Rachel Dawsey

North Agriplex Executive Director Rachel Dawsey packs up fresh vegetables in April at the Cullman Grown Drive Up Market held at the agriplex.

This year will be different for the North Alabama Agriplex’s annual Harvest to Home fundraising dinner and silent auction. Like other events affected by the coronavirus pandemic, there won’t be an on-site get-together for the nonprofit’s 6th annual fundraiser. But the Agriplex is shifting things up to make sure dinner will still be served this year — even if it means participants will need to do some of the preparation themselves. 

This time out, the Agriplex is inviting the community to sample the flavors of locally-grown food by ordering meal prep boxes specially curated by local Farm-to-Table chef Braxton Taylor, head chef at Dreher’s Cocktail Bar & Restaurant in Cullman. 

Each box comes complete with pre-portioned, locally-sourced ingredients along with Taylor’s recipe on how to prepare everything inside, and includes all the fixings for a main course of Pan Steak Argentina and Cornbread Ratatouille. Other than basics like salt, pepper, butter, and olive oil, each box has everything you’ll need from start to finish. The boxes will feature apples from Steele Orchard, beef filets from Brickyard meats, tomatoes from Champion farms, and more foods from local growers. 

For beginning chefs, or for those for whom a simple recipe isn’t enough, Taylor will also walk guests through the process with a video, color photos, and easy-to-follow paper instructions. Each $50 box serves two people, and will be available for pre-order beginning Sept. 4 and continuing through Sept. 13. The Agriplex will have the boxes ready to pass along on Sept. 17, opening a drive-through pickup at its 1714 Tally Ho Street SW office.

The nonprofit’s silent auction is going online this year, with items going up for bidding at www.agriplex.org on Sept. 13 & 14, and ready to pick up at the Agriplex on Sept. 15 and 17. As in years past, there’s a wide array of unique items to choose from, including gardening and farming goodies, plants, original works of art, gift cards to local businesses, and more. Visit the North Alabama Agriplex Facebook page for previews of silent auction items. 

Funds raised through the annual event help advance the Agriplex’s  mission of promoting Cullman County’s agricultural heritage through educational programs and community outreach. Programs include sampling produce at local farms, hosting workshops and meetings for organizations across North Alabama, renting facilities for family gatherings, supporting school gardens throughout the region, and spreading the excitement about growing your own food. New for this year is the Agriplex’s COVID relief work through farmer support, grant funding, virtual education, and more. 

The 6th annual Harvest to Home Dinner is sponsored by Alabama Farm Credit. Meal-prep boxes have been donated by West Rock, and the event’s printing sponsor is Cullman Electric Cooperative’s Sprout Fiber Internet service. 

DATES TO REMEMBER 

Sept. 4 - Harvest to Home Online Silent Auction opens for bids; Meal Box Pre-Orders taken starting at 9 a.m. at www.agriplex.org

Sept. 13 - Last day to bid on Silent Auction and Pre-Order Meal Boxes.  Website closes at 5 p.m. 

Sept. 15 - Early Silent Auction pickup at the Agriplex from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Sept. 17 - Harvest to Home Meal Prep Box pickup, plus Silent Auction pickup, at the Agriplex from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

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