Detroit Farm and Cider hosts farm dinners to raise funds for cider house

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Detroit Farm and Cider is hosting a series of farm-to-table dinners on its 4-acre property, creating an experience that blends fall fun with a sense of community and a seasonal, healthy meal.

The Saturday evening series kicked off last week with a three-course meal prepared on site by chef Meiko Krishok, who runs carryout food business and pop-up Pink Flamingo, and is part of the team behind Guerrilla Food, a Detroit-based, grassroots project that promotes food that nourishes both the body and soul. 

Guests dined outside on the farm at a long table surrounded by free-roaming chickens. 

The series, which is a fundraiser for the farm's cider mill, continues through at least Oct. 23, and Detroit Farm and Cider owner Leandra King says she wants to expand into the winter, too. If weather is disagreeable, the party, capped at 150 people, will move into the heated greenhouse with a pond and waterfall. 

King says the profits from the dinners will go to fund the building of their cider barn starting next spring. The barn will house the cider presses and allow visitors to watch the process and purchase cider and doughnuts. 

From left, Detroit Farm and Garden owner Leandra King welcomes attendees to the dinner with Kelly Jones of Canton who helps put the event together at a Farm-to-table dinner at Detroit Farm and Cider in Detroit on Sept. 18, 2021. Detroit Farm and Cider is offering Farm-to-table dinners that feature music and horse and carriage rides on Saturdays through Oct. 23.

"This is the only variable that's stopping us from being able to be a full-blown cider mill," says King, adding that she has been trying to get grant money and Small Business Association loans to pay for  the building, but with no luck. "We're putting our knuckles to the ground and doing it the way we know best. These dinners are our way of fundraising so we can officially be the first Black-owned cider mill in the country." 

Though these are fundraising dinners, guests get a lot for their $100 ticket. Besides the locally sourced dinner, which includes organic craft cocktails and wine, the series also features live music, a horse-led carriage ride through the property, tours of the farm  including the greenhouse -- and a chance to pick apples to take home. King also wants to start offering a bonfire to end the evening, where guests can roast their own vegan s'mores. 

Poached peaches and plums dessert with candied nuts and whipped cream (or cashew cream) at a Farm-to-table dinner at Detroit Farm and Cider in Detroit on Sept. 18, 2021. The fruit came from Fusilier Farm, maple syrup and maple sugar from Ziibimijwang. Detroit Farm and Cider is offering Farm-to-table dinners that feature music and horse and carriage rides on Saturdays through Oct. 23.

"We're doing this intentionally because we want to maintain the traction and the momentum that we have," said King. She said each meal will offer a vegan and vegetarian option. "You're getting a whole experience. We just wanted to make sure everybody knows we're putting our love and our labor and a hearts into this because ultimately the end goal is to be able to give Detroit a cider mill." 

The chef at helm for this Saturday's dinner is Quiana Broden from the Kitchen by Cooking with Que, a New Center cafe and catering business. King says a different restaurant chef will come on board each week, and she's encouraging any chef who is interested in being involved in a future dinner to reach out. 

Tickets are on sale now for the dinners, which are 4 p.m. Saturdays through at least Oct. 23. Purchase in advance at detroitfarmandcider.com. Detroit Farm and Cider is at 1600 Lawrence in Detroit. 

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens