NEW ALBANY, MISS. – New Albany’s first “farm-to-table” dinner will take place on Friday, May 22 to open both the New Albany Farmer’s Market and the Down from the Hills Bluegrass Festival, which has moved from the fairgrounds to downtown this year.
The meal will be prepared by Chef John Stokes, an Oxford native who was the head chef at Oxford’s L&M Kitchen and Salumeria. L&M’s was a pioneering farm to table restaurant specializing in house cured meats and Mississippi sourced ingredients and it was there that Stokes’ style gained voice and flourished.
While the full menu has not yet been created, and cannot be created until the chef knows specifically what can be sourced, all the items on the multi-course menu will have been grown and raised on local farms. The New Albany Master Gardeners are helping to procure the ingredients. Currently, quail is being considered as it will be in season and can be sourced locally. Wine will be served with dinner.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the renaissance of small town southern culture and are very much looking forward to this unique event in New Albany,” says Stokes.
Dessert will be prepared and provided by New Albany’s own Sugarees Bakery. Mary Jennifer Russell is the owner of the bakery and one of the planners of this year’s event.
“The farm to table dinner planned in conjunction with this season’s first Biscuits & Jam Farmers Market and Down from the Hills Bluegrass Festival is a great way to showcase our region’s abundant produce. Sugaree’s is excited to be involved with the planning and to be providing dessert for the dinner. I expect this event to draw a lot of local interest and become a staple event for our town,” says Russell.
Weather permitting, the dinner will be served on the Park Along the River footbridge. The space will be decorated by Emily Foreman of MODA designs and the lighting will be provided by local artist, Micha Foster.
After the dinner there will be a free concert by Sean Watkins, a founding member of the nationally-known bluegrass act, Nickel Creek. The group has a new album, The Watkins Family Hour, which features special guests Fiona Apple keyboardist Belmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, coming out in June.
Tickets to the event are on sale at the New Albany Tourism Office located in the UCDA/Old Post Office across from the courthouse for $50. For more information, call 662-534-1047 or visit the event’s website at www.mississippibluegrass.com.