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Farm-to-table chalk art
Farm fresh food + city life = FUN
posted in: Community
by Hope Linker

We brought the farm to the city

Farm-to-table is an effort that started in very small communities.  This movement promotes serving local food as often as possible – no matter where it is. Hometown restaurants and even school cafeterias have taken advantage of this for years. People love to know that their food came directly from the creator whether it’s a family farm, brewery, ranch, or winery. We’re all about this idea, too.

That’s why Chicago Gourmet is one of our favorite events of the year. 2016 was our third year partnering with Chicago Gourmet, and our second year as the Title Sponsor of the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Pavilion.  “It’s a world class celebration of food and wine, and is an ideal opportunity to meet the 11,000+ attendees for the weekend-long event.  Our goal in 2016 was to really emphasize our commitment to Illinois Agriculture,” COUNTRY Financial employee, Jamie Byrd said. Jamie coordinated the event, making sure everything from green sake cocktail to the rustic decorations were absolutely perfect.

We accomplished this by partnering with a local Chicago Chef, Kevin Hickey of the Duck Inn.  He served as our spokesperson for Chicago Gourmet and spoke about COUNTRY Financial in TV and Radio interviews.  He also participated in a Q&A session with invited COI’s and food influencers, where guests learned about our roots in agriculture. Kevin spoke about farm-to-table’s staying power, saying, “Farm-to-table is a given. We buy from family farmers and the food is unlike anything you’ll find in grocery stores. Some may think it’s a trend, but it’s here to stay.” Check, Please! host, Catherine De Orio also joined us to chat about delicious farm-to-table restaurants in the city. In her mind, everyone is already on board with farm-to-table, or they’re trying to get on board.

Chefs speaking

“I wanna eat well. Drink big. And sit casually. That’s what people want. A casual environment with delicious and creative food.” – Duck Inn Chef, Kevin Hickey

COUNTRY Financial Employee, Eryn Lloyd said, “My favorite part of Chicago Gourmet was witnessing how much all of our guests enjoyed themselves throughout the entire day. Providing our guests with this unique personal experience starting with our Celebrity Chef Q & A in the morning to our lounge space in the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ tent in the afternoon. The live chalk artist in our Country Financial Lounge space was a great way to showcase our roots in agriculture along with the farm to table movement.”

Live chalk art, a COUNTRY-branded Snapchat filter, delicious food and drinks, social media influencers and foodie bloggers, and conversation with wonderful people helped bring this movement to life.  We already can’t wait for next year! Be sure to add Chicago Gourmet to your bucket list. 

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