Photos by Jody Dole

Our story

In 2007, Jonathan Rapp of River Tavern Restaurant in Chester, Connecticut, Chip Dahlke of Ashlawn Farm in Lyme, and fellow chef Drew McLachlan of Chester CT created Dinners at the Farm, a series of benefit dinners celebrating Connecticut's local farms, food and community as a way to generate awareness of the importance and vitality of our local farming community and the delicious, wholesome and abundant food it provides us. Recreating a sense of connection to farming, cooking and eating is what Dinners at the Farm is all about.

Each of the dinners highlights the richness of our local traditions of farming and fishing and the often forgotten value of eating fresh, vibrant food that was just harvested by a dedicated farmer you know and trust. The multi-course feasts are cooked fresh that day off the back of our signature, red, vintage cook truck–a 1955 Ford F-600.

Dinners at the Farm also strengthens our community by helping to raise funds for local agricultural and humanitarian non-profit organizations. Over the past ten seasons, Dinners at the Farm has fed over 10,000 guests at 100+ dinners, donated $150,000 and directly purchased more than $200,000 worth of food and wine from Connecticut producers. In addition, our project has generated extensive local and national media coverage. Plus, Dinners at the Farm was awarded the 2008 PathFinder Award for their support of local agriculture. All combined, Dinners at the Farm has made a significant contribution to celebrating and promoting Connecticut Grown products.

Some of our current and past beneficiaries are: Connecticut Farmland Trust, Slow Food Connecticut, CitySeed, Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries, Working Lands Alliance, Region 4 Schools, The New Connecticut Farmers Alliance and the Stanton Davis Homestead among others.

Working together we have created an event that helps support our farms, farmers and community. We hope you will join us.

Chip Dahlke with good friend  Barbara Ballard 

(Photo by Jody Dole)


(photo by Jody Dole)


The Dinners at the Farm team at White Gate Farm

Drew McLachlan

Drew is a co-founder of Dinners at the Farm and a tireless advocate of healthy cooking and eating. Drew’s professional experience took shape in the food forward city of Portland, Oregon where he worked as a chef for the highly acclaimed Pastaworks owned by Peter deGarmo, one of the founders of Slow Food USA. Drew currently resides in Chester CT.

Chip Dahlke

Chip Dahlke is the owner and farmer of Ashlawn Farm in Lyme, Conn. and is a founding member of Dinners at the Farm. Chip helped save his family farm in 1996 by selling the development rights to the state of Connecticut. His 100 acre farm is the headquarters for his wife Carol’s successful coffee roasting business, Ashlawn Farm Coffee. The farm is also home to the popular Lyme Farmers Market and was the scene of the first Dinners at the Farm in 2007. In fact, Chip built the 30 or so farm dinner benches. He’s also partnered with his good friend Nunzio Corsino of Four Mile River Farm to pasture his heard of cattle at Ashlawn. Chip and Carol are examples of people who have used ingenuity and creative thinking in keeping their farmland viable and in the family. Visit Ashlawn Farm for more information.

Our Founding Members

While our founding members played an important role in the first year’s creation of Dinners at the Farm, both remain with us in spirit but have continued on to other equally exciting paths.

Meet The Chefs & Our Team

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