When people ask what we do at Slow Food Columbus, one of the things I like to mention is our annual Shake the Hand That Feeds You dinner at Dick Jensen’s Flying J organic farm in Johnstown. The meal embodies the Slow Food ideal along many key dimensions:
- Community. New people often come expecting the sort of sit-down meal they’d get at a restaurant. They soon find themselves picking kale, helping to roast a pig, or making ice cream—and loving it. They cool off with a beer or a glass of wine that’s been provided by a local business here in the community… and may even have a chance to chat with the owners themselves.
- Quality. Chef Caskey and his team from Skillet Rustic Urban Food orchestrate an amazing meal made up of ingredients that couldn’t be fresher—on the vine in the early afternoon, on the plate by dinnertime, all of it held to strict organic standards. We don’t have menus for the event for one simple reason: the chef decided what to make when he arrived.
- Inclusiveness. Thanks to the generosity of Skillet, which closed for a busy weekend without asking for a cent, and of our community partners, and of all of the members and friends who chipped in, we were able to offer the dinner at a price that was competitive even with ordinary restaurant dinners—$40 per person for members—let alone with other farm-to-table dinners (we’re looking at you, Outstanding in the Field). Kids came too—the farm’s donkey in particular seemed to love playing with them.
We are immensely grateful to everyone who took part, in one way or another, in this event: to Dick Jensen and his interns at Flying J, for the use of his farm, for the donation of food and firewood, and for preparing the farm for us; to Skillet Rustic Urban Food, for sacrificing a weekend’s worth of business to make the dinner a possibility; to the indefatigable Warren Taylor of Snowville Creamery for his time, energy, milk, and all-around wonderfulness; to Chris at Integration Acres for supplying us with a whey-fed pig and cheese; to Lucky Penny Creamery for their goat feta; to Jeff Fish, for loaning us his China box and pig-roasting expertise (and hard labor!) on short notice; to Wine on High, Columbus Brewing Company, House Wine, United Estates Wines, and Middle West Spirits for providing the delicious drinks and to mixologist extraordinaire Nicolene Schwartz for crafting a signature cocktail for the event; to our devoted canners, Zach and Mary Briggs and Jenn Lause, who made the most attractive and delicious centerpieces ever to grace a table; and to the Ely Bros. for sending along the delightful Brittany and Mitch to take awesome photos.
Each of you helped us give people a dinner they’ll always remember, and we appreciate it immensely. You’re the best.