Enjoy Farm-To-Table In The Heart Of Des Moines

The polenta entree, which comes with roasted snap peas, garlic scapes, braised kale, tomato-caper sauce and eggplant relish, at the Wallace Centers of Iowa’s farm-to-table dinners.

Writer: Karla Walsh

After more than a year without farm-to-table dinners at the Wallace Centers of Iowa (756 16th St.), it was a refreshing change of pace to enjoy a sneak peek at their upcoming season of locally sourced, garden-fresh meals last Thursday in advance of their 2021 season, which runs July through December.

Hosted each Thursday in a historic Sherman Hill Victorian home, chef Katie Porter and her team whip up a unique menu each week using as many close-to-home ingredients as possible, including produce from the Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center farm in Orient, meat from Story City Locker and Orr Lamb, dairy from Milton Creamery and Picket Fence Creamery, and more.

Reserve a table in the dining room or on the picturesque wraparound porch (al fresco dining is available for the first time ever for 2021), then choose from a selection of three appetizers, three entrees and a couple of desserts to build your own tasting menu, and BYOB, if desired, to complete the meal.

I opted for the pickled rhubarb salad to start, which came topped with salty almond “croutons” and quark cheese crumbles. For my main, the vegetarian crispy polenta cake with braised kale and tomato-caper sauce made for a dreamy summer dinner. And come dessert, a scoop of uber-refreshing cantaloupe sorbet was a surprisingly lovely partner for a scoop of cardamom ice cream.

As soon as I walked down the steps of the stunning Wallace Centers venue, I was already checking my calendar for my next free Thursday. Perhaps I’ll see you there?

Visit wallace.org to reserve a table online, and here’s an insider secret: Call 515-243-7063 if it appears to be sold out. They may be able to sneak you in, place you on a waiting list or clue you in about the next available seats. Farm-to-Table dinners run through December 2021, and you can also attend Pizza on the Prairie at Wallace Centers’ Orient farm this summer. Learn more here.

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