Chefs Robert Simms and Chris Gibson of Tupelo Honey Greenville plan to serve a version of this pan seared coastal filet of fish “blackened style” over Carolina dirty rice for the third course. Photo by Will Crooks / Greenville Journal

It’s not always just about the food.

While guests of the fifth annual Mill Village Farms Sunday Supper will dine on some of the best culinary offerings in the Upstate, about 50 at-risk youth currently employed by the nonprofit farm operation stand to benefit from the annual fundraiser.

“The Sunday Supper is incredibly important by providing financial support for Mill Village Farms and our youth-employment programs,” says Dan Weidenbenner, executive director of Mill Community Ministries. “Funds raised help Mill Village Farms empower and employ at-risk youth to learn valuable skills for a prosperous transition into adulthood. Youth at Mill Village Farms benefit by receiving mentoring (and) classroom and hands-on experiences to learn career, personal finance, and wellness skills. Youth are also employed to serve their community by growing and distributing fresh and healthy fruit and vegetables.”

This local farm-to-fork experience in the style of the James Beard Sunday Suppers will be held from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 28, and feature chef Joe Trull from Grits & Groceries, chef Jeff Kelly from Stella’s Southern Brasserie, chef Alex Castro from Larkin’s on the River, and chefs Robert Simms and Chris Gibson of Tupelo Honey Greenville.

The venue, Larkin’s Catering & Events’ newly opened “L” at 211 E. Broad St., will be transformed into a lush garden party experience with live entertainment, auction, and locally sourced cuisine with cocktail and wine pairings by Larkin’s sommelier Bruce Wise.

Mill Village Farms, a 501(c)(3) part of Mill Community Ministries, began in the spring of 2012 with an urban farm model targeting mill-village communities designated by the federal Department of Agriculture as food deserts. Their concept is simple: build small, sustainable, organically managed farms that promote holistic development in local communities.

The nonprofit includes the Sullivan Street Farm at 28 Bolt St.; Serenity Farm on Saluda Dam Road which includes a more-than half-acre garden; their largest farm to date, Minnie Farm in the Staunton Bridge Community off White Horse Road; and a new produce cart set up on the corner of Richardson Street and McBee Avenue in downtown Greenville.

This year, the farms will employ about 50 at-risk youth from the surrounding communities, and the Sunday Supper benefit makes that possible.

“The funds will help support both garden and youth-employment stipends,” Weidenbenner says. “One example is funds will be raised to help provide employment stipends for at-risk youth to have a first-time paid job opportunity with Mill Village Farms.”

To create an event truly showcasing what Mill Village Farms provides, some of the current youth employees will work the event while a few others have gone on to work for the restaurants represented. Additionally, the farms will supply as much of the ingredients for the dinner as possible.

Fifth Annual Mill Village Farms Sunday Supper
When: 6-9 p.m. Oct. 28
Where: Larkin’s “L” Venue, 211 E. Broad St.
Tickets: $125,

Menu to include:

First Course
Passed hors d’oeuvres – chef collaboration

Fresh corn-cake “Arepa” with American shrimp; Beef tataki with crispy rice grit cake and crumbled pork rind; Dehydrated pear chip topped with prosciutto, Clemson Blue Cheese, and local honey

Second Course
Chef Jeff Kelly

Tyger River Salad

Third Course
Chefs Robert Simms and Chris Gibson

Pan Seared Coastal Filet of Fish “Blackened Style” 

Fourth Course
Chef Alex Castro

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Fifth Course
Chef Joe Trull

Sweet Potato Apple Cornmeal Cobbler 


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