By all accounts, the first-ever Feast on the Farm at Westmoor Park was an unmitigated success.
Indeed, 160 people gathered for an exquisite, four-course outdoor meal prepared by Dorjan Puka, owner/chef of Treva Restaurant and Bar.
Dinner included short ribs with polenta and root vegetables. Puka said that the ingredients came from local farms, including Glastonbury, New Hartford and Granby.
It was truly a local affair, with volunteers from Hall and Conard High Schools serving hors d’oeuvres prepared by Russell Pruzbek, owner/chef of Russell’s Creative Global Cuisine.
Diners, who sat under a large, candlelit tent, were also treated to music by a quartet comprising two fiddles, an acoustic guitar and a banjo.
“They went for a gentleman farmer thing and they nailed it,” said Chris Bennett, who sits on the Park & Recreation Advisory Council.
Organizer Helen Rubino-Turco, the town’s director of human and leisure services, said that the event surpassed her expectations.
“I’m used to doing fundraisers where I get my usual circle of friends to come,” Rubino-Turco said. “Here, we’ve got a completely new set of people coming to the project we’re working on.”
That project is restoring the Westmoor Barn; proceeds from the event - between $12,000 and $15,000 - will go toward that restoration effort.
“This is a community that steps up to solve a problem and supports what they love,” she said, referring in part to Westmoor Park, which receives about 100,000 visitors annually. “West Hartford is about community and this is just another great example of that.”
Rubino-Turco credited Puka, who has two children in West Hartford public schools and is a big supporter of the wellness and local food movement.
“He’s just as generous as the day is long,” Rubino-Turco said.
Those in attendance were also thrilled with the evening.
“I’m so excited,” Town Councilor Denise Hall said. “It’s a beautiful event in a wonderful setting. … It’s a perfect example of West Hartford residents stepping up and saying, ‘Here is a jewel in our town, we want to support it.’”
The barn was constructed in the early to mid-1800s, according to Westmoor Naturalist Doug Jackson.
The barn plays host to a livestock program the summer camp has activities for the kids there from time to time.“It’s is an integral part of what we do,” Jackson said.