There are still a handful of tickets left for the July 21 not-to-be-missed culinary event of the summer: A five-course wine and beer-paired dinner with live music and special guest speakers—all in the evening sunshine at Field’s Farm on the eastside.
This first-of-its kind Farm to Fork dinner in Central Oregon will feature a cornucopia of fresh organic veggies, locally produced cheeses and locally raised meats paired with a 10 Barrel brew and three of Maragas Winery’s Central Oregon-produced wines.
To sweeten the deal, the meal will be prepared under the skillful direction of Chef T.R. McCrystal of Jen’s Garden, and coordinated by the Ashland-based Farm to Fork Event Company.
Although this is their first event in Bend, Farm to Fork Director Mathew Domingo and co-founder Erin Dougherty have been spearheading gourmet food and wine events like this for three years now.
“We have family in Bend and have been coming here for years,” said Domingo. “We love the area and after friends recommended we get in touch with Jim Fields and Chef T.R., we decided, ‘Why not do what we do in Portland and Southern Oregon here in Bend.'”
Having dined at Jen’s Garden for an exceptional anniversary dinner, and after seeing the perfect rows of organic veggies and the blue-green pastures at Fields Farm in the slanting evening sunshine, I am already daydreaming of swirling my wine and savoring the freshest and fanciest meal of the summer.
Farm to Fork’s unique approach to planning events does not begin with profit projections, but with the respectable mission to “engage the public in the local food movement and demonstrate how important it is to preserve farmland and support local agriculture.”
For each event they plan, they apply all gratuities to a deserving community entity that shares their goal. I took a visit to Fields Farm last week to check out the planned space for the event and to do a little snooping in the greenhouses.
Jim Fields came out to greet me and began to tell me proudly how excited he was to be hosting this event and I could see why—his mission and Farm to Fork’s are perfectly aligned.
“Farming here is not just a business for us—it’s really more of a way of life,” he said.
SETTING THE STAGE
Live music from the indie-folk band Greenish Grey will entertain guests as the festivities get going, and again as the evening winds down.
In between courses, guest speakers—“celebrities,” as Domingo calls them, from Jim Fields and the other farmers and cheese producers, to the chef, winemaker and brewmaster—will tell the stories of why they do what they do and how their efforts enrich our community. Speaking of which, all gratuities from the evening will go to the Central Oregon Food Policy Council for programs like their “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” campaign.
But onto the food. The five-course menu was created in the style of Jen’s Garden, where multi-course wine-paired dinners are plated with flair. The thoughtful preparation and attention to detail will surprise you, no matter how well-traveled your fork may be. McCrystal proved his dominance over the Central Oregon cuisine scene a few years back at the Bite of Bend, winning the iron chef competition hands down.
For this event, McCrystal is focusing the five, drink-paired courses on showcasing Fields Farm produce, locally raised Dancing Cow Farms beef and locally produced cheeses from Juniper Grove and Cada Dia.
But, as Farm to Fork Director Domingo says, “The menu is subject to mother nature.” Final tweaks may be made the day before, depending on whether the raspberries are ripe, the carrots have plumped up to spec, and what’s looking more fabulous that day—the Lacinado kale or the Swiss chard.
But here’s the game plan:
The appetizer is expected to be a Lavender-Juniper Grove Goat Cheese tart with grape salsa and Cada Dia Cheddar. To accompany this muse course, Jimmy Seifrit, brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing, will be serving a not-yet-released crisp lemon Kolsch.
As a first course, fresh Oregon bay shrimp will adorn an heirloom tomato consommé.
For the main course, McCrystal will roast Dancing Cow Farms beef, and serve it next to oil poached Fields Farm new potatoes with balsalmic braised greens and a Camp Sherman Store mushroom Jus.
The salad course will be a yet-to-be-determined assortment of fresh greens studded with wheat berries. This will likely be followed by a trois crèmes caramel cake with a strawberry-rhubarb compote for dessert.
Doug Maragas of Culver’s Maragas Winery will be pairing three of their wines with the meal, hopefully including their honey-sweet dessert wine with the final course.
Whew! What a line-up. And for just $75 a person, to the 160 lucky guests who will sit at the long banquette table on the green oatgrass pasture at Fields Farm taking in amazing local food, wine, beer and peek-a-boo views of the mountains, it will feel like a steal.
Fields Farm Dinner