By Jean Schurman
The 1st Annual Farmfest will be held September 23-25 in the Bitterroot. Jointly sponsored by the Bitterroot Valley Chamber, the Ravalli County Fairgrounds, and The Daly Mansion, the weekend’s events features a Harvest Wine and Beer Festival on Friday night, a Farm Tour on both Saturday and Sunday, and a Pasture to Plate dinner on Saturday night.
The event showcases the importance of agriculture in the Bitterroot Valley and touches upon the history as well as the future of agriculture. Each event will have a focus on the local agricultural economy and feature locally grown produce, meats, spirits and meads, and even garments made from local wool and fibers.
“We seek to raise awareness of the valley’s farms, ranches and agricultural businesses that provide a large economic base to the Bitterroot Valley,” according to Carol Smith, chairman of the tourism and marketing committee of the Bitterroot Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The Bitterroot Harvest Wine and Beer Festival will feature over 70 varieties of wine and locally produced beer. Samples will be available for wines from around the world or from right here in the valley. No wine tasting is complete however without delicious appetizers. Local restaurants and caterers will utilize locally grown ingredients to make a wide variety of delicious appetizers. The event will be at the First Interstate Center at the Fairgrounds on Old Corvallis Road. Tickets are $35 each and are available at the Chamber office located in Hamilton or on the Chamber website, www.bitterrootvalleychamber.com .
The Farm Tour will be held both Saturday and Sunday and will feature both businesses and farms that contribute to the agricultural make up of the valley. The award winning Huls Dairy features state-of-the-art milking systems and waste management for dairies. Several Alpaca farms will be open to give people a chance to see these South American imports. Most of these farms offer items such as socks, sweaters and even Alpasano All Natural Alpaca Meat. Apple season is upon us and Mountain View Orchards and Frost Top Orchard have opened their doors for the tour also. Several agribusinesses will be featured along with the Hamilton Farmers Market. This event is free to the public.
The final event is the Pasture to Plate dinner which will be Saturday night at 6 pm. Smith and her crew are very excited about this not only because it is “a fabulous dinner made with ingredients from Bitterroot Valley Farms & Ranches,” but also because of the venue. The event, which is hosted by the Daly Mansion Preservation Trust, will be held in the history Carriage House on the Bitter Root Stock Farm. This is a one time only opportunity to take in the history of the carriage house while dining on some of the finest food in the Northwest. From German Sausages served on apple wedges to beer braised beef tenderloin and grilled corn succotash to an apple tart served with honey lavender ice cream, and the appropriate wine to go with each course, the event is sure to please everyone. Tickets are $100 per person and reservations will be taken at the Chamber office 363-2400.
Please contact the Bitterroot Valley Chamber for more information at 363-2400.