Two local businesses are teaming up to create an evening of local food and shopping on the Kemptville Campus.

Catered Affairs is a catering company run out of the cafeteria building on the Campus. Since the COVID-19 shut down in March, owner Natalie Castellas has pivoted her business to offer take home meals for people needing a break from being in the kitchen. She says she came up with the idea when she realized that many families were going to be missing out on their March break holiday. “We wanted to offer a meal like you would get on vacation,” Natalie says. “It took off.”

Catered Affairs is now it its 22nd week of offering fresh, local take-home meals from Tuesday to Friday. For the past month, they have also been offering table d’hôte dinners on their patio. “Everything is made fresh each morning,” Natalie says. “We try and buy local as much as possible.”

That local focus is something that helped draw Natalie towards working with another business located on the Campus called My Local Markets.

Founder, Darlene Collin, started the business to help local farmers and artisans reach customers during the COVID-19 shut down, when many markets and fairs were cancelled. Through their website, they sell local food and products from over 50 different vendors in North Grenville and the surrounding area, offering free local delivery on orders over $75. “Let the makers make and the farmers farm and we’ll sell it for them,” she says.

With My Local Markets located in the greenhouse on the Campus, both Natalie and Darlene decided it would be a great idea to join forces and offer a hyper local event to the community. On Thursday, August 13, Catered Affairs will be offering a three-course table d’hôte dinner, featuring food products from My Local Markets. To coincide with the dinner, Darlene is organizing a night market with her vendors. Darlene says that she held a market stand for The Big Spend on July 25, but this night market will be the first time the public gets to meet the My Local Markets vendors in person. “I went to a night market in Nashville and it was really great,” she says. “It’s a way to get small, local vendors out in the public eye.”

Darlene says they will have around 50 vendors at the night market, offering everything from produce and baked goods, to artisanal soaps and jewelry. Both Natalie and Darlene hope that the evening will be a way for people to get out of the house and discover all the great products that are available in their own backyard. Darlene and Natalie are very happy that they have the space on the Campus to accommodate people in a safe way. “I am hoping it will be a really great evening out and people forget about COVID-19,” Darlene says.

Catered Affairs will be taking reservations from 5 pm-7 pm for their three-course dinner, and the night market will be open from 5 pm-8 pm at the greenhouse on the Campus. Reservations can be made on the Catered Affairs website: www.cateredaffairs.ca.

Natalie and Darlene are hoping to make this local dinner and night market a regular event, held on the second Thursday of every month. “We want to make sure we are still advocating for local and getting [the vendor’s] products in front of people,” Darlene says. “I hope that people just come and spend an evening on the Campus,” Natalie adds.

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