We were thrilled to have two new chefs creating this Ayurvedic dinner for us - Ruth Smiley and Arthur Anderson. Ruth is a local private chef and Ayurvedic practitioner incorporating 18 years of practice in the healing art of nutrition, seasonal health, and longevity. She companion cooked the meal with craft baker and rotisseur Arthur. With dedication to deliciously balanced courses, this farm to table feast blended digestive herbs like fennel, lemon balm, ginger, and cumin to give a subtle and distinctly Ayurvedic touch. This meal had a California seasonally fresh menu of strawberries, old-world roses, soup, salad, summer squashes and blossoms, bread, sprouted nuts, greens, and local pork from Wondernut Farm. It was a super yummy experience. We even had some amazing music provided by local musician Alec La Roche. What a night!
We kicked off our 2017 Sunset Dinner season on Saturday, June 24th. We had a wonderful chef, Heidi Pusina, cook a fabulous Asian inspired meal for us to enjoy. Our evening started off around 6pm when all of our guests began to arrive. We hung out on the deck and looked out on the farm as the day's heat (just under 100 degrees) slowly began to drift away.
Around 7, as the sun began to set, the appetizers were served. There were spring rolls, grilled flatbread tarts, and moroccan bastillas.
Andrew then took the group out for a tour of the farm.
When everyone got back from the tour, the main meal began. The evening was filled with tasty treat after tasty treat. Heidi did a wonderful job creating an Asian themed meal. There was a delicious soba noddle with memmi broth soup to start it off. Then there was a great "farmhouse" salad, with shaved beets, our signature lettuce mix, green beans, raspberries, pistachios and paneer!
The main meal was a Korean bulgogi of beef and pork with ssamjang sauce. It was accompanied by coconut rice, miso-glazed summer squash and a cucumber kimchee. There were many more little surprises, and delicious sauces placed on the table to enhance the dishes even more. The meal ended with a tasty baklava and some mochis. It was a real treat to taste all of the local produce and meat prepared in an Asian style.
As always, there was great conversations being had throughout the meal. There were new and old friends sitting together. I really personally love to see people meet new people in our community and realize how they already might have known of each other. There is something magical about coming together around an amazing dinner sourced as locally as possible and just diving into creating a solid bond between everyone there. These dinners help us to fulfill part of our mission of our farm - "We strive to foster a healthy and engaging community environment through the shared production and consumption of organic produce."
Thank you to all of our guests for coming, and for Heidi for putting on a fantastic meal! And thank you to Jill, for the use of her photos from the evening!
Here is a little bio that Heidi put together about herself:
I am a native Californian and spent my childhood in the food mecca region of the San Francisco Bay Area, raised by a couple of culinary adventurers. I carried on the adventures through international and domestic travel and focused on culture and cuisine, which included regional cooking classes whenever possible.
My first catering event was in 1996 and I have since catered events for 2 to 200 guests. I am drawn to the cuisines of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean region. Through extensive research and practice, I developed a repertoire that I am inspired to share with others.
In addition to catered events, I have shared my passion with the students of Wawona Elementary School. In 2002, I started a cooking class for K-8th-grade students which focused on the world cultures and their cuisine. Over the years, both the students and I have studied the traditions, food types and ingredients, methods and techniques of dozens of cultures.
I advocate locally grown produce and harvested meats, and equally, I wish to inspire others to visit the local markets that provide ingredients for the many cuisines that represent the variety of cultures that dwell in our region."
We are excited to report that Linze and Xenia cooked a fabulous dinner for us on Saturday, November 12th. Linze came to this event with her cooking inspiration starting at home with her mom's home cooked meals and her involvement with 4H. Her desire to make a great local bread evolved into helping to establish the Mono Market Bakery and Kitchen in Lee Vining. Then an opportunity became available to become a backcountry cook at Virginia lakes pack outfit. So cooking over the campfire with Dutch oven's became an avenue to learn mule packing. Cooking with whatever she could fit on the mule string helped to develop her creative cooking skills. Her true joy is cooking at home with veggies from the garden and other local foods. She loves the way local gardens and farms bring friends together to share the abundance. Her friend Xenia is a professional gardener and her love for home grown and wholesome food brings beauty and aliveness to whatever meal she creates!
These two ladies created a delicious fall themed meal with mostly local sourced ingredients. Some highlights were homemade pork sausage Linze made from a pig raised by Fouch Farms (Mariposa), sheep cheese made from Golden Valley Farm (Chowchilla), Costa Livos olive oil (Mariposa), and a lot of fruit and vegetables from our farm. There are some photos the plated food, and menu below. They also had a lot of support from their friends and family on the day of cooking - which made it really feel like a big community event.
We were thrilled to have such great company with our friends for this dinner. Andrew led a tour of the farm before dinner was served. And as the sun started to set on the horizon, everyone sat down and the meal began. What a joy it was to sit with friends and enjoy an amazing meal full of local food! We ended the night by hanging out by a little fire with a few folks enjoying the early evening together.
We plan on having more dinners next year, so stay tuned for dates!
