A week from today we’ll be hosting what should be a really fun event: a whole-farm dinner for members of our local Slow Food chapter. We’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while, as we love cooking for folks and demonstrating the diversity of foods a single integrated farm can produce.
The specific idea was hatched through talking to friends in Slow Food about the expensive membership costs (which are set nationally with no control by the local group). We felt that many farmers (including us) would find the cost too high, despite being the folks who actually underpin most of what Slow Food advocates. So we hatched the idea of a fundraising dinner on a farm, where the donation-cost of the meal would cover a membership for the farm, who in turn would earn it by growing, preparing, and serving the food (and hosting the meal). Our local chapter loved the idea, and the event was born.
You can read all the details at Slow Food Katy Trail’s blog, but here’s the menu summary. We’re hoping to make this an annual event, featuring a different cuisine each time. Already we have Italian, German, and Filipino as obvious themes we’re familiar with and can easily do with our farm’s products. Oh, and if you were wondering, all 16 slots are sold out.
The proposed menu reflects a time when farms still supported themselves, and visitors could be assured that any food offered was sourced from the farm with pride. All but a few basic ingredients such as oil, vinegar, and spices will be harvested and/or produced on-farm for this meal, which will be prepared by Eric & Joanna. They chose a Southern theme this year to reflect Missouri’s heritage and as an American cuisine traditionally rooted in fresh ingredients and local flavors. Food will be served in a tasting format, one item at a time as it is prepared, to ensure that each is enjoyed fresh. This meal will be vegetarian-friendly, as meat on Chert Hollow Farm is seasonally available and butchering does not happen until later in the fall.
THE PROPOSED MENU (Menu items subject to change based on availability.)
Hoppin’ John Our take on a classic bean dish prepared with heirloom cowpeas, onions, garlic, hot peppers, tomatoes, mixed greens, and more; topped with fresh cheese from the farm’s goats.
Mixed beans A simple tasting of heirloom dried beans, allowing their excellent flavor to be enjoyed.
Nothin’ but cornbread Southern-style cornbread, using only fresh-ground farm-grown cornmeal, leaveners, farm-made yogurt, farm-fresh eggs, and salt. Served with Missouri honey, sorghum, or farm-made jams. Baked in cast-iron.
Mess of greens Mix of collards, mustard, kale, beet, and more, sautéed with garlic and vinegar.
Fried green tomatoes and okra Fresh heirloom green tomatoes and okra breaded with freshly ground farm-grown cornmeal and lightly pan-fried in a cast-iron skillet.
Mint iced tea Freshly brewed iced tea made with three varieties of mint.
Seasonal dessert To be determined.