7th Annual Farm-To-Table : Jonesborough, TN

People who bring communities together over food
are the best kind of people. 

Main Street Catering & the 7th Annual Farm-to-Table Dinner

The annual event that you’ve likely never heard of has been turning heads and building momentum year-over-year since 2010. What started with as few as 50 people 7 years ago, now caters to over 200 guests for one very special night a year.  At $100/plate, every dollar goes to compensate farmers within a 100 mile radius of Jonesborough, TN along with Farmer’s Market known as Jonesborough Locally Grown.  Eating healthy can be a daunting and expensive task which is why Breelyn and her husband, Chef Alex Bomba find it so important to help raise funds for the ‘Farmer’s Market Match’ of up to $50 every Saturday for families in need of wholesome nutrition.   Every penny of over $20K raised at this year’s dinner went straight to charity.  If that wasn’t enough, over 50 community and high school students volunteered their time to serve a flawless five course meal.

Meet Chef Bomba

Chef Alex Bomba and his wife have an amazing story!  Breelyn is from Jonesborough and Alex is also from Tennessee. They met in high school and after years of the financial advisor life, Alex pivoted to fulfill his true life’s passion as a chef!  Fast forward through much success serving up deliciousness at D.C. accessible, Virginia based restaurant Eventide (James Beard nominated Best New Restaurant 2009 – Chef Miles Vaden), the Bomba’s made their way back to Breelyn’s home town and took their culinary passion to the next level assuming her family’s catering business – Main Street Café & Catering.

Our addiction with Chef Bomba began over my (Erin’s) birthday this past January.  We opted for the monthly Wine Night and Tasting Menu in Jonesborough thus driving 4.5 hours from Nashville to sit down to one hell of a fantastic meal!  We were left wanting more that night and learned about the annual Farm-to Table event! We knew we couldn’t miss it, so we signed up on the spot (8 months in advance) for the long table dinner down Main Street. (Timing happened to align perfectly with Brandon’s birthday.) There’s no place either of us would rather spend a birthday than under the care of Chef Alex and his lovely wife, Breelyn Bomba!

The Long Table

Rain or shine, the event must go on.  We lucked out this year weather wise.  The sky was dry and the temperature was perfect.  Upon arrival, guests checked in at the International Storytelling Center for wine and appetizers with seatings beginning at 7:45 pm for an 8 pm start.  One long, continuous table occupied Main Street in front of the Court House.  Fresh cut flowers and gorgeous white linens adorned the 206 foot long table in anticipation of 218 guests.  The elegant table dressing under the setting sun was simply breathtaking.

Place Setting Photo Courtesy of Woven Studios

Five Course Tasting

With a focus on product,  ingredients are sourced from farms within 100 miles of town. From the moment a crop is planted to the moment a dish hits the table, integrity is maintained and quality is controlled.

Let us begin.

Course 1 Melon Salad

Chilled feta, watercress with bacon garlic scape vinaigrette. A refreshing and mouthwatering way to begin.

Course 2 Merguez

Apple butter meatballs with sweet corn relish. The flavor was out of this world! My favorite of the evening.  The sweet and savory with the crunchiness of the corn was wonderfully delicious.

Course 3 Chilled Heirloom Tomato Soup

Basil puree with fromage foam. The sun had set by our second course and the moon illuminated tee cups of delicious gazpacho-like soup. Brandon’s favorite of the night.

Course 4 New York Strip 

Lightly seared New York strip grilled to a perfect internal-temperature of medium-rare. Accompanied by sweet pepper relish, cheese grits and mushroom medley.  The portion was tender and quite filling.

Course 5 Chocolate Flourless Cake

Blackberries and cream. Not too sweet, not too indulgent, just right to satisfy a sweet tooth and bring the evening to a perfect close.  By the final course, we were full and happy having made new friends with the locals -we were outsiders from Nashville who were embraced and made to feel as welcome as family.  As an exhausted but rather chipper Chef Bomba made his way to greet his happy diners, guests erupted into applause chanting praise for an inventive and impressive menu that was perfectly orchestrated by the Grand Facilitator, Breelyn Bomba!  This husband and wife team are quite extrodinary – power couple for sure.

Long Table photo courtesy of Woven Creations

Where Heart Meets Skill

The sense of community in Jonesborough is unsurpassed.  The coordination required of 50 high school students and community volunteers pacing the courses perfectly while Chef Bomba single handedly prepared over 1,000 platings was the most impressive aspect of the evening.  The food was delicious, the steak cooked to perfection, the event was well thought out, no detail was overlooked for over 200 guests. We ate, drank, and conversed our way into the starry night enjoying five courses under the late-summer moon.  So romantic!

I’m still asking, how’d they pull that off so flawlessly?  I guess when you’ve been living the ‘James-Beard-worthy-chef-life’ and you keep hospitality at the heart of your career, then anything is possible.  On August 19th, every act, every crop, every bite of food in the little town of Jonesborough came from a place of authentic love and organic quality.  An event with this many moving parts only goes off without a hitch when all involved are operating on a higher frequency for a greater purpose.  For those in surrounding cities who feel like roaming historic eastern Tennessee, Jonesborough deserves a spot in your trip planning.  Check out Main Street Café and Catering for upcoming Wine & Tasting Menus this winter 2018 and definitely don’t overlook the annual Farm-to-Table event! More information can be found here.

The Farms Contributing to The Table

  • Apple Brandy Beef of North Wilkesboro,  North Carolina
  • Ashe County Cheese of North Jefferson, NC
  • Bates Family Farm of Jonesville, VA
  • Benton’s Bacon of Madisonville, TN
  • Boone Street Market, of Jonesborough, TN
  • Buffalo Trail Orchard of Greenville, TN
  • Chestnut Ridge Farm of Greenville, TN
  • Clover Creek Farm of Jonesborough, TN
  • Crooked Creek Mills of Old Fort, NC
  • David Thompson Farm of Jonesborough, TN
  • Dominick’s Garden of Jonesborough, TN
  • Duchess Dairy of Rural Retreat, VA
  • Mountain Foods of Asheville, NC
  • Mountain View Bakery of Chuckey, TN
  • Peacock Artisan Bread of Unicoi, TN
  • Ranchito La Chiva of Jonesborough, TN
  • Rogue Harbor Farm of Marshall, NC
  • Salamander Springs Gardens of Marshall, NC
  • Serenity Knoll of Jonesborough, TN
  • Squibb Farms of Limestone, TN
  • Small Batch Farm of Gray, TN
  • Sunset View Farm of Jonesborough, TN
  • Three Graces Dairy of Marshall, NC
  • Ziegenwald Dairy of Gate City, VA

All proceeds go to 501c3 Jonesborough Locally Grown and all donations are tax-deductible.

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