Farm and community come to the table

The last Farm to Table Dinner was held in downtown Waco. Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

At most restaurants, diners come with friends and family and sit at a table to themselves. Waco’s Farm to Table Dinners, hosted by Milo Local Provisions and Kindred Event Studios, isn’t like that. At Thursday’s dinner, guests will be arrayed along a communal table meant to bring them together around food and conversation.

Although tickets for this week’s event are now sold out, Milo and Kindred Event Studios are planning on more dinners in the future. Tickets for the dinners typically cost $75 per person and come with a full three-course meal and drinks.

Each Farm to Table dinner takes place in a different location. This week’s will be set up in Cameron Park, in a location adjacent to the Brazos River. The last dinner, held in mid-September, was in downtown Waco.

McEntyre's salad, made with fresh, local ingredients, was served to every guest in attendance. Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

The idea behind the Farm to Table Dinner, which will benefit local nonprofit Talk More Tech Less, is to start a community around delicious, locally sourced food shared with neighbors.

“The dinner itself is a lot about getting outside of what’s happening on your phone or what’s happening online. At the dinners, it’s one long table and there [are] no reservations,” said Corey McEntyre, the owner and chef of Milo. “Sometimes people come in couples, sometimes people come in groups. But you always end up sitting next to somebody you may not know. Most of our courses are served family style, so you have to pass [the food] and talk to people you may not know. By the end of the night everyone’s talking to someone they didn’t know before.”

Talk More Tech Less began in Waco to emphasize relationships with people over relationships with cellphones. The nonprofit creates strategies to limit technology dependence and return to places like the Farm to Table Dinner.

“We want people to unplug, get away, and talk to the people they’re with,” said Dawn Wible, founder of Talk More Tech Less. “We feel this dinner is going to represent Talk More Tech Less well with the idea of unplugging and communicating.”

McEntyre also enjoys the opportunity to interact with the guests at Farm to Table Dinners. While he many not normally be able to communicate with the customers at his Milo food truck, with a captive audience he has the chance to discuss his ingredients and cuisine.

Each dinner features fresh seasonal ingredients from local farms and purveyors. Thursday’s menu will include an endive salad with hazelnuts and caramelized apples, Texas quail served with a wheatberry salad, and an apple chess pie served with pecan espresso whipped cream for dessert.

“It’s building a community for people who would normally drive to Dallas or to Austin for a good meal. We want to create that here, and I’m excited to see that happening here in Waco,” McEntyre said.

McEntyre is already planning ahead for the next Farm to Table Dinner. He’s planning a hog roast in collaboration with Balcones Distillery for December’s Farm to Table Dinner.