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Local foods cooked over an open fire at trust dinner

CORNWALL — There was no need to lure people to dinner at the Aug. 25 Farm to Table fundraiser for the Cornwall Conservation Trust scholarship fund. Guests first made their way to a mowed hilltop in a hayfield at the trust’s Hart Farm Preserve high atop Cherry Hill, traversing a winding path cut through tall grass. Hors d’oeuvres and wine were served under a tent close to an open wood fire. Appetites were piqued by the smell of locally produced meats and vegetables slowly roasting to perfection. Guests watched as giant slabs of wood, piled high with edibles, were brought by the staff of Jeremy Stanton and Fire Roasted Catering, of Sheffield, Mass., from the fire to the dining tent. The wood pieces became serving tables.Thunderstorms threatened, but held off for the sellout crowd of 125. A few showers didn’t matter; they only made the candlelit tables feel cozier.Before the event was over, trust members and guests were talking about making this an annual event.More than $5,000 was raised, according to event Chair Emilie Pryor.“It’s more than we’ve ever had for the scholarship program,” she said. “We don’t usually even do fundraisers. We just have a campaign when we need to raise money, for instance, if we’re buying a piece of land.”The evening also helped with the trust’s goal of shining a light on local farming. “We really wanted to celebrate farming and how so many people in Cornwall are working so hard to make local food available,” Pryor said after the event. “We also wanted to advertise these and other businesses. It is having a ripple effect. For instance, the Cornwall General Store baker made all the pies, and people have been ordering them since. They enjoyed the cheeses that were served. Two people asked if the caterer does weddings. So, it will continue to benefit the community.”Pryor said Stanton is set to open a Great Barrington market that carries only locally produced meat.Trust scholarships go to college students in Cornwall and surrounding towns who are pursuing environmental studies.

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