BELFIELD, N.D. - It wouldn't seem like many people in western North Dakota would be too far removed from agriculture. But at the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Committee's second annual Banquet in a Field: Western Style event, there were a few people "in shock and awe" at the foods made from crops grown at nearby farms, says Christina Jorgensen, chamber executive director.

Introducing people to modern agriculture was the purpose of Banquet in a Field, held July 9 at Arrow K Farms near Belfield, N.D. Approximately 130 people attended the event. The Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Committee modeled Banquet in a Field after an event of the same name put on by CommonGround North Dakota in the Fargo area. Jorgensen says facilitating outreach is the main goal.

 Western Style visited different stations to learn about commodities grown in the area.
Western Style visited different stations to learn about commodities grown in the area.
"The main purpose of Banquet in a Field is to really put a face to agriculture for people who maybe don't know where their food comes from," Jorgensen says.

Attendees sampled appetizers at commodity stations that featured crops grown in the area, listened to live music from Jessie Veeder and talked to local farmers and ranchers.

The food, prepared by Lady J's Catering and NDSU BBQ Boot Camp, included a soybean salad with sunflower oil & red wine dressing; barley pilaf, corn & zucchini sautéed in canola oil; beef tri-tip and grape zinfandel cake served with honey whipped cream & ice cream.

 Western Style featured locally-grown ingredients.
Western Style featured locally-grown ingredients.
During the dinner, the evening's hosts, Greg and Stacey Kessel with their children Jade, Grant, Garett and Griffin shared the story of their farm, including how they've taken barley from their very own field to the pint in front of guests.

"We think it's really important to tell people our story. To tell our customers, our consumers where their food comes from. And to know it's a safe product. At Banquet In A Field: Western Style, guests are able to see that we are a family who has taken a product from field to table, or in our case, pint." Jade Kessel, of Arrow K Farms, says.

 Western Style included North Dakota-grown ingredients.
Western Style included North Dakota-grown ingredients.
Jorgensen says the chamber already is planning for another Banquet in a Field for next year.