In Oregon, we’re lucky to have delicious food that grows in our soil, talented chefs who call our state home, and friendly people who come together to make our vibrant communities. Put the three together, and you have the recipe for Farm to Fork, a popular dinner series that travels the state to showcase our stellar crop of chefs, farmers and vintners in the regions that give them their distinctive flavor.
Travel Oregon will be on the road with Farm to Fork during their 2012 series, where we will introduce you to the winemakers and farms you’ll discover across the state. I was first up to the table at last week’s dinner at Fields Farm in Bend, where I got to know more about the three things that make up this magical experience: the farm, the feast, and the community.
With tasty appetizers and wine glasses in hand, farmer Jim Fields led us around his 10-acre certified organic vegetable farm to its prized crop, garlic. After digging up a bulb, Fields (who describes himself as simply an “extreme gardener”) answered questions about how and when to plant and care for crops. I was most impressed (as an amateur extreme gardener myself) with the farm’s massive rhubarb plants – by far the largest I’d ever seen.
After the tour of the bountiful produce on the farm, we were ready to eat! Platters of food were served up family-style, along with local wine and beer pairings from Maragas Winery and 10-Barrel Brewing Company. The food was fresh, simple and delicious – all the way to the dessert, a crème caramel cake with strawberry-rhubarb compote, which we ate as the sun slowly set over the Cascade Mountains.
Somewhere between the shrimp tomato consommé and the roast beef from Dancing Cow Farm, I had the opportunity to speak with the winemaker, rancher, and farmers who provided the food for my delicious meal. Their passion is contagious, and it extends from supporting local agriculture to supporting the local community.
One of the best memories you’ll take from a Farm to Fork experience is getting to know your tablemates. After spending a few hours in deep conversation and laughter with people from all over the state and the country (we sat by folks from Bend, Portland, California and Michigan), you’ll feel like old friends. We walked away from the table at Fields Farm full of good food, a couple of hours of laughter and an appreciation of everything that makes Bend taste good.
The next Farm to Fork Dinner with available tickets is September 2 in Corvallis. Reserve your place at the table at www.farmtoforkevents.com.
Disclosure: I did not pay for the activity mentioned in this blog post, but thoughts are my own.
Editor’s note: Travel Oregon is on the road with Farm to Fork during their 2012 series. Read about their other dinners around Oregon.