Last night Sweetwater Organic Community Farm in Tampa hosted their annual Pesto Festo. For the past 20 years the farm has celebrated the end of their season by hosting a night full of organic food, music, and prizes. Despite the somewhat pricey entry fee (20 dollars a person) I didn’t hesitate when I received the email about it. Sweetwater Farms provides an important service for our community. It offers members the opportunity to purchase seasonal, local. organic food as an alternative to the tasteless sprayed stuff available in most supermarkets. The farm also aims to educate the next generation of community members by providing opportunities for schools to come by and experience where food actually comes from. As a teacher I see kids on a daily basis who think food comes from Wal-Mart and Target. In some extreme cases, these kids don’t even realize that a carrot comes from the ground, not a machine. Educational opportunities and good local food both cost money. That’s where my coin went. I’ll gladly pay a little extra for a meal if it benefits something I believe in.
Sweetwater puts on a great show with their Pesto Festo. This year entrants were able to sample the bounty of leftover organic vegetables in pesto, salad and salad dressing form. These vegetables were accompanied by rolls and cookies (provided by Rollin’ Oats Market and Cafe). Situated around the farm were various beverage sponsors including Uncle Matt’s Organic (juices), the Naked Grape (Wine), Cigar City Brewing (Beer) and Java Planet (organic coffee). Some offered their product for free, some for a nominal price. After dinner, music and dancing commenced thanks to the Urban Gypsies of Florida (who are better than their name sounds). The atmosphere of the entire evening was very relaxed and community oriented. Kids danced or sought out grasshoppers and frogs or muddied themselves in the bog or ran circles around the huge oak tree. Adults sat back in their chairs and talked to their friends (or complete strangers). It made me think of those family gatherings we used to have each holiday. The ones nestled deep in the Pennsylvania countryside. The only difference being that the Pesto Festo actually offered good food (for vegetarians and vegans).
The line for the pasta. The first thing to hit you was the small of the pesto.
Salad, Vegan Roll and Pesto Pasta
The roll goes front and center (or slightly to the left).
A sugar cookie with a small drizzle of lemon icing. Guess what I’m going to be making soon?
The Urban Gypsies of Florida hit the stage…
…and the dancing and can shaking begins.
My photographer friend Ryan took actual photos of the event. I’ll direct you to them when he makes them available.
As Sweetwater Organic Farms prepares to leave this growing season in the dust of summer heat, one can’t help but hear a little Domi Chansorn in their departure (if you like it, get the whole album here free).