Diners and Farmers Break Bread at Montana Long Table

 
A scene from last year's Montana Long Table event.
A scene from last year's Montana Long Table event.

The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana, is hosting its third annual Montana Long Table event Saturday, June 21, offering guests, farmers, ranchers, and purveyors the opportunity to enjoy a farm-fresh meal together while dining outdoors in view of the Big Sky Country’s surrounding mountains and meadows.

Set in the wilderness of western Montana, Paws Up is housed on a 37,000-acre working ranch. The dinner, served at one gigantic long table, “is a great way for guests to come together with local purveyors,” says Kevin Kapalka, Paws Up food and beverage director. “We are proud of Montana and our property, and this is an opportunity to show them both off a little bit.”

“We started with one event the first year, and now, due to their popularity, have expanded the series to three,” notes John Romfo, the director of sales and marketing. The two additional events are planned for July 12 and Aug. 23.

The dinners give Paws Up guests a taste of “a traditional farm meal, where everyone eats together, and you sit next to your neighbor and talk,” comments Kapalka. “It’s like a big family get together.”

Adds Kapalka, “It also gives us the opportunity to show off what we can get locally and sustainably, to offer some of the naturally raised products in our area.”

Not only are their products part of the meal, the purveyors are there as well. “The farmers come to the dinner, the brew masters come, the cheese makers are there,” says Romfo. “They are sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, elbow-to-elbow with the guests during the meal.”

Before dinner is served, as guests gather outside during cocktail service, the purveyors set up an area where they showcase their products. “We call it a farmer’s market,” says Romfo. “It’s a nice way to start the event. Guests can walk up to the purveyors and introduce themselves, children are playing in the meadow overlooking the ranch. It’s like going back to the farm. The guests and the purveyors both really enjoy it.”

The Montana Long Table concept started as a way to celebrate, during the fleeting summer months, the type of food and beverage served by the resort all season long. “We wanted to feature all the resources that we pull together from a culinary standpoint,” says Kapalka. The dinner is prepared by executive chef Ben Jones.

Twenty-four 8-foot tables are lined up—with one break in the middle to accommodate waitstaff—and placed on the resort’s long driveway, nestled between a large meadow on one side and pine trees—which provide shade—on the other.

Known for providing a luxury experience, the resort doesn’t slack off for these events, which are presented in white-tablecloth service, with fine glassware and china. Some of the food is served family style, some plated. “What we’ve done in the past is serve chicken—which everyone will eat—as the first dinner entrée, and then do fish, such as trout, and lamb Russian service with a beautiful tray presentation,” explains Kapalka. “This works really well for us.”

Purveyors, all from Montana, will include:

  • Amaltheia Organic Dairy (goat cheese)
  • Rockport Hutterite Colony (organic chicken, lettuces, spinach, root vegetables, onion)
  • Blue Willow Farm (produce)
  • Summit Beverage Company
  • Montana Natural Lamb
  • Le Petit Outre Bakery (artisan baked goods)
  • Blacksmith Brewing
  • Montgomery Distillery

By Joann Whitcher