4th Annual Meet the Farmers Dinner at the The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Freshness, quality, regionally grown, and seasonally correct are words and actions the chefs at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island live by every day.

Amelia Island's Ritz Carlton holds 4th Annual Farmer to Table Dinner

Farm fresh to Table; a celebration of local and regional producers

A group of local and regional farmers, growers and seafood purveyors will gather for the 4th time in four years to celebrate the Meet the Farmers Dinner at the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island. What was still a culinary novelty 4 years ago, has been carefully expanded into a farm to table cuisine that has found gourmands the world over in a continuing search for fresh and healthful flavors.

Every year, Executive Chef Thomas Tolxdorf leads a group of chefs to visit farmers, growers and seafood purveyors for a better understanding of their capabilities and how they work. “Our goal is to partner and support our growers so we can offer fresh, sustainable foods. The dinner is a tribute to their dedication and commitment in order to continuously offer us the finest food for our guests,” says Chef Tolxdorf.

For some, Farm to Table may have become a cliché some restaurants use to attract guests, but for The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and Executive Chef Thomas Tolxdorf it is a philosophy that he has ingrained into his culinary team. Freshness, quality, regionally grown, and seasonally correct are words the chefs live by every day. That is no small task given the amount of fruits, vegetables, meats and fish the chefs order weekly for the oceanfront, luxury resort with no less than 5 restaurants on site.

For Chef Thomas, having a personal relationship with growers is essential. He explains, “We visit farms first hand to see how they grow their produce and discuss future trends. Now our farmers and fish purveyors gather at our restaurant to experience how their product looks on a Ritz-Carlton plate.”

This year’s celebrated farmers and purveyors are:

Blue Sky Farms, St. Johns & Putnam Counties, FL
Danny Johns, fourth generation potato farmer with 20 varieties on 600 plus acres including Blue Fingerling, a first for Northeast Florida and SunLite, a low carbohydrate potato.
Bacon’s Select Produce, Jacksonville, FL
Started as a hobby in 2008, father and son, Fred and Freddie Bacon and their wives, currently farm 6,000 square feet under greenhouses and use organic and beneficial pest control for Hydroponic Arugula, Butterhead, Multi-Leaf, Red Oak, Romaine and Upland Watercress lettuces. You can find the Bacon’s fresh produce at the Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers’ market on N. 7th Street, in historic Fernandina Beach each Saturday from 9:00 to 1:00.
Flat Creek Lodge, Swainsboro, GA
Environmental stewards with a mission to rehabilitate farmland from years of soil abuse, they developed a full production dairy farm. They have multiple acres and their crops are Oyster Mushrooms, Artisan Cheese and Blueberries. Cathy McDaniel and Martha Cobb will represent Flat Creek Dairy.
Gary Reed began his career selling fish out of his truck direct to restaurants and filleted the fish right in his truck. He is one of the most respected suppliers for having the highest quality of fresh Florida seafood. His sources of seafood are from all over the world and his knowledge is invaluable to our chefs.
Cedar Creek Shellfish Farms, New Smyrna Beach, FL
Beginning in 1992, Cedar Creek Shellfish food clam distribution operation grew into a successful seed clam business to other farmers. They built their own hatchery and produce 40 million clam seedlings from January through July. As they are producing more food harvestable clams, four million are to be ready in November. Their goal is to harvest and process 100,000 clams per week in the upcoming years.
North American Bee Company, Jacksonville, FL
Michael Leach serves as the Beekeeper for The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. He maintains the resort’s 200,000 bees and harvests the honey used in the kitchens. Michael also holds harvest and honey processing demonstrations for guests and groups.

The evening includes a reception with passed hors d’oeuvres, followed by an appetizer buffet of shellfish, cheeses, fruits, breads and meats. The main entrée will include local seafood, meats and vegetables and delectable desserts all served from Action Stations attended by Chefs and Farmers serving specialties that highlight the flavor of their ingredients.

The event will be held at Café 4750 beginning with a welcome reception at 6:30 p.m. The price is $75 per person. Call the Ritz-Carlton,Amelia Island for reservations.

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