27 July 2011

Farm to Fork

Every once in a while, you get to witness something special—and if you’re really lucky, you realize it while it is happening.  This was definitely the case for the 100 or so guests that gathered at Wealth Underground Farm on a recent Saturday evening for Farm to Fork Events’ first Portland area farm dinner.

The evening began with guests milling about the farm sipping glasses Pinot Noir Rosé from Teutonic Wines and nibbling on a trio of seasonal bites prepared by Chef David Padberg of Park Kitchen. The crowd gathered to listen to the host farmers share stories both inspirational and entertaining about life on the farm before wandering uphill through tidy rows of beets, lettuces and raspberries to arrive at a clearing in the woods.

[slideshow]There, the guests were seated at communal tables set with mismatched china and softly glowing kerosene lamps.  Farmers, families and food lovers became fast friends while passing family-style platters of Salad Nicoise—buttery slabs of local albacore, crisp green beans, cherry tomatoes, olives and fingerling potatoes—and rabbit stuffed with duck sausage on a bed of quinoa studded with fresh peas, resting on a pool of vibrant orange carrot puree, the majority of which was sourced locally and even directly from the very grounds we dined on.

As each of the evening’s speakers took the microphone—Mayor Sam Adams, the hosts, the farmers, the winemakers, Chef Padberg—all spoke of our good fortune to live in a region of such agricultural bounty and to have residents that are passionate about local food grown, raised and prepared with care.

When David Sweet of Fresh Exchange spoke about his belief that every resident should have access to this very bounty we were all celebrating, diners showed their support by donating nearly $700 dollars to the program, which matches SNAP food stamp dollars for low income residents to purchase fresh, local food at our King and Buckman Markets.

Farm to Fork creator Matthew Domingo and Portland Farmers Market share a common goal: building connections—connection to the food on our plates, to the earth, to our community, to our local farmers, producers, winemakers and chefs.  That is the secret ingredient, the little touch of magic that you will experience both at these dinners and at our markets.

To purchase tickets to an upcoming Portland area Farm to Fork dinner, please click here.  You’ll be glad you did.  Seats are still available for August 13 at Dancing Roots Farm in Troutdale, August 20 at Square Peg Farm in Forest Grove and September 17 at Gaining Ground Farm in Yamhill.  Fresh Exchange will also be the beneficiary at the dinner held at Square Peg Farm (a PFM vendor).

Kudos to Matthew and the hardworking Farm to Fork team for an inspiring evening!