The Main St Farmers Market presents The Ugly Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Syrup and Eggs will be hosting the event which will feature a four course dinner prepared by Shane Stone of High Haute Foods, Dane Frazier of St. Johns, Chris Babb-Chesnul of Blue Fox Cheese, and Megan Lewis. Each course will feature local foods that may be slightly "imperfect" and instead of becoming food waste, they will be the highlight of this unique culinary experience.
Signature cocktails for the event will be provided by the Bitter Bottle and Mad Priest, each utilizing something according to the theme of the event. Heaven and Ale will attend to provide beer and a few remarks about how their business supports farms with by products of the brewing process. The culinary team will speak about each dish prepared and a statewide initiative, Get Food Smart Tennessee, will have a representative at the dinner.
Holly Martin, manager of the Main St Farmers Market, said, "Our market has always been highly committed to sustainable living and we felt that this dinner would be a great way to engage the community in a conversation about food waste. Don't get me wrong, our farmers grow the most beautiful products of anywhere around, but there may be an occasional tomato with a small blemish and it needs to known that that tomato has a home outside of the trash can."
The topic of food waste and recovery is a popular one and some statistics suggest that 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted. The far ranging consequences of food waste in the U.S. are many. From an increase in the need for landfill space, to perfectly good if slightly "ugly" fruits and vegetables that could be rescued and processed into prepared foods. Another consideration is the loss of resources that go into foods that are laboriously planted, watered, cultivated, harvested, and transported only to be discarded on a massive scale, said officials.
There are some robust consumer education efforts that aim to bring awareness to the many ways to store and use food before it spoils, but the results of those efforts are yet to be seen. Some entrepreneurs have seized this moment to capitalize on the ugly food movement and buy large quantities of blemished produce to sell in stores and perfectly imperfect community supported agriculture farm shares.
Detractors from these business efforts say imperfect food that is now being bought when it was traditionally donated to food banks and pantries is affecting the food secure population, who already largely lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The complexities of the current food system tend to create more questions than answers. And building a less wasteful food system will take time, but there are many ways consumers can make an impact, and a great start is in the home kitchen, said officials.
Tickets to The Ugly Dinner are $50 and can be purchased through Eventbrite or at the Main St Farmers Market, every Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. at the corner of Chestnut and Main.