Seriously, the weather gets better and better. Almost hate to bring it up, with still one more big event to go this summer, but we have been so blessed to miss all the major storms in the area for all of our Dinners in the Field, and this Saturday’s had just about the most magical sunset yet.
The ambiance of the sunset and the early evening dragonflies and sunshine really book-ended what was a remarkable night of eating, drinking and conversation. Thank you so mush to all our guests for joining us in the field for what was hopefully a memorable experience. As I said Saturday to the diners, it is really a very special way for us to share what we invest our long hours and days and months working on with many of you on a more intimate level and to bring you out to where the bulk of the growing happens is so critical to our customers understanding of who we are. Volante Farms has grown and changed several times and in several ways over its 96 years, but we are still a family owned farm that puts a lot of energy into producing the highest quality and variety of vegetables in the area. Todd and his kitchen took another opportunity with this dinner to exemplify the quality and care that goes into this produce and it seemed from the chatter and sounds of enjoyment that they achieved their goal again.
The evening began as usual with a stroll down the gravel path to sandwich in between a block of corn rows and a field full of blooming flowers. As guests arrived and found their seats and met their table mates they enjoyed the first of several wines paired to go with the meal and presented by Kim from Majestic Wine Inc.
The Amuse arrived to meet the Cambria Pinot Noir and it was a beautiful bite to behold. A local Pork & Corn Cake with foraged weeds and grilled local peaches sat spiritedly on our new bamboo plates, perfect for the event as they helped make everything compostable at the end of the evening.
Dave once again welcomed the crowd and then introduced Todd to present the theme and menu of the night. While Todd explained his philosophy of everyday farm-to-table cooking and love for all the fresh vegetables presented to him weekly here at the farm the appetizer course arrived, A glorious filet of striped bass swimming in cucumber and beets. Actually it was perched atop a cucumber sauce, upon a roasted Chioggia beet. A Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc brought just the right light touch to the dish.
Then as we progressed to the salad course, which is ultimately a three course meal on its own, bowls of a dozen types of homegrown lettuce were topped with roasted tomato vinaigrette, which was such a hit it immediately made its way to the prepared food case shelves in the farm stand the next morning. There was a fresh salad of grilled summer vegetables, zucchini, and eggplant among them, with herbs and shell beans, and to my eye it looked like a fair amount of mozzarella as well. Likewise, in what Todd called the runaway hit of the night were the fresh harvested green beans with roasted peppers, Marcona almonds and olives. The salads were joined by a Carmel Road Chardonnay that had the heft to carry these cool summer tastes.
As we settled into the evening and we took some time to relax, baskets of fresh muffins made with our own corn hit the tables with sides of maple butter. These were the precursor to the in-house smoked local ham served with collard greens that began the entree course. A side dish with considerable standalone power then emerged, Oodles of Noodles, lovely cool Lo Mein noodles drenched in the flavors of summer and stir fried vegetables and herbs. This dish can be found in our prepared case as well this week and is the perfect light lunch or dinner side. To close out the entrees, our local partners in agriculture, Four Star Farms, provided a super creamy polenta to dress up our eggplant and Swiss chard. These dishes were all craving a pairing with a bit of bearing so they were served with a glass of Atalon Pauline’s Cuveé Meritage.
As food coma and sunset started to set in, the soundtrack bounced up a notch and dessert was paired simply with a little Bossa Nova vibe. Of course dessert, a perfectly pointed tart filled with Sunnycrest Orchards Peaches, topped with Crescent Ridge vanilla Ice Cream and a homemade pineapple sage syrup with candied ginger.
Then as mosquitoes finally got enough gumption up to start to be a bother, the night came to a pleasant close and guest meandered back from their field excursion. It was a pleasure as always to welcome you all, and we are already looking forward to our last one of the season on August 24th. I sent Todd a list today of what we expecting to be picking by then so he can start brainstorming and hopefully I can sneak a few things in at the last-minute again just to keep him on his toes.
If you wish you had an opportunity to join us in the Field and missed these opportunities, just a reminder that this Saturday August 10 we will have our annual Farm Field DAy with free field tour at 12:30, free face painting 11-3, our Customer Cooking Challenge at 11 and book signing and recipe tasting with EATS: Enjoy All The Seconds author Mary Rolph Lamontagne from 11 -1.