Sitting atop our best Bloomington event venues list is FARMbloomington. Food Network Magazine, Bon Appetit, The New York Times, Food and Wine, Midwest Living, Indianapolis Monthly and many others have given rave reviews of FARM’s food, ambiance and service. Using “local ingredients with global flavors” is the FARM mantra. FARMbloomington has a number of private and semi-private spaces for special events and also offers off-site catering. Snappening spoke with Susan Ellenwood, Events Manager, from FARM to get more information about catering from FARMbloomington.

What does FARMbloomington do to ensure that hosting an event at the restaurant is different than just reserving a table?
Hosting an event at FARM is much different than just reserving a table for dinner. For events, we create a custom menu by taking into consideration clients’ tastes, dietary restrictions and sometimes even family recipes. For example, FARM catered a completely Paleo wedding. Also, an event is usually a little less casual than restaurant dining and has more staging.

What does FARM do to provide guests with a custom and unique menu?
FARMbloomington creates a customized menu that stays within the set budget for each event on or off-site. When clients want to use FARMbloomington as a venue or caterer, the first step is inviting them in for lunch. At lunch, they discuss what the price per person should ideally be. While talking about the price per person, Ellenwood and the clients discuss the atmosphere of the event experience. Sometimes clients come in thinking they want a plated meal but could end of changing to a buffet. Ellenwood said that young couples usually don’t take in to account other costs, like alcohol for example. FARM has the ability to offer full-service wedding planning that includes those extra costs.

After the price per person is set, Ellenwood meets with the chefs to discuss what can be done with the menu based on the budget. A sample menu is set based on the season and requests from the clients. This menu proposal is sent to the clients who can potentially change the original plan. The clients resend the proposal giving ideas and the chefs tweak the menu. Clients and chefs continue tweaking the proposed menu until it becomes the contract.

The menus created for each event are exactly what the customer wants. They are unique and specific to the wants and needs of the client. The similarities that occur are more to do with seasonality. Fall and winter menus commonly contain root vegetables and things like kale. Often times, proteins tend to be similar based on what people like.
Has there been a difference in catering requests based on trends such as farm to fork or people looking for more healthy and locally grown foods?
“Absolutely,” Ellenwood said. FARM participated at a Farm-to-Fork Feast. The menu was completely farm to fork; the venison that was served was shot at the venue. People are definitely starting to tune into sustainability and paying attention to where food comes from.

Anything else about FARMbloomington people should know?
Ellenwood claims that there is a common misconception that FARM is only high-end food. People can come into FARM and get a $35 steak, but they can also get comfort food like garlic fries and pizza. FARMbloomington can offer a wide variety of menus for most budgets, not just high end. The same goes for the catering menu; FARM has served a down-home barbeque buffet with grilled cheese.

Whether you’re looking for a place to stop for dinner in Bloomington or the perfect wedding caterer, take a look at FARMbloomington. If you would like more venue options, take a look at Snappening’s extensive Bloomington venue search to aid you in finding the best location. If you’re looking for a professional planner, take a look at our wedding planner or event plannersearch.

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