On October 1, the Downtown Neighborhood Association in Elgin will be sponsoring a four-course "friendly community table" dinner. The proceeds from the farm-to-table dinner will go to the future Shared Harvest food co-op run by their president, Pam Echeverria.

A food co-op or cooperative is essentially a food distribution outlet. Decisions for the co-op are made by those who buy into the cooperative for either a monthly, quarterly or annual fee. All decisions regarding the production and distribution of the association's food are therefore made by its members.

Cream of asparagus soup recipe

Spring is the best time of year to find fresh asparagus, but it is available all year round. The stalks shoot up from the crown, and when allowed to fully develop they grow into fern-like leaves. Asparagus crops are harvested in February, with April being the best month for picking, and June the end of the season.

Begin by melting one-half stick of unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add one-half cup chopped onions, and one crushed garlic clove -- saute for 5 minutes. Season with Salt And Pepper. Add about two pounds of fresh asparagus - trim the ends and then cut into one-inch pieces - then saute for another 4 minutes. Add six cups of chicken stock, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for thirty minutes - until the asparagus is very tender.

Carefully transfer the hot liquid to a blender and puree all ingredients until smooth. Return to a saucepan, stir in sour cream - as much or as little as you desire, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to serving blows add a pinch of paprika, and enjoy!

1,000 members needed

The president of Shared Harvest Board said that nearly 1,000 households, 938 to be exact, have purchased shares in advance of the cooperative's completion. Echevarria hopes to bring in a substantial amount of money for the dinner which will help give the initiative and much needed financial boost. Mayor David Kaptain is considering a request from the group for a financial contribution to the initiative but has asked the group for a list of 1,000 signed members before he makes his final decision.

Kaptain said the city of Elgin may consider releasing funds from its downtown tax-increment financing district to help out the Shared Harvest initiative. The group has been in discussions with food co-op lenders and are looking into a grant from a bank in the area. Currently, they are seeking $250,000 from the city.

Those who buy tickets to the dinner on sale for $75 will get a free co-op share that normally would cost $100.