Mercer Green Fest fundraiser dinner July 18

Scott Jacobs

The eighth annual Farm to Table dinner, which is the signature fundraiser for the Mercer Green Fest, has been set for July 18 at Terhune Orchard at 330 Cold Soil Road in Lawrence Township.

The Farm to Table fundraiser features a cocktail hour and a five-course dinner made with ingredients from local farms, said Pam Mount, co-owner of Terhune Orchard and one of the organizers of the Mercer Green Fest.

The cocktail hour starts at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Dress is “farm casual,” Mount said.

The five-course dinner will be prepared by chefs from Princeton’s Terra Momo Restaurant Group, and paired with wines from Terhune Orchard’s winery, she explained. There will be live music, too.

“Dinner will be fantastic,” Mount said. “Each course is paired with a wine that complements it. The cocktail hour is in the winery and then we will go to the big barn for dinner.”

The menu features sweet corn fritters with cherry agrodolce, chilled Terhune peach soup with goat cheese, grilled padron peppers with cilantro lime crema, and bruschetta with heirloom tomato and leek pate.

Dinner in the barn will include salad as well as mid-course – compressed watermelon with cucumber, feta, arugula and balsamic drizzle, and ratatouille stuffed red peppers with orzo and provolone.

The entree is beef skewers with chimichurri or optional chicken skewers with zucchini, onion and bell pepper, and a sweet potato, trumpet mushroom pave with basil pesto as well as grilled eggplant, heirloom tomato salad with nectarines, and a green bean salad with beets and pickled onion.

“We do this (fundraiser) to promote sustainability and also a sense of community,” said Lilly Flanagan, event coordintator for Eno Terra Restaurant & Enoteca in Kingston, which belong to the Terra Momo Restaurant Group.

“The Terra Momo chefs donate their skill and time because each of us believes in caring for our planet for future generations, as well as enjoying the simple, delicious flavors of summer,” Flanagan said.

The Farm to Table fundraiser is key to raising money to cover the costs of the Mercer Green Fest, Mount said. The Mercer Green Fest, which is held in March at Rider University, is sponsored by the Mercer County Sustainability Coalition.

The Mercer County Sustainability Coalition includes the Green Teams from Ewing, East Windsor, West Windsor, Lawrence and Robbinsville townships, plus Princeton, Hightstown Borough, the City of Trenton and the Hopewell Valley towns of Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township and Pennington Borough.

“The Mercer Green Fest is important for sustainability efforts,” Mount said. “People get exposure to sustainable art, solar panels and healthy food. It is a more efficient way to learn about sustainability in one place at one time.”

Through the Mercer Green Fest, visitors learn how things fit together and how their actions can have an impact, Mount said. They can find out what they can do to be more sustainable in their own lives.

There are typically about 100 eco-friendly businesses and organizations that offer products that range from solar energy panels to vendors that make cloth napkins and snack bags from discarded textiles, to those who offer sustainable, chemical-free cleaning products.

The Mercer Green Fest grew out of the Living Local Expo, which was initially sponsored by Sustainable Lawrence. The Mercer County Sustainability Coalition assumed the responsibility for the Living Local Expo several years ago and changed the name to the Mercer Green Fest.

Tickets for the Farm to Table fundraiser cost $100 per person or $150 per couple. Register at www.sustainablelawrence.org.