Eat In The Street Strengthens Downtown Community

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On the evening of Sunday, September 22 downtown Milford looked quite different as Milford residents came together to enjoy local food and libations during the first ever Eat In The Street event. Welcomed by the sounds of the Music School of Delaware’s First State Brass quartet, guests took their seats at tables that lined the middle of South Walnut Street from SW Front Street to the Mispillion River. The evening produced fellowship between neighbors as the community enjoyed local dishes made with local produce accompanied by local entertainment.

“The real driver behind this event was the idea that we could all have a family dinner together as a community,” commented event organizer SaraKate Hammer. “The atmosphere and the experience among friends, neighbors and people you do not know yet, creates those memories that bond us together.”

DMI Vice President SaraKate Hammer’s inspiration for this event came from an article she read online about the Jonesborough Farmers Market Farm To Table Dinner in Tennessee. The event was started by local restaurant owners Herman and Beverly Jenkins of Main Street Cafe after they saw an article in Outstanding in the Field that highlighted a traveling restaurant that prepared farm-to-table dinners outside literally in farmers’ fields. Jenkins imagined that dinner being held on Main Street in Jonesborough, providing a way to help support their downtown area and the local farmers market.

The Milford event brought together farming families, restaurant and business owners and food lovers at one table to share in the past, present and future successes of downtown Milford. Milford’s Eat In The Street featured the farm-to-table theme by highlighting local produce from local farms including T.S. Smith & Sons, Bob Russell Farms, Greenbranch Organic Farm, Nice Farms Creamery, Colvine Bison Farm and Fifer Orchards. Local restaurant Abbott’s Grill prepared the three course meal as Downtown Milford Inc. volunteers served one hundred guests.

Photos by John Mollura

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“I thought the event went beautifully,” commented Laura Burton of Abbott’s Grill. “Everyone that volunteered and helped to prepare and serve food did an amazing job. It was such a community effort to put this together.”

The evening began with a parsnip and pear bisque with brown butter toasted almonds and grilled bison sausage and braised red cabbage with bacon. As event goers began to mingle, libations were served including Dogfish Head’s My Antonia beer. Dancers from the First State Academy of Dance welcomed guests with a dinner waltz as they prepared to enjoy the second course, a mizuna salad with roasted beets, candied pecans, pears, pumpkin-crusted goat cheese in a caramel apple vinaigrette.

The main course featured slow-roasted pork loin with sweet potato and corn relish paired with Dogfish Head’s Punkin’ Beer. Throughout the dinner, servers also poured Thorny Rose Chardonnay, Thorny Rose Sauvignon Blanc and Trumpeter Malbec for guests that fancied wine along with their meal. Entertainment for the rest of the evening was delivered by Jason Beale & The Dystractions as they played during dinner and dessert, which was harvest cake made by Dolce Bakery in downtown Milford.

“It was great to see an event like this in downtown To see it come together on the River on the main street was incredible,” commented Jason Beale of Jason Beale & The Dystractions. “It was a lot of fun to play for our hometown.”

Organizers SaraKate and Nancy Chirdon, of Verde Cooking School in downtown Milford, felt that this event helped to instill a sense of pride and belonging in the community as DMI celebrated their ongoing commitment to growing the downtown area as a destination for Milford residents and visitors. Community partners of Eat In The Street included Bayhealth Medical Center, Milford Chronicle, Abbott’s Grill, AP Linens, Inc., Dolce Bakery & Coffee Shop, Tout de Suite, Milford Senior Center and Verde Cooking School. Downtown Milford Inc expects to host the Eat In The Street event again next year, potentially increasing the number of seats and engaging more community partners.

“I hope people will remember the event and it will become something unique to Milford,” commented SaraKate. “I have heard nothing but gracious and supportive comments, I believe everyone had a fun time, a great meal and a great experience. The volunteers were phenomenal and everyone worked to pull together a wonderful evening.”