Recently, The seventh annual Twilight Dinner was held at Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm in Ashburn. The event was a follow-up to the Forum for Rural Innovation, which was held in Winchester in March. The Forum is a cooperative educational effort by the Offices of Agricultural Economic Development and Cooperative Extension in Clarke, Fauquier and Loudoun Counties in Virginia; Jefferson and Berkeley Counties, West Virginia; the Town of Berryville; and the Small Business Development Center of the Eastern Panhandle.
This year’s dinner focused on Culinary Agri-Tourism. Agri-tourism is defined as any agriculturally-based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm. The culinary portion of that helps define a region’s “sense of place.” The event, attended by 71 people, was emceed by Berryville Town Planner Christy Dunkle. The four-course meal featured a variety of local food and wines that showcased our area’s rich agricultural industry.
The event commenced with sangria and appetizers on the patio at Clyde’s and continued on Willow Creek Farm, where Tim McLean (“Farmer Tim” to the Willow Creek staff) gave a tour to participants. Farmer Tim has been growing specialty vegetables, herbs and fruits for Willow Creek Farm since 2008, and brings his passion for fresh produce and sustainable farming methods to the Clyde’s seasonal menu.
Each of the dinner’s four courses featured foods grown at Willow Creek Farm and was introduced by Clyde’s general manager, Paul Fox. Doug Fabbioli of Fabbioli Cellars introduced the wine pairings, which featured wines from Hillsborough Vineyard and White Hall Vineyards, in addition to two of his own.
The keynote address was given by Mary Kay, executive director of Dutchess County Tourism. Located in New York, Dutchess County hosts 4.1 million visitors annually, and Kay works to link all those who provide hospitality, recreation and entertainment in order to provide a top-of-the-line experience to those who visit. The entire event was favorably received, with one guest calling it an “interesting opportunity to engage and connect local culinary and agri-tourism.” To learn more about agri-tourism, you can view Mary Kay’s complete presentation below: