BONNERS FERRY — On Sept. 7, Gardeners for Regional Organic Wellbeing, a 501.c.3 nonprofit (GROW!), their supporters and guests met, once again, for an evening of locally grown and prepared organic dishes.
The dinner is held annually to raise funds for GROW!’s activities to support their mission to further develop and expand the local Boundary County food system.
Many made this dinner a success, including the Bonners Ferry High School Robotics Team, who helped with food service and bussing of tables.
This years event was located at The Rice family residence and BeeHaven Flower Farm. The farm venue provided a beautiful backdrop of flower fields in bloom, and a perfect outside location in which to host this event.
The dinner began with fresh vegetables, hummus, tzatziki and stuffed dates hors d’oeuvres. Corn chowder soup, coleslaw, cucumber, and a fresh greens salad containing dried pie cherries from Georgia Earley’s Paradise Farms, and loaded with fresh cheese made from local Jersey milk, was served prior to the main course.
Pulled pork, with roasted potatoes in garlic cream sauce, along with roasted beets and homemade honey rolls, completed the main dish. Desserts were also available, such as a spiced stone fruit shortbread from Old Schoolhouse Farm, blueberry crumble bars courtesy of Cow Creek Blueberry Farm, a cherry crumble and gluten-free chocolate cake.
The beverages were provided by Kootenai River Brewing Company, the table flowers for the event were grown by Julie and Edward Newcomb of Cloud Eleven Mountain Farm, and acoustic guitar music performed by Ralph Walker.
GROW! encourages sustainable agriculture for the region, including the Little Free Gardens around the community, which are made possible by the High Five Community Transformation Grant through Blue Cross of Idaho, Foundation for Health, which mirrors GROW!s organizational mission of access to healthy and affordable foods.
“There are now a total of 22 Little Free Gardens in Boundary County,” said Gerry Ann Howlett. “You can pick the lettuce, tomatoes — and the Little Free Garden at the library was voted to be the best Little Free Garden in the United States.”
Kate Painter, Ph.D., UI Agriculture Extension Educator, provided information on GROW!.
“GROW! donates fresh, organic produce to the local food bank,” said Painter, who added that organic produce is also donated to the local school free lunch programs.
Many local farmers and gardeners were present and supplied information on up and coming projects within the community and county.
Edward Newcom of Cloud Eleven Mountain Farm, described his experiences during his two years of farming within the Boundary County community of growers, he spoke on the cohesive and helpful ways in which this community of growers interacts with each other.
“The other farmers are not our adversaries, they are our colleagues,” said Newcom.
The camaraderie and rapport in which Boundary County’s group of community farmers display appears to be a testament to Newcom’s statement.
All proceeds from the event will go toward supporting the community garden, located on Buchanan, next to Trinity Lutheran Church Day Care Center.
GROW! meetings are held at 5 p.m. and located at the Extension Office on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, except for the upcoming November and December months, where they will meet on the first Wednesdays only. Contact Kate Painter at the University of Idaho Extension Office for more information: 208-267-3235.