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Summer savory: Mark your calendar for these local food experiences

The growing season is finally here. With farmers markets opening up everywhere these next few weeks, we’d like to offer these local experiences that combine food and farm.

Hurd Orchards | 17260 (Rt. 104) Holley, NY | hurdorchards.com | (585) 638-8838

An all-time favorite is Hurd Orchards in Holley, and its unbelievable “Martha Stewart-eque” dining experiences hosted in the 200-plus year old family barn.

Guests walking to the barn for lunch.

Events have already started for the 2016 season and run through December. They fill up fast, so call to make your reservations as early as possible. (Non-refundable reservations are required for all programs.)

Held in the charming barn, the luncheons, teas and tastings are themed and hosted by the lovely owner of Hurd Orchards, Amy Machamer, and her delightful mother Sue Hurd Machamer.

Sue Machamer (standing) welcomes guests before a luncheon. (Photo Michael Majewski)

“My mother and I love our farm. We love what it means to stand in a cherry orchard in July with blue sky overhead,” said Machamer. “We love the sense that each year and each season is fresh and vibrant and alive with newness. Yet none of what we do is new at all to any of our ancestors, and all those who farmed before us.”

In March, Hurd Orchards received the Bayer Produce Innovation Award at the AgVocacy Conference that was held in New Orleans. The national award recognized Hurd Orchards as a leader for a farm “that aims to introduce guests to the real world of fruit growing.”

Hurd Orchards began its program of hosting guests and sharing the life of fruit growers in 1985. Last year it hosted 5,000 guests to its luncheons, tastings, and teas in addition to classes (like holiday wreath making) and children’s events.

The dishes Hurd serves utilize the farm’s own fruits and vegetables, as well as preserved fruits, jams and jellies that are made on site, and for sale in the farm market and online.

The farm gift store features a sundry of items, including preserved fruits, jellies, jams, apple sauces and more from the farm.

A few of the many highlights of this year’s events include Strawberry Shortcake Luncheon (June 15), Blueberries Up, Blueberries Down (July 13), Cherries Jubilee (July 21), Summer Pie Luncheon (Aug. 10), Peaches & Cream (Sept. 7) and in October, many apple pie days!

Other luncheons incorporate a flower theme with food, like Peonies & Old Roses (June 16), a zinnia filled Butterfly Garden Luncheon (Aug. 24) and a Dahlia Garden Luncheon (Sept. 14).

Hurd Orchards grows all the spectacular flowers you'll see at the luncheon or in the farm store. (Photo by Emeri Krawczyk)

Most events fall Wednesdays through Fridays at 12:30 p.m. For non-work days, look for tastings and teas online like the Father’s Day event (June 19) and Mid Summer Night’s Tasting (Aug. 5-Aug. 6).

For the holidays, find dates and times listed online for the Thanksgiving Tastings (November) and Christmas Teas (December).

If you simply want an impromptu visit, we suggest late September and October, when Hurd Orchards offers lunches in the barn with chicken potpies, quiche, warm breads and fruit pies on Saturday and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. No reservations need.

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Chautauqua Farm, Food & Drink

On June 10, the Athenaeum Hotel at the Chautauqua Institution will host a Farm-To-Table Dinner. The five-course dinner starts at 6 p.m., but first have some hors d’oeuvres at 5:30 and a drink (cash bar). The locally sourced dinner will match food with a local beer. While you won’t be trekking to a farm, the event will allow you to dress your best and learn about locally sourced food. Cost is $100, gratuity and taxes included. Call (716) 357-4444 to reserve a place at the table.

On June 11, take a trip back to your past as a refined adult. Cabana Sam’s in Sunset Bay will host a five-course dinner beginning at 6 p.m. on the patio. The meal is paired with wines from Willow Creek Winery, located in Silver Creek. Watch the sunset on the lake (and your youth). Cost is $45 plus gratuity. Call (716) 934-9953.

On June 11, Green Heron Growers will host a Farmer’s Lunch & Pasture Walk from 2 to 5 p.m. The late spring inspired meal includes the farm’s organically grown chickens, vegetables and shiitake mushrooms. A farm tour is included so wear the right shoes! Cost is $45 per person (plus a $3.50 fee), and includes a three-course meal. Call (617) 690.9477.

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Becker Farms for Dad’s Day

On Father’s Day (June 19), Becker Farms will host its Strawberry Extravaganza. While it might not be up Dad’s alley, Mom will love the Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria. Free wine and beer tastings for the fathers.

Specialty drinks served in Becker Brewing will include a Strawberry Crush Mimosa, White Strawberry-Lemon Sangria and Strawberry-Rhubarb Shandy. A chicken barbecue is planned from noon to 4 p.m., along with strawberry desserts. For those feeling industrious, U-pick strawberries from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Aroma Farm Dinners at Oles Family Farm

Tables are set for the Aroma dinner at Oles Family Farm.

One again, the popular Aroma Farm Dinners put on by the Trattoria Aroma Restaurant group will continue in 2016 with three dates: Aug. 20, Sept. 10 and Oct. 1 and include pick up and drop off at the Buffalo and Williamsville locations. The multi-course dinners are $167 (includes service fee). It’s a full day, with pick up at 1 p.m. for travel to Oles Family Farm in Alden.

Started in 2009, the meal incorporates Oles Farms ingredients as well as those from other farms. In addition to the multi-course meal, included in the price are local craft beers, local and international wines and live music. (The dinner is full blown with linens, silverware and glassware too!) Drop off is by 8 p.m.

Guests have grabbed a glass of wine and followed Dan Oles into the fields.

Dinners are held outdoors, but will move to the family barn in the event of inclement weather. A tour of the farm is led by Dan Oles (so wear the right kind of footwear!). Find out that Brussels sprouts grow on a stalk or the many colors of Swiss chard as you sip wine in the fields. It’s a great way to get up close to your food.

Purchase tickets online at aromamainst.com and click on “Farm Dinners.”

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