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Fresh food to be served at final Farm to Table dinner

On Oct. 9, local restaurant Rockwell's Republic will be serving a five- to seven-course dinner of local foods on the Lubbers Family Farm. The series has become a successful collaboration between restaurants, local producers and farmers, and consumers.
A dinner guest enjoying the fellowship at the Brewery Vivant dinner

A dinner guest enjoying the fellowship at the Brewery Vivant dinner /Francesca Beckwith

Underwriting support from:

Farm to Table Dinner Info:


A dinner on a farm featuring a menu created and prepared by Rockwell-Republic using as locally sourced
ingredients as possible. A tour of the farm is included in the package


Lubbers Family Farm
862 Luce St. SW, Grand Rapids MI 49534


5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9.
Farm tour begins at 5 p.m., table gathering at 5:30 pm, dinner at 5:45 pm.

Ticket info

Tickets are $65 per person and may be purchased from the Lubbers Family Farm website

If it rains, the dinner will be moved to the hayloft.
10 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Fulton Street Farmers Market upgrade campaign.

A nose-to-tail experience utilizing the whole hog

Amouse bouche

  • Chicharones, corn, beans, tomatillo relish, pickled peppers


  • Sausage soup, chick peas, kohlrabi, local cheddar, chive blossom, creme fraiche


  • Stuffed loin, apples, rosemary, goat cheese, green peppercorn jus served over fennel salad


  • Asian BBQ Ribs served with a sweet, savory slaw


  • Tomato shooter

Main course

  • Smoked honey glazed ham, sweet potato duchess and mushroom ragout


  • Candied Bacon ice cream, chocolate cake, warm maple syrup

The menu is subject to change depending on availability

Guests of the Farm to Table dinner with Brewery Vivant enjoying the freshly prepared courses

Guests of the Farm to Table dinner with Brewery Vivant enjoying the freshly prepared courses /Francesca Beckwith

Jana Deppe, centered, organizer of the Farm to Table dinner series

Jana Deppe, centered, organizer of the Farm to Table dinner series /Francesca Beckwith

What if you could have a full meal made from the freshest local food possible? Imagine if you knew that everything on your plate was fresh picked, freshly slaughtered and cooked in front of you. Now open your eyes. The dinner is real.

On Oct. 9, local restaurant Rockwell's Republic will serve a five- to seven-course dinner of local foods on the Lubbers Family Farm. The event will be a discovery for both brain and belly.

Jana Deppe, its organizer, described the event. “We sit everybody at one long table. To see that at the farm, this white table cloth [on a picnic] table in the middle of a farm with chickens and ducks and geese clucking around . . . it’s just an enchanting evening.” Deppe, a graduate, valedictorian, from Secchia Culinary Institute of Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC), created the Farm to Table dinner series in partnership with Slow Food this year. It is a continuation of last year’s successful fund-raiser for the GRCC group she founded, Tilling to Table. This group unearths the origins of food together through gardening, farm volunteering and more. Their vision for the event, Deppe said, is “a celebration of local producers and farmers and consumers. That is what it was last year and that is what it is this year.” This year, however, it has a twist.

After tremendous response from the first event, Deppe expanded the participants. "It morphed into a whole dinner series with restaurants,” she said. Deppe hand-picks the restaurants based on their support of the local food movement. The farmers are also able to be present and talk about their products, which are represented through the dinner. So far, Brewery Vivant and Bar Divani have each had a turn planning the menu and preparing the food, with Rockwell's Republic on for the final dinner. Just what make this restaurant an ideal choice?

As the head cheesemaker for Cowslip Creamery on the Lubbers Family Farm, Deppe describes Rockwell's Republic as “a natural fit” for the dinner because the restaurant heavily supports the local food movement, was one of the first ones to use her cheese, and their sous chef Adam Devers headed the food and preparation of last year’s dinner.

He now returns to plan this year’s menu as well. His goal is to make this dinner representative of Rockwell's Republic and to source his ingredients even more locally than is possible at a restaurant setting. To that end, Republic is purchasing a hog from the Lubbers Family Farm. “They’re using every part,” Deppe said, “There will be pig represented in every course that goes out that evening.”

This may be unsettling to some, but doesn’t mean that they will serve the head, hooves, and internal organs on a guest’s platter. Rather, these will be boiled in a stock for hours to draw out the good cartilage and fat until it is gelatinous. The head is taken out and the meat removed. This meat is then served with the gelatinous stock poured over it. This course, called head cheese, or brawn, is not really a cheese, but a meaty dish that Deppe described as “mighty delicious.” Other meaty dishes to be served are honey glazed ham, Asian barbeque ribs, and rillette, a french meaty paste used on bread like jelly.

Fresher is always better, making each dish more enticing. When sourced locally, ingredients are fresher, more adept to the residents’ nutritional needs and more flavorful. For example, Devers knows that the yellow heirloom watermelons Rockwell's Republic uses for their cocktails produce a sweeter drink. On that note, for the dessert, Adam Devers has something special up his apron. He plans to serve candied bacon ice cream using local cream and bacon he will smoke himself from the Lubber’s pig. To accompany it, he will make chocolate rum cake drizzled with warm local maple syrup.

While the ingredients are mostly fresh, each dinner meets individual tastes differently. Steve and Francesca Beckwith, two guests at the Brewery Vivant dinner, noted that they would definitely attend another. However, they were disappointed in a couple of the dishes for their lack of local ingredients.

“They had a crab cake for example, and there aren’t too many crabs in Michigan,” Steve Beckwith said. Even Adam Devers, who was also a guest at the Brewery Vivant event said, “I’m not trying to bash anyone but I think that one [with Bar Divani] was the better of the two.”

Nevertheless, Steve Beckwith said he enjoyed the community best. “It’s so interesting to sit down across the table from twenty people you don’t know and all try these kind of ‘out there’ foods, and talk about it, and get to know people through food, and to find out that you’re not so odd for liking this or you’re not so odd for not liking that . . . . Oh it was just so much fun, particularly because food is so universal. If we would have been talking about finance or cars or anything else, there are levels that you understand and levels that you don’t understand, but everyone understands food.” Overall, Steve Beckwith believes in the ideals involved, “I love the idea of local food. It’s such a thrilling idea to see America coming back to local foods.”

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