Dinner in the Valley
Valley City, N.D.
The 3rd Annual Dinner in the Valley served up great food and conversations with attendees
Story by: Penny Peterson, event chair
The Valley City Chamber Ag Committee held its 3rd Annual Dinner in the Valley on Monday, September 9, 2019, at the Sheyenne Riverbend Farm, south of Valley City, North Dakota. The dinner was held at an open, countryside event center with symbols of home, faith and community. At the event location stood a farmhouse, a chapel, a gazebo, and a school house. This area is where families in the community are known to gather and to enjoy spending time remembering the past, healing old wounds and growing new memories for the future.
Dinner in the Valley attendees were served an exquisite meal while in engaging in conversations with farmers and ranchers to help understand how consumers can follow the steps back to where food originates. The event’s mission was to create an entertaining, fine-dining experience while generating awareness about the importance and sustainability of local agriculture.
Sunflowers were picked and placed in glass vases on the tables, creating an elegant fall décor that added just the right pop of color in the napkins as well as some ambiance to the space. The event committee was hoping for a perfect day, like attendees enjoyed the past two years; unfortunately, Mother Nature had a different plan, and it rained throughout the day. Due to the rainy weather, the dinner was moved inside the event center.
The evening started with a social hour. The appetizer stations represented the different crops grown in Barnes County. Each station had a farmer representing that specific crop and an appetizer to taste. Red Trail Vineyards from Buffalo, North Dakota, assisted with beverage tasting along with sharing some good cheer.
Randy Grueneich, Barnes County Extension agent, was the night’s emcee. After the social hour, he asked attendees to take their seats at assigned tables to partake in an elegant dinner comprised of beef tenderloin and fresh vegetables from the farmers’ market. The dinner was prepared by Cleaver’s Cookin’ & Catering’s Lori Jury. The variety of homemade dinner rolls was made by Wild Prairie Bakery’s Erin Hanning. Both businesses are in Valley City. The meal ended with a scrumptious apple-crisp dessert with caramel sauce and whip cream which was made by Heavenly Pinch’s Hailee Peterson from Fargo, North Dakota.
To augment the educational portion of the event, farmers and ranchers were an integral part of initiating conversations with the guests. These local farmers sat at the dinner tables to continue conversations and to share personal stories about their challenges, technological advances and the history of their farm and/or ranch with the guests. We had the pleasure of having Sarah Nasello and Jacy Hauge with Commonground North Dakota at the event. They shared the evening with us and were able to share their food and farm stories, too.
During the course of the evening, we had our guests fill out question cards. Between each course, the emcee asked questions and directed them to our expert farmers. The night was full of great questions and conversations. Despite the rain and having to move the event inside, the 3rd Annual Dinner in the Valley was a huge success. This scenario was utilized to show how Mother Nature can affect the farming community and how it takes faith and perseverance on behalf of each farmer/rancher.
Dinner in the Valley helped to bridge the relationship gap between local farmers/ranchers and the approximately 45 guests by having healthy conversations about agriculture. The event was generously supported by partnerships with local businesses, CommonGround North Dakota and other agricultural organizations.