Dexter is all in. Gordon Hall is ready. And local farmers are busy planting, growing, and harvesting.


Because the 4thannual 5 Healthy Towns Farm to Table Fabulous Feast is less than two months away!

Held this year on Sunday, September 22, at Dexter’s historic Gordon Hall, the event benefits each of the markets located in the five towns that are a part of the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation’s service area: Chelsea, Dexter, Grass Lake, Manchester, and Stockbridge.


This year’s chair is Anne Young, manager of the Dexter Winter Marketplace. Following in the footsteps of the chairpersons for the first three feasts that were held in Chelsea, Grass Lake, and Manchester, Young is excited to lead a committee that is made up of residents from each of the five towns.

While she first found it overwhelming due to the number of details that need to be organized and dovetailed, she said the committee has “really stepped up to the plate to keep everything moving along.”

Young is most excited about the location, Gordon Hall, which was built in the 1840s by Dexter’s founder, Judge Samuel William Dexter. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1958.

“I love that Gordon Hall was willing and able to host our event. It’s the perfect location since it’s so important in the history and the beginnings of Dexter,” Young said, noting that the Dexter Historical Society will be offering tours of the hall.

Young began recruiting chefs in February. The line up includes chefs from Dexter’s Fresh Forage, Dexter Pub, and The Cedars, Chelsea’s Smokehouse 52 and Silver Maples, and Manchester’s Two Black Sheep. Closing out the evening’s menu is Dexter’s own Paul Cousins, who will prepare an American classic raspberry themed pastry featuring berries from Berry Hill Farm and Mooville ice cream from Dexter Creamery.

Ashley Tomasi, Coalition Coordinator for the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation, has been a member of each of the dinner’s planning committees.

She has also seen the event grow from 2016’s inaugural dinner in Chelsea that set the standard to the equally fabulous events in Grass Lake in 2017 and Manchester in 2018.

“The community collaboration the event brings about annually is as amazing as the event itself,” Tomasi said. “It is wonderful to see all five communities come together for such a great cause of promoting fresh local food. The event has gotten quite a following across the communities. It is fun to see how each community makes the event their own and showcases their community each year.”

She adds that the event also helps to increase awareness about the markets, vendors, and all of the great things they have to offer. Funds help the markets with operational costs and extend the programming opportunities like music and children’s events.

Tomasi said that one of the goals of the Foundation is to encourage people to eat better, which in turn helps ensure better long-term health outcomes. Through the farmers markets, people in the five communities have greater access to fresh, local foods at affordable prices.

She added that the markets also provide a great opportunity for folks to socialize and get connected to their community, offering music and other events that encourage people to come together.

“We’ve found that our communities love their farmers markets and the Foundation is happy to support the markets and the annual Farm to Table event.”


WHAT: 5 Healthy Towns Farm to Table Fabulous Feast, a 7-course dinner!

WHEN: Sunday, September 22, 2019, at 4 pm

WHERE: Gordon Hall, 8341 Island Lake Rd, Dexter, Michigan

HOW MUCH: Tickets are $50. Available online at Eventbrite (link below) or at the Dexter Wellness Center, and Farmers Markets in Chelsea, Stockbridge, Dexter, Grass Lake, and Manchester.


For more information about the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation or the Farmers Markets, visit





  • Lone Oak Vineyard Estate & Tootsie’s Brewery and Dexter Cider Mill.


Appetizer Courses

  • Bruschetta by Chef Samuel @ Fresh Forage (Baguettes from La Baguette and Owl Hollow Bakery)
  • Caprese Salad by Chef Cheryl @ Two Black Sheep (Fresh Mozzarella from Fluffy Bottom Creamery)
  • Spring Rolls by Chef Cheryl @ Two Black Sheep


First Courses

  • Greens Salad by Chef Samuel @ Fresh Forage
  • Seasonal Soup by Chef Thomas Zigman @ Silver Maples of Chelsea


Main Course & Sides

  • Smokehouse Barbeque by Chef Phil @ Smokehouse 52
  • And Barbeque Baked Beans by Chef Mark @ The Cedars
  • And Southern Style Potato Salad by Chef Mark @ The Cedars
  • And Pesto dish by Chef Samuel @ Fresh Forage
  • Vegetarian Option-Chef Miguel @ Dexter Pub


The Grand Finale – Dessert!

  • Raspberry pastry by Chef Paul Cousins (Raspberries from Berry Hill Farm and Mooville ice cream from Dexter Creamery)




In January 2016, a Facebook post about a Jonesborough, Tennessee, Farm to Table event was posted, shared, liked, and reposted like crazy by community members in each of the 5 Healthy Towns — Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Stockbridge and Grass Lake.

Before we knew it, we had a committee, led by Shawn Personke and community members from each of the 5 Healthy Towns. While they knew they weren’t “reinventing the wheel,” they did want to make the dinner equally beautiful, meaningful, and cool, and one that reflected the host city’s personality. They wanted the dinner to raise funds for all 5 Markets, build bonds between the communities, and support at least two of the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation’s pillars: “Eat Better” and “Connect with Others.”  

And on August 21, 2016, the first 5 Healthy Towns Farm to Table Fabulous Feast was held in downtown Chelsea. This was followed by the wonderful Grass Lake dinner in 2017, chaired by Sabrina Edgar. And in 2018, Alber Orchard’s welcomed the Manchester sponsored feast, chaired by Ruth VanBogelen.

 And the mission continues this year in Dexter! 

The 5 Healthy Towns Foundation (5HF) is a tax-exempt, private foundation governed by a volunteer board of directors representing populations included in the school-districts of Chelsea, Dexter, Grass Lake, Manchester and Stockbridge, generally referred to as the 5HF service area. The mission of the 5HF is to cultivate improvements in personal and community wellness.