Sunday, May 8, 2011

Farm-to-Fork Dinner at Whispering Winds Farm

I'm really excited about this farm-to-fork event at Whispering Winds Farm in Skagit Valley on July 16th.

After 30 years of organic gardening, Char and Doug Byde started Whispering Winds Farm in 2004 with a goal to offer reasonably priced organic produce to the community. In 2005 they started a seasonal CSA. Check out the organic vegetables pictured on the flyer. Those vibrant specimens all came from the farm.

This farm-to-fork dinner is an old-fashioned casual get-to-know-your-farm-neighbors event, with music, door prizes and delicious food fresh from the fields. Tickets are available for $45.00 each.

I know July might sound too far away right now; but once the weather warms up here in the Northwest, July is just around the corner.

I met with farmer Char Byde last week and she gave me the low down on all the important details for this event, some of which are still getting organized like who will supply the hard cider or wine. I was hoping Rockridge Orchards could supply the hard cider but due to a soggy spring, Rockridge Orchards could run out of hard cider before summer's end. (A story for another time, I think.)

I digress. The feast that will be served in stages at 4, 5 and 6pm. Here's the menu so far:

Halibut patties (grilled, I think)

Carrots with Fennel and Hazelnuts

Romanesco with Northwest Berry Vinegar

Strawberry shortcake

Hard cider, wine or lemonade (still in the planning stages)

The vegetable recipes are adapted from my book, which will be sold there. Devra Gartenstein author of 2 amazing vegetarian cookbooks, host of the monthy Humble Feast dinners, cooking instructor at PCC Natural Markets, chef at the Patty Pan Grill (at the Ballard Market) and blogger at Quirky Gourmet-- a solid resume for a farm chef.

Who doesn't love the Patty Pan Grill--the best tamales, veggie quesadillas and salsa at the market?

I put a few flyers for the event on the table at the University District market and as I set them down, I realized this was the perfect place for it because people who shop the markets look for these kinds of events. I think they need to be smaller and I can probably put them at all the markets.

I set Whispering Winds farm event announcement next to a tiny flyer for Nash Huber's barn dance this coming weekend. (See it in yellow under the lady bug?) That's another fun event to check out for this coming weekend. My advice for the barn dance is get there early because it will be packed.

Speaking of barns, this is where the farm dinner will be held. Our mutual friends, Sheila and Brad Zahnow took pictures of Char and Doug's farm and when they submitted photos to my book editors, they picked the barn. I wrote a sidebar called "Blogging Farmers," about Char and Doug's farm and last summer I got to see the farm in person. That's when Char mentioned throwing this dinner party for the community. It was just a pipe dream then.

It's interesting the way you meet some people and it's like you've known them forever. That's how how I feel about Char-- her sense of humor, sense of ethics and honesty and empathy for all the animals she takes in and cares for.

"How many dogs do you have Char?" I'd asked her recently.

"Three," she'd said. Then she told me about her chickens, the newest additon to her farm brood.

Check this post about the rescue chickens that Brad and Sheila gave her.

Whispering Winds Farm is a quirky organic vegetable farm, among all the dairy farms in Skagit Valley, and Char does most of the farming and packing up the CSA boxes. Doug has a full time job in Marysville and he does a lot of work evenings and weekends.

Speaking of the weekend, I can't think of a better way to spend a summer weekend than to attend this farm-to-fork dinner. I hope lots of people come out to Skagit Valley to meet the proud owners and farmers at this fairly new organic vegetable farm.

Tickets for the dinner are available through Char, so call or email her. She decided not to go with a middleman like brown paper tickets because they take a share of the ticket and boost the price.

Did I mention you can do self-guided farm tours at this event? Meet alpacas, rabbits, cats and dogs. Oh and I'll be there and I'm also putting together some cool gift baskets for door prizes. I've got a cookbook basket, a local authors' basket and I'm thinking about creating a local wine and chocolate basket and Char is gathering giveaways as prizes, too.

We'll do our best to insure the sun is out, but rain or shine, this is one event to put on your calendars. Hope to see you there!

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