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Stories from the valley

Farm to Pork

Contributed by Eileen Javora Boeger

As towns settled across America, whole communities would gather to help each other raise or build barns on their farms. In a nod to this tradition, the historic gold rush town of Placerville and surrounding community did just that at a first ever “Farm to Pork” event. This event would help the “Future Farmers of America” or FFA establish a new hog barn at the local Union Mine High School. The night was unique in many ways and something you’ll only find in “Smallville”, USA.

The night was warm as folks gathered for this beautiful dining experience. A clever use of space and central location, the third story of Placerville’s parking garage was transformed into an open-air restaurant. This gave a wonderful sweeping view of old downtown with many of the 1800s buildings all around us.

Tables in white stretched out as far as the eye could see. Some so long you couldn’t see your friends at the end. Lights were strung like garland from table to table.

The six-course, intricately-paired meal showcased some of El Dorado County’s finest produce, wine and top chefs. Farms, wineries, and breweries, all within just miles of Placerville donated many of the night’s provisions. Everyone shared in the family-style feast, passing plates neighbor to neighbor. Fresh, local produce was used in many dishes such as rainbow carrots and arugula harvested two-miles away at 24 Carrot Farm. Charcuterie, a specialty of ‘The Farm Table,’ a restaurant only steps away from the dinner, was served on cutting boards made by the FFA students. All of this truly added to the farm to table experience.

And in typical courteous and well-mannered style, the Future Farmers of America, with full-on white uniform, including jacket and gloves, served the meal.  Not a comfortable task in the 90-degree heat. But you will never hear a single complaint. FFA kids are some of the most poised and polite kids you’ll find.

And finally, a night like this wouldn’t be complete without a lively hog auction! The support of the cause was remarkable. Everyone went home with full bellies and happy hearts. A night to remember in this small town.