We kicked off our 2016 Sunset Dinner season last week with a lovely dinner. We were very happy that we had a cooler week to prepare and host the dinner. Our chefs, Tim and Melissa arrived late Wednesday night and were up and checking out the farm early Thursday morning to gather ideas for the dinner. They purused the rows and came up with a plan!
When Saturday came around, it was time for the dinner. Our guests began to arrive around 5:30 and mingled a little bit before being served three appetizers: Fried Green Tomatoes, Stuffed Squash Blossoms, and Stuffed Patty Pan Squash. After collecting their appetizers, Andrew took them out for a tour of the farm. They got to learn about our no-till approach to farming, as well as many other ecologically sustainable focused farming approaches. The tour finished up near our cob structures on the farm, where Andrew was able to explain one approach to sustainable natural building that could be done.
As the tour concluded, the dinner was ready! All of our guests sat down and were served the first course - a Kennebec Potato and Roasted Music Garlic Soup. Yum! This was followed by a Beet Tartare Salad with goat cheese. I wouldn't be lying if I said that I licked that plate clean - it was that good! The next course was the main one, a Braised Beef Short Rib with Mashed Yukon Potato and braised root vegetables. The short ribs were from a half cow that we purchased from Sierra Lands Beef, a compliment of Sierra Foothill Conservancy. The meat just melted in your mouth! Finally, it was desert time - an Almond Torte with Apricots. Both the almonds and apricots came from Serrano Farms in Le Grand, CA. It was the perfect way to end the evening.
These dinners are a great way for us to create a space for individuals to sit down and share a meal together. It is true that some of our guests knew each other prior to the dinner, but there were new friendships made that night as well. I really love seeing people coming together over food. Food should be eaten and shared with friends and family around. It is a big part of our mission: building community through food.
Stay tuned for the dates for our other Sunset Dinners this year!
We had our first Sunset Dinner at the farm back on June 27th and it was a great success! We decided to start hosting sunset dinners at our farm to highlight not only our produce, but also a lot of amazing products that fellow people in Mariposa County are making/raising/growing. We had our friends, and fellow CSA members, Tim and Melissa Coleman create, cook, and present the menu.
There were 28 people in attendance at the dinner. Folks started showing up around 5:30pm and were led out for a tour of the farm at 6:25pm. While they were out touring the farm with Andrew, the final touches were being put on the dinner. Andrew showed our dinner guests where things were growing while also explaining some of our techniques here on the farm. A lot of people were interested in learning about our no-till farming approach, and also how we are trying to keep our soil moisture high without watering too much (especially in a drought!). The tour concluded by our two cob structures that have been built in the last few years during the workshops that we have held. We decided to cancel a workshop this year because of the drought - a lot of water is needed in the mixing of the cob.
As Andrew brought the guests back up to the house, the table on the deck was set and ready for them. Folks grabbed a mason jar full of their beverage of choice and found a seat at the table. Sunflowers were set out along the table, along with plates that were passed down to me from my parents and grandparents. It was a real nice feeling for me to see a meal being presented to new and familiar faces on plates that I use to eat off of during family celebrations while growing up.
The first course was a house salad made of our farm's produce complemented by a rosemary-garlic focaccia bread, made with Owens Creek Olive Oil. The next course was a gazpacho soup, which was then followed by ratatouille served over eggplant. Both courses had produce either from our farm, or a farm just a little down the road (and lower in elevation) from us. The main course was chicken coq au vin served over potato mash. The chickens were raised by our friends at Blue Oaks Farm in Mariposa. For dessert we had a beer float peach ice cream made with Prospector's Beer and peaches from Shasky Farms. Below is a more detailed list of the menu which was left on the table for guests to read over while the meal was being served to them.
Overall, the meal was a huge success. It was great to see guests talking with people they knew and folks they had just met over a delicious meal! We look forward to our next meal on August 15th!
Here is our latest video update...enjoy and get a sense of what is going on down on the farm!
After it almost snowing on us the last few days, we are busy preparing our first CSA shares for the 2014 season. Tomorrow, marks the start of at least 36 straight weeks of CSA shares for our members. We have grown from 11 members to almost 20! We are super excited for our CSA program to begin again! Thanks to all of our members and other folks who have helped us out over this past year! Here are to all the yummy veggies, delicious eggs, and fresh fruit to come!
Andrew went out for a stroll around the farm and taped a blog update for you all to watch. Enjoy!!!!
We just got back from attending the California Small Farm Conference in Sonoma County! We wanted to first thank the conference for giving us both a scholarship so that we could attend. We learned so much that we are anxiously applying to our farm practices already. We are going to start adding Hedge Rows to our farm to attract parasitic insects that will take care of eating all the harmful bugs we get that attack our vegetables. We are also going to start placing compost on the top of our rows and plant our transplants right into it - this will hopefully cut down on the amount of weeds that may pop up, and give the soil a bunch of nutrients. We are also thinking of trying to grow some grains next year - just experimental, but you never know where it might take us. Here is the link to the California Small Farm Conference, in case you are interested in checking it out.