Something new: ‘Farm Fresh Meal on Main’ May 24
by The Press and Standard | May 17, 2018 5:00 pm
Last Updated: May 16, 2018 at 12:57 pm
“Farm Fresh Meal on Main” has been a slowly simmering idea, but on May 24, East Washington Street will be transformed into Walterboro’s largest dining room.
Colleton Museum and Farmers Market Director Matt Mardell said County Administrator Kevin Griffin suggested the community dinner to the museum staff about two years ago. The idea was quickly embraced by the museum staff, especially Assistant Director Jill Chadwick.
The idea was put on hold last year as the Museum and Farmers Market was focused on the leadership change that saw Mardell succeed retiring Director Gary Brightwell.
“This year seemed like the right time to try this out,” Mardell said.
“What we are trying to do is meld together the farmers market and downtown restaurants,” Mardell explained.
The concept of farm-to-table restaurant dining is something the farmers market personnel would like to grow in Walterboro’s restaurants. “We would like to connect them (area farmers and area restaurants) better,” Mardell said.
“We have to investigate other avenues, other connections, to help our farmers out more. To help downtown businesses more,” he said.
Farm Fresh Meal on Main, he said, brings locally grown food from Farmer’s Market vendors, as well as other local farming operations, and turns the preparation over to the kitchen staffs of the East Main Street restaurants.
He said that the city has a strong farmers market and strong restaurant presence on East Washington Street. “We will pull it together and see what happens when everyone works together. We are not reinventing the wheel. Other places have done it.”
The result, Mardell said, will be “al fresco dining right there on main street, a long table running down the middle of the street.” Two musicians have been lined up to provide the dinner music, and a display of what the Farmers Market has to offer will be installed near the downtown waterfall.
Walterboro Assistant City Manager Hank Amundson also joined the planning. “They had the idea to connect our farmers and producers with our restaurants and feature all locally-sourced foods,” Amundson said.
The downtown restaurants signed on. The kitchen staff of Flatz on Main, Old Bank Christmas Gifts and Bakery, Carmine’s Trattoria, Main Street Grill and Castillo’s Pizzeria will share the job of preparing the family-style dinner. Other volunteers will handle the table service.
Mardell said the ticket sales “have been very strong.” With about two weeks before the dinner, Mardell said there were about 30 tickets remaining. The three-course meal has a $45 price tag. Tickets have to be purchased in advance.
Originally the plan was to limit seating to 100, “but after the first week of ticket sales it became pretty apparent that we needed to step it up a little,” Mardell said.
The seating was increased to 125, but “there is a fine line between making it manageable or a nightmare for the restaurants,” he said.
It could be that “Farm Fresh Meal on Main” becomes a regular event. “We will see how it goes,” Mardell said.