A Farm-Fresh Dinner

Last month, Conservative Hubby was a real trooper. He devoted an entire Saturday to doing activities that he probably wouldn't have otherwise had any interest in doing.

The first: a daylong Lamaze class. (On the bright side, by taking the one-day class, Conservative Hubby got out of taking four evening classes.)

More on that later. Or maybe not, because odds are you've been there yourself or don't care to learn that many details about childbirth. (Conservative Hubby certainly didn't want to know some of what he learned, and he has to be there in person in a few short months!)

So maybe we'll leave that one well enough alone.

The second: a Farm to Fork Dinner at Oak Tree Organic Farm in Ashland, which was put on by the Community Learning department at Lincoln Land and sponsored by a local food grant I manage.

With the second activity of the day, it wasn't so much that Conservative Hubby wasn't interested in going as it might not have been something he would have picked to do. But he decided he was game and, after the event, said he'd love to go back to another Farm to Fork Dinner given the opportunity. You probably will want to come along too once you see what it was like.

The evening began at the tent under which we would dine, which was located near a lovely pond on the farm. Nearby stood another tent where Chef Denise and her culinary team from Lincoln Land whipped up our dinner--sans electricity, mind you. This is what a gourmet might call "roughing it."

I should just say it now so I don't have to keep repeating it with everything I mention: Pretty much all the ingredients, aside from the olive oil and a few things of that nature, were sourced from local farms and producers. That began with the first course, which involved some amazing sausage on little toasts. The wines served with each course were local, too.

Conservative Hubby tried them all. I, however, did not get to indulge. Maybe next time.

After enjoying an appetizer and chatting for a few minutes, we took a quick tour of the nearby fields where Farmer Chad and his family are raising their organic produce, which is sold at local farmer's markets and through a CSA and an online market they've set up.

Farmer Chad is a great, down-to-earth guy, filled with passion for the plants he grows and the animals he raises. His parents (who were there too) are long-time farmers, and he decided to move part of their farm in a different direction a few years ago, hence the emphasis on organic produce rather than the fields of corn otherwise surrounding us.

After we got the scoop on what they grow, production methods, challenges, and such, we headed back to the tent to sit down for dinner.

The culinary team took care all of the details, from the menus tucked under the plates to the Mason jars from which we enjoyed our beverages.

For the first course, we started out with a lovely salad featuring heirloom tomatoes and burrata (little balls of mozzarella) over crusty bread from Incredibly Delicious, a local bakery that makes to-die-for loaves.

Then we moved on to a salad featuring green beans, squash, grains, greens, and an anchovy sauce. I'm missing a few ingredients, I'm sure. But just take my word for it: It was delicious. Even Conservative Hubby thought so.

Then came the main course: grilled chicken with a tomatillo-cilantro cream, accompanied by fresh-picked potatoes, carrots, and squash from the farm. The tomatillo sauce was a recipe one of the chefs from Lincoln Land picked up while training with Rick Bayless. Talk about a fellow that knows what he's doing ...

You might think that the dinner couldn't possibly get any better at this point but, alas, you'd be wrong. Because, of course, we had dessert.

For those who could indulge, it started with a little jar of sweet dessert wine.

And it ended with a taste of heaven: homemade sweet corn ice cream on a (still-warm) waffle, drizzled with fresh honey and topped with a piece of honeycomb.

All I can say is: Wow. I never in a million years would have thought to try sweet corn ice cream, but I sure am glad I did. And fresh honeycomb? And a waffle? It doesn't get any better.

So there you have it. A day that filled Conservative Hubby with dread ended up being pretty darn good. We drove home to L-Town totally satisfied and happy and agreed that if our schedules allow we will be at the next Farm to Fork dinner.

Who's with us?

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