It was a midday in July as I was harvesting zucchini in the sprawling fields of Taft Farms, under the blazing sun. I stood up briefly, wiped my brow and stretched by back. In that moment of clarity, I was able to really see what was right in front of me: rows of beautiful flowers and tall shoots of what would soon be some of the most stunning varieties of Indian Corn.
This past summer I had decided that I wanted to shadow a local farm and work a full growing season so that I could really understand how food was grown and face the challenges that came with it. I had always had a great working relationship with Taft Farms, so I figured I would start there.
Farming is extremely hard work. 10-12 hour days of repetitive, grueling labor regardless of the weather conditions. Many times it felt like someone said to me “Oh, you cooked for someone’s wedding yesterday? Nice, what was that, 16 hours of hot fire, heavy steel and tight timelines? Grreeeaaattt, you must be dehydrated and sore. How about you pick asparagus for 4 hours tomorrow in the pouring rain, mmmk thanks” - In the style of Bill Lumbergh of Office Space.
I have always respected farmers and the idea of farming, but really, it was just exactly that; the idea. I sincerely think that everyone should have a garden for growing food for at least one year. In a current word of disposability, I whole heartedly believe that we would cut down on so much waste if people got back in touch with the way things used to be, however that is a blog topic for another time.
Being a part of the whole farming process this past year, in the trenches with the fellow field crew and seeing how well the 200 acres of farm land is managed has really opened my eyes.
As I stood there over looking those crops, I wanted in that moment to share this view and hard work with someone. I thought why not the community? How magical would it be to have a select group of people come to a dinner put together right in the center of all of this? Our guests being nourished from the same food that was growing just mere feet from them. This had to be done: A table to farm dinner.
To date, the Taft Farms Farm Supper has to be one of my favorite events that I had been a part of. A long communal farm table (supplied by Classical Tents) was set and Bistro lights (supplied by Encore Audio) were strung to light the evening. We used various vintage farm equipment from Taft Farms. The very talented Rebecca Maiaa captured the magical dinner in The Berkshires.
Starting with a cocktail hour and Hay Wagon Ride to the fields, guests were treated to several welcome beverages.
When I design an event, I integrate the guests into the kitchen. There is just so much energy being generated - I want the guests to feel that.
Taft Farms grows over 200 different varieties of tomatoes and we wanted to showcase that. During the cocktail hour we created a heirloom tomato "bar" as well as a charcuterie and local cheese station.
Upon arriving to the "dining room", guests walked through Sue Hayden's (Taft Farms very own gardening goddess) rows of beautiful flowers.
The Dinner was 5 Courses and featured all of the vegetables from Taft Farms. The stand out course was Lila Berle’s roasted mutton, incredibly juicy, tender, and sweet. As the dinner wound down, guests at the long, communal table were talking like old friends as they watched the super moon rise and the fire works in the distance from another local event. A truly magical evening that I look forward to being a part of next year.
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