Old Bay potato hash. French toast casserole. Gazpacho. Corn pancakes with bacon marmalade.
Those are just some of the items on the menu for the Carroll County Food Sunday Farm to Table Brunch planned for Saturday, July 14, all made fresh by chef Melissa Fordham of Westminster’s Blue Bistro and Catering.
“The ingredients will be local,” said Frank Baylor, immediate past president of Food Sunday, where he is also a board member. “All the ingredients for the gazpacho have been donated by vendors at the Downtown Westminster Farmers Market, and the meat will be purchased from Evermore Farms.”
There will be two seatings for the brunch, one at 9 a.m. and the second at 11 a.m., and it will be hosted in the Westminster volunteer fire company’s climate-controlled John Street Quarters, 28 John St. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children younger than 12.
But the event is more than just a chance to taste local produce transformed by a local chef — it’s also a chance to help support food-insecure people in the community in accessing healthy local produce. The proceeds from the ticket sales will go to support Food Sunday’s Veggie Voucher program, according to Baylor.
“Carroll County Food Sunday provides mostly nonperishable food for our clients. It’s about 8,000 pounds per week that we distribute,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of refrigeration or freezers and we are open limited hours, So the logisticis of handling fresh food — it’s just more than we can manage.”
About seven years ago, Baylor said, Food Sunday board member Missie Wilcox suggested a workaround — what if they provided vouchers for Food Sunday clients to take to local farmers markets where they could access fresh produce and meats that Food Sunday couldn’t handle at its location at the Distillery Building in downtown Westminster.
Food Sunday had long offered milk vouchers that could be redeemed at local stores, and this would simply a similar program, but centered around farmers markets in Westminster, Hampstead, Taneytown and elsewhere in the county.
“The board earmarked $15,000 for the program that first year. It was very successful,” Baylor said. “Our budget this year is $80,000 and I think last year we spent $60,000. That’s just the Veggie Voucher program.”
The Farm to Table Brunch was first launched three years ago to help support the Veggie Voucher program, Baylor said. Now in its third incarnation, he said the program is better dialed in.
“We needed some time to get our heads around how to operate this event so we can maximize the proceeds that go to Food Sunday and one of the huge expenses was a tent,” he said. “This year we were able to get the John Street Quarters, which will not be weather dependent at all and is very near to the farmers market.”
Tickets for the brunch are available in advance on Food Sunday’s website at www.ccfoodsunday.org/farm-to-table-brunch, and will be available the day of the brunch, Baylor said, if they are not sold out.
Alternatively, there is an opportunity to pick up tickets at the Downtown Westminster Farmers Market on Saturday, July 7.
“I will be present Saturday at the farmers market all day, 8:30 to noon, under a tent and a table,” Baylor said. “If anybody wants to come then, I will definitely sell them a ticket.”