Tom Colicchio, the politically focused New York culinary personality, picked up a microphone and began speaking to a crowd of about 100 people who seemed to be at the party as much for the free brisket and strawberry brambles as for the discussion.
Colicchio linked the plight of farmers to immigration, the environment, health care costs and the national security threat posed by overweight soldiers, Mr.
But how the nation grows, processes and distributes food is less important to him than labor issues and the economic challenges of running a small business.
Last fall, she joined the Republican public opinion researcher Christine Matthews to study how food issues play out with voters.
Hagstrom, the agricultural journalist, who covered the lunch for his news service, The Hagstrom Report, and who planned to attend a similar cocktail reception at the Democratic event.