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Farm-to-Table will present Aaron Bertelsen, the vegetable gardener/cook at Great Dixter in Sussex, England. The dinner will be held at 6 p.m. March 23 at the SCC Downtown Campus, 220 E. Kennedy St., Spartanburg.
The farm-to-table movement is an effort to bring locally grown food to the dinner table, restaurants and schools. It is also part of an initiative to get people to eat healthier.
During the program, Bertelsen will hold a lecture on vegetable gardening, along with providing recipes from his newest cookbook “The Great Dixter Cookbook: Recipes from an English Garden.” Bertelsen also will talk about his vegetable gardening duties and his daily adventures at Great Dixter.
Great Dixter was the family home of renowned gardener and author, Christopher Lloyd. Bertelsen will share how he has taken on Lloyd’s legacy as the Great Dixter gardener and house manager of a 15th century manor house and cook.
The landmark is a center for learning for all gardeners worldwide and has several garden symposiums each year. A limited amount of students are taught gardening and vegetable gardening. Bertelsen cooks for all of these events using food from the manor’s vegetable garden.
His lecture will be followed by a question and answer session. After the program, dinner will be served. The meal will be made from recipes from Bertelsen's cookbook.
Bertelsen said, “For me, cooking and gardening go hand in hand. What happens in the kitchen is a celebration of what the garden gives us. Nothing tastes better than fresh vegetables and fruits, in season, cooked simply, to bring out their flavor rather than cover it up.”
Bertelsen has worked at Great Dixter for 10 years and says one lifetime is not enough to learn all there is to know about growing vegetables. However, he said he is confident that he will never get bored trying to learn.
He said the same is true about the kitchen. Bertelsen uses techniques that he learned from his grandfather in New Zealand, and said he learns from the guests and visitors who come to Great Dixter.
When he chooses what to grow in his garden, Bertelsen said taste must always come first. Of course, he has a list of favorites, but there is always room for experiment to keep things exciting. It can be some crazy looking climbing spinach or some dazzling colorful, edible flowers.
Bertelsen loves every part of gardening. The harvesting and the preserving of what comes out of the garden also is very special.
"It is all part of the cycle that makes the vegetable gardens at Great Dixter so important to the life of this place. I am so proud to be a part of it,” he said.
For tickets, visit www.sccsc.edu/FarmToTable or call Kim Fogle at the SCC Foundation at 864-592-4624. Tickets are $60 per person and $100 for a couple. The ticket also includes a signed copy of Bertelsen's cookbook. Couples also will get one signed cookbook. Proceeds will go to the college's horticulture department and also to Great Dixter.
Linda Cobb is a master gardener who lectures, teaches, and does garden design in South Carolina. She can be reached at 864-574-8493 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.mygardenersguide.com.