A dining experience featuring five courses of locally-grown ingredients shaped into expertly-prepared delicacies, all to raise money for community-based initiatives, is now just a few weeks away — and tickets can still be snatched up.
Nancy Carr, director of Sampson County’s United Way, said tickets are still available for the exclusive smorgasbord, which has already benefited from nearly a dozen sponsors and 20 businesses supplying a plethora of in-kind donations to date.
Carr said the response from sponsors and local farms, businesses and distributors has been overwhelming leading up to “Outstanding in Our Fields: The Bounty,” set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at the South River Lodge.
The inaugural “Outstanding in Our Fields” raised $10,350 in April 2013. Carr said the sponsorships from that first event have already been surpassed, and she wants to ensure the feast is similarly sold out.
“There are still tickets available,” she said Tuesday. “We would like people to partake in this and be able to participate so we’re trying to get the word out as much as possible. I think with tickets selling so quickly last year, they may not have thought they would still be there (this year).”
A farm to table concept, the intimate dinner will feature five county chefs offering a first-rate five-course dining experience whose menu, already selected by chefs, is kept a mystery leading up to the event. Tickets are limited to 100 so as to keep the gourmet experience intimate and high quality, Carr noted.
September’s bounty will feature a varying array of autumn cuisine, a much different experience than last year’s spring-based array. A fall-themed craft beer will also be offered in addition to the wine selection.
Numerous sponsors have stepped up to support “Bounty,” including Black Chestnutt & Johnson PA, DuBose Strapping, Ezzell Trucking, Ford of Clinton, Go Automotive Group, Group Benefit Services, Hog Slat, Matthews Drugs & Gifts, Schindler Elevator Corporation, Star Communications and Taylor & Sanderson.
In addition to the in-kind donations of the chefs’ five restaurant and catering businesses — Alfredo’s Ristorante Italiano, Ribeyes Steakhouse, Southern Exposure, Debbilicious and Simply Southern — other donations have been made by Prestage Farms, which is furnishing the venue, Murphy-Brown, which is providing the main course of meat and sausage, and Smithfield, which is bringing the bacon.
Burch Farms will be providing pumpkin, Boney Farms will offer rye and Mike Wilson & Full House Farms will donate squash, while Dutch Buffalo Farms will give fresh garlic, Warlick Family Farms will supply pecans and Southern Produce Distributors will provide sweet potatoes.
“Farmers have definitely stepped forward with the farm to table theme,” Carr remarked.
Others giving toward the event include International Minute Press, The Sampson Independent, McDonald’s, The Atrium Florist, Mutual Distributing Company and US Foods.
Carr said every donation and sponsorship is valuable as it means less overhead for an event whose full proceeds go right back into the community.
“That’s part of the reason we like to encourage sponsors, because the sponsors really help us cover the cost of this event. Although so much of it is donated, there is some cost. What we strive for is that all of our ticket sales will be profit,” Carr said.
Ensuring those tickets are sold when there is such a great outpouring of support from the community — with an equally worthy feast just around the corner — is now the goal.
“We’re excited,” Carr attested. “We’re having a really good year in term of people donating and supporting us. They have been extremely generous. We have more sponsors than we had last year, which is amazing, and we really want to sell out those tickets.”
Seating is available for $125 per person with a limited number of VIP seats available for $150 per person. The select VIP tickets will include VIP parking near the lodge, indoor seating for dinner, and the chance to meet and mingle with the chefs.
To purchase tickets for the “Outstanding in Our Fields” event or for more information on becoming a sponsor, contact Sampson County’s United Way at 910-592-4263 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The local United Way chapter can be visited online at www.unitedwaysampson.org.
See upcoming editions of The Independent to read more about this year’s feast and the local farmers supporting it.
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.