One of the best parts of social media is it's ability to introduce you to new products, new people, new causes, etc. The community that forms around you is amazing. A few months back, I connected with Paul Sippil, the founder of Community Dining. His vision was to bring together people in the community to support restaurants, farms, venues and more that focus on local and sustainable farming. The events provide an opportunity to find out more about the practices they use and discuss various health and wellness topics. The themes vary from different dietary choices (paleo, vegan, etc) to health and wellness to cooking methods. He hosted a Paleo dinner back in May that I was bummed to miss. Since then, I'd been trying to attend an event and was (finally!) able to make it to one that I was particularly excited about.
This particular event was a Mix & Mingle, farm to table dinner collaboration between Community Dining, Kitchfix, Gunthorp Farms, Gotham Greens and Simple Mills. Aside from being local to Chicago, each of the four brands that partnered in this event focused on sustainability in the food they use or produce, which is important for the environment and the growing population around the world. They provide you with the kind of food that you can feel good about consuming. Take a peek at the menu below!
If you follow me on Instagram, you've most certainly seen me post about Kitchfix. I'm obsessed with every meal, every smoothie, every anything I've gotten from there. A huge part of my love from them is how much they focus on the quality of the food they are putting out there while making sure it's still affordable for the consumer. Josh, the owner and chef, makes everything from scratch and sources everything as locally as possible. Bonus for me is that they make a TON of paleo friendly food. Like the ones you see below from the mix & mingle dinner: duck pizza (made using Siete Food tortillas) and apple chicken bbq wings.
While stuffing my face full of Josh's creations, I got the opportunity to hear more from Greg of Gunthorp Farms (located in Indiana.) He's very passionate about what he does, the quality of what he provides and the sustainability of it all. The animals on this family owned farm are all raised on pasture without the use of antibiotics; part of the diet they have their animals on even uses non-gmo corn that they raise themselves! They process everything through their own USDA inspected plant that located on the farm, allowing them to have control through the whole process. Gunthorp Farms provides meat to Kitchfix and other Chicago customers, like Rick Bayless. Read more about Greg and Gunthrop Farms here!
Here's a shot of the Almond-Chili Chicken, made using Gunthorp Farm's chicken. Below that is an assortment of the Almond-Chili Chicken and the Baked Spaghetti, made using golden beet "angel hair" noodles and bolognese with Gunthorp Farm's pork.
Community Dining also brought two more local companies, Simple Mills and Gotham Greens, round to the party. I was already familiar with both and excited they had a role in this event too. Simple Mills makes some of my absolute favorite paleo friendly products, including baking mixes and almond flour crackers. They use quality ingredients and give transparency of where they come from and how they are harvested on their website. Gotham Greens is a go-to company of mine for fresh produce. They grow produce in both Chicago and New York City in company owned and operated greenhouses. They don't outsource and are always pesticide free. I survive on their Windy City Crunch greens and love using their basil in my dairy free pesto.
I'd already stuffed myself full when Chef Josh brought out cookies near the end of the mix & mingle dinner. I wasn't sure I could eat anything else, but I suffered my way through one or five. It would have been rude not to eat them right?! And by suffered, I mean it was one of the most magical things I've ever tasted. I'm pretty sure they sell similar ones at the Kitchfix location on State St. So I'm going to go reward myself for nothing.