FARMFEST TAB -- Community groups will dish up food

Dollars will help local organizations

REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. -- Farmfest; visitors can help non-profit groups raise funds for their organizations while eating everything from beef, pork and turkey sandwiches to homemade pie, kettlecorn and ice cream.

Farmfest and area groups have teamed up to offer a variety of food options. Coke is the official drink of the farm show.

St. Raphael's Catholic Church in Springfield offers breakfast, lunch and snacks in between, said Marie Gervais, who organizes the booth each year.

The stand's breakfast menu includes scrambled eggs, sausage, homemade cinnamon rolls and blueberry muffins.


Beginning at 10:30 a.m. each day, the menu changes to beef commercials, hamburgers, barbecues, onion rings, cheese curds, homemade pie and ice cream novelties.

"We've been at Farmfest since it started at Gilfillan,'' Gervais said. "It's been very successful for us.''

Gervais starts by 5 a.m. in the St. Raphael's church kitchen. She does the majority of the cooking. Meat is started the night before and sliced at 5 a.m. for the trip down the road to Farmfest. Gervais also bakes the homemade apple, blueberry and cherry pies the night before they're served. Farmfest visitors eat at least 80 each year. Cinnamon rolls are baked the morning they're served.

Money raised at Farmfest goes into the St. Raphael's general fund for church renovation costs. The church is raising money for an elevator to make the facility more handicapped accessible. The church operates a grade school and Little Angel's preschool.

Gervais is in charge of a crew of 120.

"We try to pick up a few more workers each year,'' she said. "We enjoy working there. You meet so many people. It's like a small town out there. You work like heck for five days and then it's over. It's really been fun.''

Gervais said she's grateful to everyone who has supported the church stand, booth 127, over the years and hopes people continue to support it.

Morgan's St. Michael's Catholic Church will be selling turkey and beef commercials, hot beef sandwiches, barbecued pork sandwiches, creamed turkey sandwiches, homemade sauerkraut and brats, hot dogs and chips. For dessert there are pies and cookies. St. Michael's food stand is located on Sixth Street, right in the middle of Farmfest grounds.


Deb Kerkhoff, who organizes the stand each year, estimates that 100 people help out.

"We have elderly ladies who make all the pies,'' Kerkhoff said. "We have a gentleman who takes care of the meat. We have drivers busing dishes and bringing food between Farmfest and the church in Morgan. We have a man who makes the sauerkraut. Everyone is really good at helping. We have a lot of fun.''

St. Michael's booth operates all three days of Farmfest, but also has a limited menu on Monday for exhibitors who are setting up their booths.

Money raised at the St. Michael's booth is used to support the church and elementary school.

This will be the last year Lutheran Brotherhood Valley Branch 8477 will have a booth at Farmfest. A merger between Lutheran Brotherhood and Aid Association for Lutherans will create a new organization, the details of which are still being worked out, said Ellsworth Sather, a Franklin farmer and president of the organization, which has members from Franklin, Fairfax and Morton.

Lutheran Brotherhood has had a booth at Farmfest since the second year the show moved to Gilfillan.

The first $2,000 raised at Farmfest is matched one-to-one by Lutheran Brotherhood. Money raised goes to the fire departments in Franklin, Fairfax and Morton. This year it's Franklin's turn to receive the funds.

Lutheran Brotherhood, booth 828, serves butterfly pork chops on a bun, roast beef sandwiches, doughnuts, coffee and soft drinks.


In addition to Lutheran Brotherhood members, firefighters also volunteer at the booth. Sather estimates it takes 50 people to run the booth throughout the show. The booth is located in the northeast corner of Farmfest grounds near the Caterpillar exhibit.

Sather estimates that Lutheran Brotherhood Valley Branch has raised $200,000 to meet needs in Franklin, Fairfax in Morton during its 20-year history.

The Redwood County 4-H Federation, booth 425, enlists the help of three 4-H clubs and the county 4-H ambassadors to staff its booth, said Kami Hastad, regional 4-H youth development extension educator in Redwood Falls. The 4-H clubs serve brats with sauerkraut, hot dogs, barbecues, chips and pop.

The proceeds from the stand go back to the clubs that run it. 4-H ambassadors also get some of the proceeds for leadership development projects.

"The 4-H members really enjoy working at the booth,'' Hastad said. "They know a lot of people out there. In some ways, it's like having two county fairs in the county.''

Ron Lindeen, service coordinator for the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association, figures his organization's serves some of the best roast beef sandwiches at Farmfest. He co-chairs the association's foodstand, booth 513N, with Harvey Wollum, Canby.

"We raise beef, and we promote it,'' Lindeen said. "We cook our beef right on site.''

In addition to beef sandwiches, they sell baked beans, chips, soft drinks and milk products.


"We have 20 local chapters throughout the state, and we call on them to provide help in serving beef sandwiches at Farmfest,'' Lindeen said. "We promote beef and raise a few dollars. The money we raise we put back into beef promotion.''

Lindeen estimates about 100 people work at the food stand, booth 513N, throughout Farmfest. The volunteers come from a 160-mile radius.

State Beef Queen Kathleen Glady, Wycoff, will be at the booth Tuesday and Wednesday.

Other Farmfest food vendors are: Gilbertson Farms, booth 9; Gobbler Concessions, booth 313; Kettle Korn, Gate 2; Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, booth 9; New Ulm Farm City Hub Club, Gate 2; Redwood County American Dairy Association, SR-E; and Schwans, Forum Tent.

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