Thursday, September 16, 2010

Farm to Table Dinner

I've joined the Charlotte chapter of "Slow Food" and I attended a "Farm to Table Event" tonight at Poplar Ridge Farm in Waxhaw, NC. It's a pretty rural town (pretty, and rural) about 10 miles from where I live.

Poplar Ridge Farm is not just a farm. Aside from growing and selling produce, flowers and herbs, they are a CSA (community supported agriculture) distributor and they are very involved with education. Their interns work the farm, admin staff have gone on to food policy jobs in DC, and they give area culinary students and chefs the opportunity to see where the ingredients they're cooking with, originate.
After driving on winding, field-lined country roads, and crunching along the gravel driveway, I was very surprised by the modern "farm pavilion and dining terrace" at Poplar Ridge.  I thought to myself, this is a pretty fancy farm! The owners are Marianne Battistone and her husband, Philip Norwood. Movers and shakers. Click on the link below the photo, for their story.

While the 50 or so guests trickled in, we milled around the pool and the gardens, and enjoyed a Pimm's over ice with sliced cucumber, strawberry and mint--very refreshing!

Ten round tables were set with charming mismatched tablecloths, fresh field flowers and "condiments" in Ball jars pickled by this summers' intern. Bread & Butter Pickles and Pickled Okra---yum!

Bread was provided by Bakers Blessings and the goat cheese came from Bosky's Acres. I've enjoyed Bosky's goat cheese from the farmer's market in Matthews.
The Dinner featured the farm's produce prepared by two area chefs, Jamie Lynch of Barrington's Restaurant & Hollace Stephenson, a caterer/private chef/yogi who owns Taste Makers of Charlotte.  Hollace came out of the kitchen to describe each of the four courses, and she was very passionate and serene. It was a great evening, being surrounded by people who really care about what they're doing, and about Charlotte.

In between courses, guest speaker Allison Mignery spoke about "what everyone should know about food policy." She is a registered dietician who works with the city and in schools to increase awareness. Her work is as basic, yet critical as teaching children that ketchup comes from tomatoes and that french fries come from potatoes. (I was 21 when I saw olives on a tree in Greece...and I can only imagine what an inner city child would need to learn about food!) On the other end of the spectrum, Allison is a founding member of the County's Food Policy Council. They identify "food deserts" and compile demographic data so that supermarkets can be introduced into low income areas.

She supplied a list of restaurants that source local food, community gardens in the county, CSA's and farmer's markets. I've been to some of them and now I know about more!

Dean and Deluca supplied the red, white and dessert wines.

First course
Salad of spicy greens, marinated squash, roasted sweet peppers and heirloom tomatoes with feta cheese.

Second course
Handmade ravioli filled with swiss chard, with housemade mint ricotta cheese, on a sweet potato cream sauce.

Third course
Tomato braised lamb cheeks on pickled eggplant, with a toasted pine nut topping.

Fourth course
Orange blossom rice pudding with strawberries, a bittersweet chocolate straw and a citrus tuile.

Delicious Food. Magical Setting. Interesting People.


I'm making a reservation for the last event of the season, September 29th.

No comments:

Post a Comment