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What a Night! Annual Forum Dinner 2023

August 11, 2023

Wow, what a night! Those who regularly attend the Annual Forum Dinner at Shelburne Farms know that it's always fun - it's hard to have a bad time in a beautiful historic building on the banks of Lake Champlain, surrounded by some of the finest local food Vermont chefs and producers have to offer. But this year's event, on Sunday, August 6, was just fantastic. We couldn't have asked for better weather, and we had an amazing group of participants, many of whom had participated in the event before, as well as 9 new chefs and 11 new specialty food producer participants.

That's not to say the event went off without a hitch - chefs in the West Hall beautifully pivoted their food prep when we experienced a power outage, and participants may have noticed a bat flying around the barn toward the end of the evening - but we're so grateful to each and every one of our participating chefs, artisans, farmers, beverage makers, sponsors, VFN staff members, board members, the Shelburne Farms staff, silent auction donors, prize donors, photographers, volunteers, and guests who made this year's dinner such a memorable and magical evening.

The Annual Forum Dinner is Vermont Fresh Network's largest fundraiser, allowing us to continue our work strengthening Vermont's food system year round.

Each year, Forum attendees sample through the vast offerings at the Forum Dinner and select their favorites - the Best Bite & Best Sip. They are ALL delicious, but these are the creations the people chose this year:

Best Bite:

Wake Robin served the crowd favorite with Shishito pepper stuffed with smoked tamari mushrooms and garnished with pickled radishes and habanero lemongrass honey.

Honorable Mentions go to first time Forum participants: Cha Cha Garna and Luiza's Homemade with Love

Best Sip:

Mad River Distillers won the Best Sip award for their Blueberry Mojito made with fresh blueberry syrup and Mad River Distiller's Vanilla Rum.

Honorable Mentions go to Bar Hill for their Strawberry Bee's Knees and the Tipsy Trout for their mocktails.

Thank you to Narin M. Knives and Simon Pearce for generously donating our Best Bite and Best Sip prizes!

View the full 2023 menu here.

Thank you to our chef and producer participants:

14th Star Brewing | 5th Quarter Butcher Shop | Alpine Hall / Lodge at Spruce Peak | Aqua ViTea | Artesano and KIS Kombucha | Babette's Table | Birch Hill | Black Flannel Brewing | Black Flannel Brewing & Distilling Co. | Black River Produce | Blake Hill Preserves | Brio Coffeeworks | Burlington Beer Co. | Caledonia Spiritis / Bar Hill | Cha Cha Garna | Deep City | Ecobean | Eden Specialty Ciders | Ellison Estate Vineyard | Foam Brewers | Gifford Memorial Hospital | Green Mountain Peanut Butter | Highland Lodge | Honey Road | Lake Champlain Chocolates | Luiza's Homemade | Mad River Distillers | Mad River Taste Place | Maple Wind Farm | Mares Apiaries | O Bread | Palatial Farms & Confections | Pitchfork Pickle | Red Wagon Plants | Runamok | Shacksbury Cider | Shelburne Farms Cheese | Shelburne Farms Inn | Shelburne Vineyard / Iapetus | Shrubbly | Small Oven Pastries | Snow Farm | Sobremesa | Sodexo | Stowe Cider | The Essex | The Tillerman | Tipsy Trout / Lodge at Spruce Peak | Trenchers Farmhouse | Vermont Cider Lab | Vermont Creamery | Wake Robin | Windjammer Restaurant | Wolfpeach | Woodstock inn & Resort

Silent Auction Donors: Adventure Dinner at Killeen Farm, Bistro de Margot, Blake Hill Preserves, Burlington Beer Co., Caledonia Spirits, Ecobean, Eden Specialty Ciders, The Essex Resort and Spa, The Farmhouse Group, Green Mountain Peanut Butter, Highland Lodge, Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain, Honey Road, King Arthur Flour Baking Co., Mad River Distillers, Mares Apiaries, Norwich Inn, Red Wagon Plants, The Reluctant Panther,  Shelburne Vineyard, Sisters of Anarchy, Snow Farm Vineyard and Winery, Sobremesa, Stowe Cider, Swift House Inn, Wolfpeach, Woodstock Inn & Resort

A special thanks to:

  • The Cordials for providing our musical entertainment for the evening
  • New England Food and Farm Photography
  • Cirque De Fuego for providing our end of evening performance

And thank you to our Forum sponsors!

Gold Sponsors: Black River Produce, Vermont Farm to Plate, The Essex Resort & Spa, Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets

Silver Sponsors: Efficiency Vermont, Eat Vermont, Farm Credit East, University of Vermont Extension, Wake Robin

Bronze Sponsors: City Market/Onion River Co-op, New England Food & Farm Photography, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Vermont Creamery, Vermontijuana

Our host for 25 years: Shelburne Farms

Thank you to Flavor Plate for donating their time and effort to the design and co-development of our website.