This Thursday offers a chance to check out Chef John Folse’s farm and year-old distillery while eating delicious cuisine from local chefs.
The first-ever Farm Fête, held Sept. 19 at White Oak Estate and Gardens, is hosted by Big River Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance, or BREADA. Farm Fête includes a guided tour of the grounds by Folse, including the distillery, and a cocktail-style tasting of a variety of dishes.
At the event, guests can expect to try dishes from Folse and chefs Don Bergeron of Bergeron’s City Market, Celeste Gill of Chef Celeste Bistro, Saskia Spanhoff of Cocha, Russell Davis of Eliza and JED’s Local, Jeremy Langlois of Latil’s Landing at Houmas House, Peter Sclafani of Phil’s Oyster Bar, and Chris Lockard of LSU Dining. Along with signature hors d’oeuvres, the menu includes braised short ribs, an oyster bar, goat cheese and honey.
For some, the main draw may be getting an inside look at Folse’s facility. The distillery isn’t generally open to the public since it was established about a year ago, and the spirits produced are kept in-house—used mainly for private catering events.
On the tour, guests will get to taste a rum cocktail at the distillery, which is mainly distilling rum right now. The distillery set-up is small but charming, according to Darlene Adams Rowland, BREADA marketing director.
“It’s really cute because there’s several little houses or buildings on the property,” she says. “You just open them up, and there’s the distillery. You can smell the strong smell of the alcohol being distilled. It’s pretty neat.”
Along with local drinks, there will be an open bar and a silent and live auction. Many of the items will be farm-themed, such as farm tours or items provided by farmers who participate in the Red Stick Farmers Market. Participation in the auction is also available online.
BREADA will use event proceeds for its community programs, including the Red Stick Farmers Market. Rowland, BREADA marketing director, says they were trying to increase recognition.
“It’s really twofold, to bring awareness to BREADA and what the nonprofit does and the work that we do beyond the farmers market, and to let people know that the farmers market is a nonprofit,” Rowland says. “Most people don’t know that.”
These programs include Red Stick Sprouts, a youth program that encourages children to make healthy food choices, Small Farmer Support, which provides grant support and financial assistance to struggling small farmers, and Nutrition Education and Outreach, which offers cooking demonstrations, food samples and recipe cards to encourage buying local and fresh produce
BREADA hopes to make this an annual event, Rowland says.
“I think it’s a good opportunity to let people know that it does require community support to keep the farmers market and the great programs that BREADA does running,” she says, “We’re having this new event to tell that message and hopefully have people who really cherish and adore the farmers market to support it financially as well.”
Tickets are still available for $100 per guest and can be purchased online at the BREADA website. The event is set for Thursday, Sept. 19, 6:30-9:30 p.m. White Oak Estate and Gardens is at 17660 George O’Neal Road.