Sit Down to an Al Fresco Farm Dinner This Summer
Experience the farm-to-table revolution first hand! Outdoor dining on farms across the country is booming and fresh-from-the-garden produce is the star of the show.
Photo By: Kelly Ann Photography
Photo By: Jim Devevan for Outstanding in the Field
Photo By: J.Ashley Photography
Photo By: Jim Devevan for Outstanding in the Field
Photo By: Harley Farms
Photo By: Secret Supper
Photo By: Michelle Parr Paulson for Dinners at the Farm
Photo By: Eva Deitch, courtesy of Glynwood.
Photo By: JW Marriott Grand Rapids
Photo By: Cloth & Flame: Kate Nelle Photography
Milton's Garden Dinner
The farm-to-table movement is all about bringing fresh vegetables, fruits and dairy products and locally raised meats to households and local restaurants and eliminating long-distance food transportation. It is also inspiring variations on the concept with numerous farms and gardens across the U.S. hosting community dinners where the food is grown and harvested.
Located in Crabapple, Georgia, Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails hosts seasonal dinners every spring and fall in their garden. This straight-from-the-vine dining experience includes hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, a four-course meal and wine accompanied by live music.
A recent dinner featured classical music played by a cellist in the garden during the cocktail hour. An exquisite farm-to-table dinner followed, of dandelion green and baby spinach salad, mushroom crepes with grilled ramps and cream sauce and spice rubbed Wagyu flank with a bright avocado chimichurri and grilled corn and heirloom tomato succotash. The menu featured produce grown on the property as well as regionally-sourced Thomasville Tomme cheese and Georgia's Loud Mouth Farms mushrooms. Beautiful place-settings with a sprig of rosemary and the chance to pass family-style platters for the main course and connect with a fun group of diners in the summer air made for an especially memorable experience.
Outstanding in the Field
One of the leaders and pioneers in the booming farm dinner movement is Outstanding in the Field which hosts multi-course meals composed by a guest chef in an outdoor kitchen on farms across America and around the world such as this event at Jolie Vue Farms in Independence, Texas.
Art Over Dinner at Serenbe
Just outside Atlanta, Serenbe is mixed-used pastoral development with charming shops and homes and a thriving agricultural community including a 25-acre farm, thriving CSA program and year-round cultural events. Art Over Dinner at Serenbe brings together artists and art organizations for intimate outdoor dinners utilizing ingredients sourced from local farmers and growers and prepared by guest chefs.
Al Fresco Dining at Devil's Gulch Ranch
An Outstanding in the Field event can take place practically anywhere - a vegetable farm, an olive grove, an urban garden, a seashore or a ranch - and allows the diners to share a community meal with local food growers and the farmer who is hosting the meal on his property such as this scenic get-together at Devil’s Gulch Ranch in Nicasio, California. Wine or beer is usually paired with the courses and the events are geared toward adventurous adult diners with no dietary restrictions.
Farm-made goods are a specialty at Harley Farms, a goat dairy operation in Pescadero, California. Farm tours are available, you can shop at their farm store or you can attend one of their unique dinner events spotlighting their local cuisine and culinary skills.
Situated in Portland, Oregon, Secret Supper features a unique concept masterminded by Danielle Firle and Eva Kosmas Flores. The pop-up dining experience is a secret until 24 hours before the event and can magically appear in the middle of a forest, on a seashore or inside a rustic barn. The five course meal spotlighting locally sourced ingredients is crafted to match the season, place and theme such as this scenic location at Mt. View Orchards.
Dinners at the Farm
In New England one of the more successful farm-to-table operations is Dinners at the Farm, which launched in 2007 and is headquartered in Chester, Connecticut. Celebrating the local traditions of farming, fishing and eating fresh food, Dinners at the Farm brings multi-course feasts to various Connecticut communities and serves them off the back of their red vintage 1955 Ford F-600 truck.
Glynwood Farm Dinners
Farmers, growers, chefs and local residents in the Hudson Valley come together to support and enjoy locally grown food at Glynwood in Cold Spring, New York. While the organization is famous for their farm dinners, they also offer farm tours, workshops on such practices as preserving and canning and special events like community picnics, dances and an annual Burger night featuring grass-fed, Animal Welfare Approved, pasture-raised beef.
Lucky Star Farms
Some cities in agricultural areas around the U.S. are also getting involved in the locavore movement like Grand Rapids where the JW Marriott offers chef-guided tours of local farms such as Lucky Star Farms which includes a multi-course dinner prepared on-site.
Cloth & Flame
It’s all about location with Cloth & Flame, an Arizona-based outfit that bills itself as a wilderness and outdoor dining company. Although this is a different model of the farm to table movement, the accent is still on locally grown food and allows diners to escape their daily work routines and experience al fresco dining amid wild landscapes like this event at Oak Creek in Sedona. Cloth & Flame also donate 10 per cent of every dinners’ proceeds to coalitions that work to preserve migratory routes and wild places in the U.S.