The chicken entrees folks enjoyed recently at Wildwood Farm couldn’t have been more fresh. Two days earlier, the chickens were roosting in the barn.
On Sept. 25, the Maryville Farmers’ Market presented their third-annual “Farm to Table” meal at Wildwood Farm in Seymour. Chefs Dustin Busby of Blackberry Farm, Peter Glander of Ruby Tuesday and Stephen Myers of the Airport Hilton prepared the meal.
Shelly Robinson, Maryville Farmers Market coordinator, said the event was successful simply by how it was designed. “You are successful anytime you can get farmers and chefs together,” she said. “Fresh is what it is all about.”
Robinson said about 150 turned out for the third annual Farm to Table Dinner. The event rotates from farm to farm and has grown each year. “We’re getting a great reputation,” she said.
Guests were gathered at tables in the main barn for their meal. Farm owner Richard Maner addressed those gathered and thanked his wife, Julie, and their children for helping make the event happen. “My grandfather would roll over in his grave if he knew we were having this dinner in his barn,” Richard Maner said.
Chef Dustin Busby of Blackberry Farm said he and Glander had worked together at Blackberry Farm so they knew each other’s style. “Last year we did fresh ravioli, and this time we did fresh pasta,” he said.
“Almost everything had a little Wildwood Farm in it. We slaughtered these chickens on Friday. How old are the chickens you are buying at the store?” he said.
Busby said the Farmers Market also made the meal better by bringing fresh produce and vegetables.
Guests walked around the farm and checked out the cattle, horses and chickens. In addition to locally grown produce and poultry, guests also enjoyed coffee ground at Vienna Coffee in Maryville. John Dupree, “Gritte Fritter,” sang and played guitar as folks enjoyed their meal.
Richard and Julie Maner stepped aside from the crowd in their barn to share some of the history of their working farm. He and his brother farm a total of 275 acres. The 200-acre portion where the dinner was held is used to raise chickens, turkey and cows who feed on grass for maximum nutritional value. The Maners raise broaster chickens and egg-layers.
None of the chickens eat feed injected with hormones, and Richard Maner said his farm is a USDA-certified slaughter operation for chickens. “Every product we sell is USDA-certified,” Julie Maner said.
Richard said it is essential to support the Farmers Market. “I appreciate what they do,” he said of the market volunteers. “You have to support farmers.”