Agencies, farmers markets to present state park dinners

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The bounty of W.Va. farms will take center stage in state parks this year. Photo courtesy Rick Burgess.

Three state agencies have partnered with the W.Va. Farmers Market Association to host eight farm-to-table dinners in West Virginia state parks. Each will take place at a park restaurant, pairing locally grown produce and products for menu items.

The goal of the dinners is to introduce more locally sourced products into restaurant menus, while developing connections between farmers markets and local buyers, according to Kent Leonhardt, commissioner of the W.Va. Department of Agriculture.

The state Department of Agriculture and Division of Natural Resources and the state parks system hope to create a seamless conduit for supplying local demand.

For many producers participating in these events, this will be a scale-up opportunity and chance to grow their businesses, Leonhardt said.

“Producers and food providers need to understand they are partners in growing our local food systems. By working together, they can better plan and understand each other’s needs,”  Leonhardt said.

Farm-to-table dinners will be served at the following parks:

Parween Mascari, executive director of the West Virginia Farmers Market Association, said the association is grateful for the assistance of the department of agriculture and division of natural resources.

“We hope that the public is as excited about this as we are and that this farm-to-table dinner series is just the beginning of a beautiful relationship between our state park system and our local farmers and value added producers. Sourcing from West Virginians for West Virginia state park restaurants and gift shops just makes good sense,” Mascari said.

For more information, . To make a reservation for the June 14 dinner at Pipestem, call 304-466-1800.

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