Taste of Home hostesses

Gretchen Brant and Patsy Smeed in the Summit Hills Garden barn venue where dinner will be served.


Summit Hill Gardens, an event venue located just south of Chanute, has been chosen to host the second annual agricultural experience dinner on August 3. The evening is sponsored by the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s From the Land of Kansas program, which highlights products made by Kansans in Kansas.

Summit Hill Gardens was founded by sisters-in-law Patsy Smeed and Gretchen Brant in 2016. The venue is a sprawling network that includes a repurposed barn, soap shop, and a schoolhouse from the 1870s, in addition to numerous outdoor areas for guests to explore. Smeed and Brant are eager to display their venue.  

“It was so exciting to find out that we had been chosen,” Smeed said. “We are thrilled to host such an event.” 

The evening includes a cocktail hour with entertainment and a chef-prepared multicourse dinner using products from Kansas exclusively. The chef himself, Ryan Menard, is a native Kansan hailing from Burlington before being trained at Le Cordon Bleu, Texas Culinary Academy of Austin, Texas. He has worked in restaurants in cities such as Vail, Colo. and Kansas City.  

The entertainer for the evening is also homegrown,  Patsy’s  son  Sky  Smeed,  an  independent  artist  now based in Lawrence who will be playing the event. 

“It is special for me that Sky and I get to do this together,” Smeed said. 

Chanute Area Chamber of Commerce & Office of Tourism director Jane Brophy gets the credit for submitting the venue for consideration. She also let the event coordinators know of the relationship with Sky, who was already on their radar for entertainment. 

Smeed and Brant have begun preparing for the event early, beginning with kitchen modifications to suit the chef. They are working on Kansas-centric decor, with sunflowers and other native flowers being planted throughout the property. 

“We want to really show off the beauty of our state as well as we can,” Brant said. “We have so much to do, and we really want to be prepared to wow everyone.” 

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