Crews from Nash’s Organic Produce harvest beets on the Ward Farm at the corner of Woodcock and Ward roads. (Lindsey Aspelund/North Olympic Land Trust)

Crews from Nash’s Organic Produce harvest beets on the Ward Farm at the corner of Woodcock and Ward roads. (Lindsey Aspelund/North Olympic Land Trust)

Tickets on sale now for Harvest Dinner on Sept. 10 in Sequim

Chefs at Pacific Pantry will prepare a meal with ingredients from within 100 miles of the city for the 17th annual event.

SEQUIM — Advance tickets are on sale now for the North Olympic Land Trust’s Harvest Dinner set for Sept. 10.

The 17th annual Harvest Dinner will showcase nearby farms, with artisan chefs at Pacific Pantry preparing a meal with ingredients from within 100 miles of Sequim.

“This dinner is so important because people often get really excited about the food you put in front of them, but they don’t always get excited about the farms and the people that grow that food,” said Carlos Osorio, executive chef at Blondie’s Plate, who will assist John Pabst, chef and owner of Pacific Pantry, to prepare the feast.

“In supermarkets there’s a huge disconnect between the consumer and the farm … nobody knows where their food comes from anymore,” Pabst said. “This dinner is intended to reconnect people with their food and the farms.”

The dinner will begin at 5 p.m. at Sunland Country Club, 109 Hilltop Drive in Sequim.

Advance tickets are $100 per person. After Sept. 1, tickets will be $115 . No tickets will be available at the door.

This year’s dinner will raise funds for conservation of the Ward Farm in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley. The 2016 Farmer of the Year will be honored.

In addition to the multi-course meal, Harvest Dinner guests will be offered a no-host bar featuring local wines and beer, a raw oyster bar, live music, a silent auction and a presentation on the evolution of farmland in Clallam County and the North Olympic Land Trust’s conservation efforts.

Tickets are selling quickly, according to the Land Trust.

“Harvest Dinner pulls together the group of people adamant about permanently securing local farmland for farming,” said Tom Sanford, North Olympic Land Trust executive director.

“There are a lot of pressures leading to the conversion of our remaining farmland into other purposes, and it’s great to see the group that is ready to step-up and protect farmland.”

The Harvest Dinner was started by Friends of the Fields and continued by North Olympic Land Trust after the two groups merged in 2010. The annual event both celebrates and raises support for local farmland conservation.

Outstretched farmland dotted with dairy cows once was common throughout Clallam County, but with time, that land base has been converted to other uses. Instead of the nearly 78,000 acres of farmland in 1945, Clallam County is home to about 23,600 acres with the majority of those lands located within the fertile Sequim-Dungeness Valley, according to the Land Trust.

These lands not only reflect the area’s agricultural roots, but also are an economic engine with a local market value of $11 million, according to the Land Trust.

By collaborating with members of the community, the Land Trust has forever conserved more than 460 acres of active farmland.

“The Land Trust is currently working to protect the 60-acre Historic Ward Farm that has been in active production since 1858,” Sanford said.

“Over $300,000 has been secured for this project from the state of Washington, and we’re actively fundraising to conclude this opportunity by this fall.”

Founded by community members in 1990, the Land Trust has conserved more than 3,200 acres of land across the North Olympic Peninsula by working with willing landowners to conserve our areas farms, fish and forests.

Funds raised at the Harvest Dinner are used to leverage support from state and federal grants to secure conservation agreements.

For about every dollar donated at Harvest Dinner, the Land Trust has been able to leverage about $8 from other sources to protect these farms, organizers said.

“This place has a rich agricultural heritage that continues to this day,” Sanford said.

“As members of this community, we all have a role to play to make sure we retain the things we love most about this place as it continues to evolve in the coming decades.”

To learn more about Harvest Dinner or to purchase tickets, visit www.NorthOlympicLandTrust.org

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