There are things you hear about, things you wish you could do and things you get lucky enough to experience. I was just that lucky last Sunday as I attended the Farm to Fork Dinner at Afton Field Farm in Corvallis. I had anticipated the event for weeks, but had actually heard about the Farm to Fork dinners a while ago. The idea that delicious food would be served outdoors near a pasture or by a huge vegetable patch, on tables covered in white linens adorned with crystal wine glasses, intrigued me to no end. My experience at Afton Field Farm fulfilled a dream for that desire to dine outdoors in the midst of my growing food. I was lucky enough to be on the farm where my dinner had grown and was harvested, and was now being prepared for my dining pleasure right in front of my eyes.
The tables were lined up and dressed just I had seen in hundreds of photos. I could have stayed for hours taking pictures of every detail, as the chefs prepared roasted corn, shelling beans and Chimichurri. After the tomato gazpacho with albacore tartare and chicken liver parfait with pickled cherry appetizers, it was time for a quick tour of the farm and then dinner in the orchard. The freshness of each bite told stories of growth to harvest, and the colors of the food ignited the senses to full-blown awareness.
Set against a backdrop of a gigantic pasture, the land was dotted with cows lazily grazing through the grasses, with the occasional dog romping through the herd and causing a scene that made everyone laugh. The atmosphere was enhanced by the wine and cider, and smiles grew as the evening wore on next to now-familiar tablemates all seated at the farm table for the same purpose: a dinner to remember!
The food was amazing, but I also have to give a heap of credit to the setting. In an orchard filled with apples and pears, our plates were set and dinner was served. Slow food prepared and cooked for hours, then served as to enjoy every single distinctive bite…and so I did! There is absolutely nothing like sweet corn spent over an open pit and then served up outdoors. It’s like eating food when you’re camping; it always tastes so much better when it’s cooked and served outdoors.
Over 160 folks enjoyed this Farm to Fork event, and I’m pretty sure everyone was smiling as big as I was when it was time to go home as the sun set over the orchard branches.
Editor’s note: Travel Oregon is on the road with Farm to Fork during their 2012 series. Read about their other dinners around Oregon.