There’s still space at the table this weekend in Avoca for the western Iowa community’s annual “Longest Table” event.
Decorated tables are placed end-to-end-to-end down the middle of Main Street so everyone can eat at once. Amber Mohr, executive director of Avoca Main Street, says the five-course meal was created by Chef James Edward Calkins at the Milk & Honey Restaurant in Harlan. Mohr says everything Calkins uses is locally procured.
The meal includes: hors d’oeurves, apple ricotta crostini; salad with roasted vegetables; curried cauliflower soup; a grits & pork entree with braised greens, and for dessert, a baked apple with caramel pastry cream and granola. The event is designed to celebrate the town’s agricultural heritage, to enhance community fellowship, and to recognize the farmers who provide local produce for the seasonal Avoca Main Street Farmers Market.
Mohr says the event is scheduled for Saturday afternoon and it’s dovetailing with another popular attraction. “It’ll be right on the heels of the Southwest Iowa Art Tour so if you’re going to be in Avoca and want to end your tour there, make sure you purchase your tickets at Brown Paper Tickets.com,” Mohr says. “Look for AMS Longest Table, and Happy Hour’s at four at the local Legion, and then the meal will be held outside starting at 5 p.m.”
The Longest Table was first held in 2016. While COVID-19 impacted many restaurants as well as this event, Mohr says they were able to come up with a solution to still bring a taste of unique food to area residents. “We did have a multicourse meal for two which was packaged to go. We had that available outside of our courthouse building during the Southwest Iowa Art Tour, which was also held outside that year for safety reasons,” Mohr says. “So, people were able to come and pick up a meal. They were able to offer free will donations or bring donations for the food pantries in Walnut and Avoca.”
At Saturday’s event, acoustic musician Paul Hart will provide entertainment. The event was recognized in 2020 by the Iowa Tourism Awards for “Best Rural Event,” and in 2018 by the Main Street Iowa Awards as “Exceptional Special Event.”
(By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)