Farm To Fork, Foodies And Farmers Together At Last
By Sarah Lemon
With restaurants the stage and menus the script for “farm-to-table” cuisine, local diners often relate to farmers only as bit characters in the cast.
Starting next week, farmers and consumers will play roles in the same scene for a new dinner series that runs through November. Founders of “Farm to Fork” are bringing their tables to the farm, their kitchen to the food and farmers and customers together for a meal.
If you go
What: Farm to Fork, a dinner series featuring local foods on the farms and ranches that grew and produced them. A portion of proceeds benefit Rogue Valley Farm to School and Friends of Family Farmers. Events are planned on Saturdays and begin at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $60, but additional donations are encouraged.
When and Where: June 26, Dunbar Farms, 612 Pierce Road, Medford; July 31, Restoration Farm, 1133 Old Siskiyou Highway, Ashland; Aug. 28, Happy Dirt Veggie Patch, 100 Eagle Mill Road, Ashland; Sept. 11, Blackberry Lane, 2926 Lower River Road, Grants Pass; Oct. 9, Rogue Valley Brambles, 6764 Tarry Lane, Talent; Nov. 6, Dunbar Farms.
For more information and reservations: See the website www.farmtoforkevents.com or call 503-473-3952.
“Meeting the farmer is kind of the first step, and then meeting the land … is even more enriching,” says Kristen Lyon, personal chef and Farm to Fork organizer.
Lyon, 31, enriched clients’ food experience last year with help from Lori Campbell, owner of Blackberry Lane farm in Grants Pass. The two hosted an August event for about 40 people, who received five courses comprising the herbs, berries, edible flowers and specialty vegetables Campbell sells to local restaurants. The response was so favorable that Lyon and Campbell planned a series of six such farm dinners this year.
by: Christine Collier
Three Oregon wineries have made the “Hot Brand” list in previous years: A to Z in 2006, Willamette Valley Vineyards in 2007 and Domaine Drouhin last year. We are fortunate that with more than6,000 wineries in the U.S. and less than 500 in Oregon that our wineries are so well represented on this prestigious list.
A group of 15 guests gathered at the Folin Cellars Carlton Tasting Room at 6 p.m. to kick off the night with a “Soter-Pop” as Rob Folin, winemaker, titled the Soter Vineyards Brut Rosé. Chris and I were running late, as always, because I over gabbed at our last commitment and didn’t know Chris couldn’t teleport us to the event. Then, to continue our traditions, we got lost, had no cell service, bickered about how this was so “like us,” got back on track, talked ourselves into having a great night and walked through the door. The Soter-Pop instantly cheered us up as did the Wild Muchroom Crosstinis, Prosciutto Truffle Butter Breadsticks and Garlic and Rosemary Goat Cheese that Carole Stevens, Folin’s sales and marketing powerhouse turned chef, prepared.
The evening continued as we were ushered across the street to the quaint Carlton Loft where dinner was being held. We were greeted by the 2007 Viognier, which is always a delightful welcome.
The meal started with Duck Confit Salad with Shaved Truffles and Dijon Vinaigrette paired with the 2008 Mourvédre. This wine is typically used as a blending grape in his GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvédre), but Rob bottled just 25 cases as a Wine Club special. I loved the buttery smell on this wine. Chris informed me the smell, reminiscent of movie theater butter, is diacetyl, a product of lactic acid bacteria… Mmm-Mmm… delicious! We later tried the GSM that incorporated that gorgeous nose, while finishing a bit sweeter.
How To Love The Heartbreak Grape
Pinot noir is a very fickle grape, requiring the utmost attention and respect in every phase of the winemaking process. Winemakers are the first to testify to this, claiming that grapes that have been handled too much can end up making wines that lack flavor and harmony.
Clearly, Pinot noir is a risky (and more expensive) proposition for the winegrower, the winemaker, and the wine drinker. But it is precisely this high-stakes gamble that makes pinot noir all the more alluring and rewarding.
