Outstanding In Their Field

This past weekend, the Beloved and I got to go to an event we’d been looking forward to keenly for a month or two.  Namely, our CSA was hosting a dinner at the farm in Escondido (they have a couple of properties throughout San Diego county).  The menu was designed by a local chef and her catering company specifically featuring fruits and vegetables just-harvested by the farm.  The meal was served to us outside on long tables set amidst head-high rows of corn.  Altogether, I think there were ~130 people attending.
Now, San Diego county had broken out of its month-long cold-and-dreary spell last week with a heat wave and we were a little nervous that the event would be too hot (it can get HOT in Escondido in the summer) to really enjoy.  Fortunately, Saturday provided the first break in the heat, and while warm, the afternoon and evening were really gorgeous.
The afternoon started with a champagne reception with snackers as folks arrived.  After it seemed that everyone had gotten there, there was an introduction by the manager of the farm and then a few words by the owner of the farm, whom I’ll refer to as Farmer Bill.

Bill then took us on a tour of the farm and showed us some equipment and fielded questions about the differences in organic versus conventional farming.  Everyone was really interested and peppered Farmer Bill with questions about water management, pest and insect control (the Beloved seemed somewhat pleased that even an operation as well run as the farm had problems with bunnies), soil enrichment and crop rotation.  He explained that strawberries and tomatoes were his main cash crops and that he enjoyed growing the other fruits and vegetables to support the CSA.  Really fascinating stuff.

Following that we all adjourned to two long tables set along an open dirt road in the cornfield and were treated to a 5-course meal that was really exceptional.  There were also organic wines that had been selected by a sommelier and friend of the farm to pair with the meal.  Everything was incredibly good.

Also fun was the atmosphere that happened with everyone sort of sitting together on those long tables.  We didn’t know anyone else at the dinner, but neither did the couples that sat near us (a mom & daughter and a nice couple out on their first evening out after having a baby 10 months ago).  The late afternoon gloaming, with good food, good wine and a nice warm summer breeze had us chatting well after sunset.
We’d figured that this was the first time that they’d tried having an event like this, but everyone was getting excited talking about “next year’s” already!

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20 thoughts on “Outstanding In Their Field

  1. I really want to do this someday. I dont think there are any farms near us that produce enough types of produce. We'd be eating I believe mostly strawberries, Blueberries, oranges and grapefruits. I'm going to look into it.

  2. This sounds fantastic!Hubby and I went to a seven course morel mushroom dinner at a restaurant near us this spring. It was amazing what they did with morels!This outdoor organic dinner sounds wonderful. I think I need to go get myself a salad!

  3. Funny, I've been meaning to post about the tour I had of my CSA two weeks ago. Mine was also really fun, though not nearly as fancy… no champagne and no wine! It was free though, and the lunch was amazing. You gotta love the bounty of southern CA!

  4. Awesome! It would be cool if my CSA would have a get together like that. Even if they couldn't afford to put on something of that scale (it's a small farm), we could all meet each other to see who else is a member. One of my favorite things about the CSA is chatting with the farmer every week. It makes the food taste better to know what went into growing it.

  5. Katie — I would definitely see if there were some options in your area — getting a box of fruits and veggies like that (for us, every other week) has really refocused the way we plan our meals and eat.

  6. Hapa — I was wondering how your CSA was going. It was funny to hear the owner talk about how he didn't think this "crazy" idea for a dinner would work, but I think he loved seeing how enthusiastic everyone was.

  7. I'm still loving our CSA! Saves time and money, gets us to eat more veggies – can't complain. I was really impressed with how much science, testing, innovation and effort goes into running an organic farm.

  8. Bookish — I think we could have sat and talked with Farmer Bill for hours. We're so curious about the why and how things get done and the choices and decisions that they must make on an evolving basis.

  9. How fun was that? What a great life you two are having together. Lovely. Nerds can find love too, maybe even better kind of love. (I speak for myself too)

  10. Nice tour! Thanks, Farmer Bill! I love getting the inside story on that stuff.
    I heard that some parts of California had well over 100 degree temperatures last week? That must be tough.

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