Journal Staff Tanya Manus
Savor farm-fresh gourmet dinners in the peaceful atmosphere of Bear Butte Gardens this summer. The Farm Stand at Bear Butte Gardens near Sturgis hosts monthly farm-to-table dining experience events to showcase talented local chefs and seasonal foods produced in the Black Hills.
The farm-to-table culinary experiences will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 26, July 24, August 28 and September 25 at Bear Butte Gardens. Tickets are $100 per person; places are limited to 30 people at each event. Tickets are still available for dinner on June 26, as well as other dining experiences later this summer. Go to bearbuttegardens.com/events/upcomingevents/ to buy tickets.
Farm-to-table culinary experiences are opportunities to spend an evening on the farm at Bear Butte Gardens. Each evening begins with a social hour at 5 p.m., when locally produced beer and wine will be served. You can participate in guided tours of the farm before dinner. Musicians from the Black Hills area will perform live music throughout the event.
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“We’ve hosted an event like this before (last August) and received amazing feedback,” said Kiara Poitra, commercial kitchen manager for Bear Butte Gardens. “Guests really enjoyed the atmosphere. We installed it on our terrace. We make a beautiful and beautiful long banquet table. It’s a very personal experience… It’s a soothing and relaxing environment.
“We also got a lot of compliments on the food. We partner with some very top chefs in the region,” Poitra said. “Guests have really enjoyed the local gourmet cuisine.
Bear Butte Gardens is a small USDA certified organic family farm owned and operated by Michelle and Rick Grosek that grows a variety of vegetables, raises livestock, and produces its own honey. For each farm-to-table dining experience, Bear Butte Gardens will partner with another chef from the Black Hills area who will create a meal specifically for that event.
The June 26 meal will be prepared by Chef Travis Bartels of Boulder Canyon Sports Bar & Grill in Sturgis. He once owned restaurant businesses and served as a chef at several restaurants in South Dakota and other states, Poitra said.
The menu for each farm-to-table dining experience is chosen a few days before each event to ensure the meal includes seasonal elements, she said.
“Travis has a huge passion for local cuisine. He sources as many eggs and meat as he can from us for Boulder Canyon. He’s one of the chefs we work with quite closely,” Poitra said. “We let the chefs take over. We want every farm-to-table dining experience to be as unique as the chef.
“Travis is planning great lamb dishes and a rhubarb dessert and great local produce,” Poitra said. “It is easier to source from our gardens, but whatever the chef prepares, we will source (the ingredients). We work in partnership with approximately 45 other vegetable and meat producers throughout the region. We are pretty much staying in the Black Hills.
Vince Marsh of The Custer Beacon in Custer will be the featured chef for the July 24 Farm-to-Table dining experience.
“He does an incredible job. He has a good palate for combining spices,” Poitra said.
MJ Adams, host of SDPB’s “Savor Dakota,” will be the featured chef for the August 28 farm-to-table dining experience. Adams was the chef and owner of The Corn Exchange restaurant for 17 years in Rapid City. His cookbook inspired by his restaurant and dining experiences, “The Corn Exchange – from the Big Apple to the Black Hills”, was published in 2019.
The leader of the September 25 event has yet to be determined.