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Friends tout annual Harvest Dinner as a success

Slow roasted pork, fresh salmon, bread from local grains and a variety of vegetables were on the menu at a Sequim area's farmland conservation group dinner on Oct. 5.

Three-quarters of the food came from within 35 miles of

Sequim, while the rest came from within 100 miles of the area.

The idea behind the Friends of the Fields Harvest Dinner was to raise funds for the organization while raising awareness of the benefits of having a local source for food.

"It was so wonderful to see so many friends and new faces together to enjoy the bounty of our land," said founding board member Bob Caldwell. "The enthusiasm of everyone in the room was overwhelming. Together we'll be able to save even more farms."

Many of the ingredients, such as Nash's Organic Produce vegetables, were reaped from land preserved from development with open space or farmland easements.

Other foods, such as oats from the Lamb Farm or berries from the Rainbow, Graysmarsh and Dungeness Meadow farms, came from agricultural operations that continue to thrive in a valley with coveted real estate.

Friends of the Fields is a local, grassroots organization dedicated to preserving farmland and supporting local agriculture. Its founders and current volunteers and staff want to ensure a local source of food and to maintain the quality of life agriculture and open space support.

The Harvest Dinner was filled with stories of farming preservation successes, tales of growing up on farms in Clallam County and an exchange of ideas and information between farmers and those who showed up to support them.

The highlight of the evening was when Caldwell presented

Sequim farmer Arturo Flores with the Friends of the Fields Farmer of the Year award. Flores is the manager of Graysmarsh Farm in Jamestown and has been instrumental in managing the farm's operations and protecting its surrounding marsh habitat and wildlife.

Proceeds from the dinner, estimated to be more than $60,000, will help Friends of the Fields continue to save farmland in the valley.

For more information regarding Friends of the Fields, see www.friendsofthefields.org.



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