Award-Winning Recipes from the VT Fresh Network Forum Dinner

VFN Forum Dinner guests enjoying bites by Shelburne Farms. Photo courtesy Vermont Fresh Network & Local Frame Media.

For one special evening in August, farmers and chefs from all across Vermont gather at our Coach Barn to prepare a sensational meal for local food enthusiasts! The 23rd Annual Forum Dinner, served on August 4th, is organized by the Vermont Fresh Network (VFN), a member-based nonprofit with a social mission. This event features and celebrates VFN members, and its grazing farm-to-table dinner is a fundraiser for the Network: all proceeds go to continuing programming that helps bring more Vermont grown and raised food to the table. 

Throughout the evening, guests voted on their “Best Bite,” and we are excited to announce that our Executive Chef John Patterson and Executive Chef Emeritus Jim McCarthy received the 2019 award for their Beet Tomato Tartare and Blue Corn Pancakes!

Shelburne Farms is a member of the Vermont Fresh Network and received their 2019 Gold Barn Honor, awarded to chefs whose commitment to Vermont-grown products is exceptional. We’re proud that 85% of the food we serve is grown in Vermont, with 35% grown onsite and 50% sourced from Vermont farmers and producers.

Tomato Beet Tartare and Rice Crisps. Photo courtesy Vermont Fresh Network & Local Frame Media.

Beet Tomato Tartare

Yields 4 appetizers


Rice Crisps

(to save time, you can use thin crackers instead)

  • 1/4 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 cup tomato leaf water (recipe below)
  • 1 pinch salt

Beet/Tomato mixture

  • 1 pound medium sized beets (about 3), roasted until fork tender and cut to small dice
  • 4 small tomatillo, small dice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup small diced heirloom tomato
  • 1/2 cup ground cherries, halved
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste


For the Rice Crisp

  1. Place a dozen or so tomato leaves of varying sizes in salted blanching water until the stems of the leaves are soft enough to break apart between your fingers. Transfer tomato leaves to ice water to cool. Transfer tomato leaves to blender and process until smooth. Add water as needed; the mixture should be the consistency of a loose soup.  
  2. In a heavy bottom pot, mix rice, tomato leaf liquid and salt. Bring mixture to a simmer and continue to cook until the rice kernels are completely saturated and soft (approximately 25 minutes over medium high heat). Transfer rice mixture to blender and process in small batches until smooth.
  3. Using pan spray, evenly coat cookie sheet and proceed to pour rice mixture evenly onto the cook sheet. Bake at 275°F for about two hours and allow the mixture to dry until it becomes the texture of fruit leather. Alternatively, you can leave the mixture out on a counter for about two days.
  4. Fill high sided pot with 1” neutral oil and heat to 375°F. Tear the rice paper into bite-sized piecesand fry. Allow to drain and cool before handling.

For the Beet/Tomato mixture

  1. Combine all ingredients. Season with lime juice, olive oil and salt.
  2. Spoon beet/tomato mixture onto the rice crisps and serve.

Blue Corn Pancakes. Photo courtesy Vermont Fresh Network & Local Frame Media.

Blue Corn Pancakes

Yeilds 8 pancakes (depending on size)



  • 3/4C butter
  • 3/4C sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1¾C milk
  • 10oz ‘cup for cup’ gluten free flour, by weight (2C, measured)
  • 5oz blue cornmeal, by weight (1C, measured)
  • 4.5t baking powder
  • 1T sea salt
  • 1C corn kernels (optional)



    1. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients- sugar, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Stir briefly to mix.
    2. In a pot, heat the milk and butter just until the butter has melted. Add this to the dried ingredients and stir in the eggs. There is no gluten, so no need to worry about over mixing the batter! Add the corn kernels, if using.
    3. Heat a pan or griddle over medium heat. Grease with a little oil or butter. Ladle the batter into the griddle and cook until the top gets bubbly. Flip over and allow the other side to cook through. Serve warm.

    Chef Emeritus Jim McCarthy cooking at the VFN Forum Dinner. Photo courtesy Vermont Fresh Network & Local Frame Media.

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