Farm dinners are all the rage. They’re popping up everywhere.
They’re exclusive, hard to get a reservation, fill up quickly, costly, enlightening, always set in picturesque locations in the middle of a farm or field of crop, where the food was all sourced locally and it tastes so fresh your eyes close, you moan a little and bask in its delicious glory.
I would also like to note, if I could dine like this each Summer evening in Colorado, I would.
Recently, I had the chance to attend my first farm dinner of 2012 in August at Lyons Farmette in Lyons, CO. I surprised The Man in June for his birthday, with a reservation for two at the farm dinner in August. I counted down the days (hey, it’s the gift that keeps on giving).
The Lyons Farmette is set right in Lyons but as you pull in and cross the bridge over a small, bubbling creek to the farm with the craggy, red mountains as the backdrop you feel transported.
This particular dinner involved various local food purveyors and was headed up by Kate Bruzdzinski, Chef/Owner of Eat. The components of the evening featured MM Local Foods, Jack Rabbit Hill Winery (my favorite winery I visited from my Western Slope trip to wine country in April) and beef from Lasater Grasslands Farms. Each farm dinner involves local participants and purveyors, while the menu reflects the most seasonal and freshest ingredients.
We were greeted by Betsy (co-owner of Lyons Farmette) with a refreshing cucumber and mint soda cocktail from Cap Rock Gin (a product via Jack Rabbit Hill Farm).
As we mingled around the farm and peaked at the goats and chickens surrounding the farm, we soon started our evening with appetizers before sitting down (and me snapping a gratuitous photo in front of a tractor – I’m from Iowa, dammit!)
To start, we had MM Local tomato, cantaloupe and cucumber gazpacho (so cute, served in MM Local jars), grilled crostini with handmade ricotta, MM local tomatoes, crumbled sausage and arugula and another grilled crostini with MM Local infused goat cheese and grilled zucchini topped with pesto cream and balsamic. I may or may not have had 5 crostini.
Then, as we were ready to sit at the beautifully stylized and designed long, family style tables Betsy and Kate (from Eat) greeted everyone.
I loved Kate’s exuberance. She started to tear up when she thanked everyone (she joked, she does this at each farm dinner) as the sun behind her glistened as she felt such joy and gratitude for everyone coming together and the local food we were about to enjoy. I felt tears welling in my eyes and I hadn’t even met her before. I felt it too. I’m a sap for food, community and sharing those pieces together. That’s a piece of what’s so special about these farm dinners (no matter where you are).
After cruising around the farm with Betsy (many of the dishes came from harvested crop at Lyons Farmette) and learning about the goats, chickens and even her bees, we sat down to eat our main courses.
We started with a farm salad, with field greens, grilled peaches and radishes dressed with lemon-basil vinaigrette. Let it be known served family style in a big bowl, we gobbled this down before even a photo was snapped.
Followed by a smoked salt infused grilled beef tenderloin, roasted potatoes with poblanos and corn, French style green beans with MM Local pearl onions and eggplant.
Finally, our dessert was one of my favorite courses of the evening. Seeing as peaches are so in season right now, we had a french fruit tart with vanilla cream. You can see Kate (below) happily showing off the tart her team made, as its beauty is undeniable.
We ate well into the evening, the stars blinked above us and our bottles of wine ran dry. I loved that it was served family style and I always walk away, having met new friends. The food felt so authentic, fresh and real that you couldn’t imagine eating anything ever processed again. Rejuvenated and full, we sauntered out of Lyons and made the quick trip back to Boulder, home.
I dreamed of the rich, creamy tart with flaky crust, Jack Rabbit Hill’s 2009 M&N wine with the local beef and the adorable acre of vegetables, at The Lyons Farmette.
A week later, as the farm dinners have wound down, I signed up for one of their last dinners of the summer for their pizza night on the farm. I’ll be back in late September to check out the mobile wood-fired pizza oven dinner!
If you have a chance to head to Lyons Farmette, please do. It was one of my food-highlights, of this entire summer. Their focus on community and bringing together locavores is powerful. I suggest a farm dinner or a class!
Lyons Farmette: Centered around community, they offer classes (from cheese-making to jarring and jamming to permaculture design), farm dinners and even host weddings/events. Betsy and Michael created a place that truly brings together artisans in a beautiful setting. Albeit their farming area is small, their hearts and support are enormous. You can learn more at lyonsfarmette.com or email Betsy directly.
Eat: Kate Bruzdzinski is the Chef/Owner of Eat, a private chef and catering company. Kate offers everything from farm dinners with Lyons Farmette, catering, event styling, classes and even coming to you as a private chef. You can find Kate and Eat on Facebook or her website icookyoueat.com (love that name).