. Guests will be treated to a sneak peak of the farm’s signature herb garden, too. Dinner will be served in a greenhouse that has been cleared out for cover crops for an immersive dining experience.

Everyone who comes to the dinner must have an advanced ticket, as the meal is planned based on the number of tickets sold. After the wagon ride, guests will be ushered into the greenhouse area for appetizers and lively music performed by Medicinal Bluegrass. And in true KDFM fashion, meat and vegetarian/vegan offerings will be available for dinner guests. 

They will be able to get a signature cocktail or other beverage poured by The Coterie and mingle before sitting down to dine together. A string quartet courtesy of the Kokomo Symphony Orchestra will play while guests dine on smoked chicken leg quarters, cornmeal crusted tempeh, polenta, and greens. The Coterie will run a cash bar, and market vendor Blackhawk Winery (Sheridan, Ind.) will be offering a wine tasting. After dinner, guests will be treated to a bonfire where dessert will be served.

This is the third and final farm-to-fork fund raiser sponsored by the market for the season. In each event, the menu is sourced with local ingredients, many supplied by market vendors. Some of the food will be prepared by local eateries like Bind Café where others will be created by vendors like Lucky Lemon Bakery and Sheri’s Edible Art.

Akers-Partlow said that over the last three years, the event has brought the crowd together over the course of the evening.

“It brings the community together in a very unique way. It gives them a chance to do something that we don’t do around here very often,” she said.

Everyone usually come as couples or singles. Rarely you’ll get a group of four or more. They all come, and they don’t know who each other is. But by the end of the meal, they’re friends. They passed food to them, talked about how good the food is.

“The first year we did this, we held it on the covered bridge at Highland Park. One of the workers said the coolest thing that stuck with me. He said, ‘Adrienne, we’ve been here for an hour-and-a-half, and I haven’t seen a single person on their phone.’”

Limited tickets to the event are available through the KDFM website, kokomofarmersmarket.com, or through the event page on Facebook. 
Akers-Partlow is excited to have Daily open the gates to his farm and invite the public in for this special event. 

“I think it’s really fun that he gets to be part of this. It’s cool to think about the fact that he used to be our mayor and Chancellor of IUK, and now he is a retired man, farming and kind of going back to his roots from a farm family,” she said. “He’s been able to get back to his roots with this and Thistle Rock. He is just an awesome person. He’s an amazing person to get his expertise and listen to how he thinks about things. It has been fun to be around him as we plan.

“It’s been a fun experience for all of us. It is every year. Just like I said, even if you came to the last two dinners, this one is completely different. We’ve done this before, but we try to make it a completely unique experience in every aspect.”