There is much debate as to the origins of the variety, although one currently popular theory is that the Pinot noir grape is an offspring of Pinot meunier and Gewurztraminer. This union helps explain the characteristics behind the beloved Pinot noir. As author Stuart Pigot notes in Planet Wine, “Pinot meunier gave Pinot noir its bright, berry aromas and initial charm, while Gewurztraminer its silkiness, extravagance, nobility, and fickleness.”
The name Pinot Noir is derived from the French words for “pine” and “black” in reference to the varietals’ tightly clustered dark purple cone-shaped bunches of grapes. Therefore, Pinot noir refers both to the grape varietal as well as the wine that it produces. The skin of the Pinot noir grape is relatively thin, making it a tricky, albeit rewarding, candidate for wine production.
As mentioned by Karen MacNeil in The Wine Bible, “Winemakers adopt a minimalist approach, and often a percentage of the grapes is not crushed. Instead, whole grapes are put directly into the fermenting tanks, which also helps maximize fruity flavors in the wine. To keep those fruit flavors dominant, many wine-makers are also extremely careful and sparing in their use of new oak for aging.”
Oregon, inspired by the similar climate characteristics of Burgundy, staked its reputation on Pinot noir with much success. Thanks to ocean fog, California has shown that it too has no shortage of spots cool enough to keep Pinot grapes on the vine as they develop fine fruity flavors and texture. Notable Pinot regions in California include Los Carneros, the Russian River Valley in Sonoma and Santa Maria north of Santa Barbara.
Pinot noir is what put Oregon on the map internationally, and is the most planted in the state by far. Wineries in Oregon tend to be small family affairs. Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot gris follow. Oregon has no such thing as cheap, bulk wine. The climate is distinctly cloudy and cool, especially in the Willamette Valley where most of the wineries are clustered. This gentle climate, which highly resembles that of Burgundy, allows for wines of good acidity and balance, moderate alcohol, and an ideal degree of flavor.
Love Pinot? Check out the International Pinot Noir Celebration!
Summer Wine Reads: Johnson, Hugh. The World Atlas of Wine, Ed. 4. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994; MacNeil, Karen. The Wine Bible. New York: Workman Publishing, 2001; Pigott, Stuart. Planet Wine. London: Mitchell Beazley, 2004; Robinson, Jancis. Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course. London: BBC Books, 1995.
Willamette Valley’s Farm To Fork Foraging Yields Deliciousness
Farm To Fork at Willamette Valley’s Inn At Red Hills is a model of locally sourced, sustainable cuisine.
Ingredients used for the fresh, daily menus come from within 200 miles of the town of Dundee, where the restaurant is located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, just outside of Portland. The Inn’s own farm at deLancellotti Vineyards provides most of the fresh, seasonal fruit used in the dishes and desserts.
Executive Chef, Paul Bachand has developed his own local sourcing program that ensures quality, freshness and sustainability while his kitchen provides an ever-changing menu that follows the seasons. Farm To Fork highlights the finest and freshest ingredients from local growers.
Chef Bachand, has had years of making friendships with local foragers, fishermen, farmers and ranchers which has allowed him to prepare creative yet simple dishes such as Seared Wild Diver Scallops and Braised leg of Clatskanie Rabbit.
Connie Paskavan, Farm To Fork’s pastry chef whose training is rooted in french baking, invites you to enjoy the fruits of her labor daily. The bakery features gems like artisan stuffed croissants, pastries, desserts, cakes & tortes, cookies, and pies. You can grab a cup of Portland Roasting Company’s Organic Coffee while you’re there.
Their Farmhouse breakfast with eggs, bacon/sausage and house made potatoes or lemon poppyseed pancackes with fresh strawberries and chantilly cream will also beckon you as you rise for the day.
Farm To Fork’s Deli features the ‘Cheese Case’ which offers treasures from many local Oregon creameries in addition to classics from around the world. “Artisan Cheese from the Pacific Northwest”, authored by Tami Parr of the Oregon Cheese Guild, can be found on their shelves.
Gourmet goods and special treasures abound in the deli market that are local to the area such as delicacies made with local hazelnuts, also locally sourced olive oil, spreads, homemade jams and sweet, organic honey.