Sunday, July 17, 2011

Whispering Winds Farm: The First Annual Farm Dinner

It was pouring just an hour before I got to Whispering Winds Farm for the first annual farm-to-fork dinner. Char and Doug were buzzing around taking care of last minute details as the wind picked up and the weather seemed iffy at best. It wasn't just cold and rainy, the wind can really pick up speed in this valley.

I can't believe it's July and I had a winter coat beside me, just in case the weather really got ugly. It rained a little on my books before I could get them undercover. I set up a table and had a bit of time to snap a few farm photos before the guests arrived. It was a staggered arrival because people signed up to eat at 4, 5 or 6pm.

Cows make up much of the scenery around the farm because Whispering Winds is a row crop vegetable farm surrounded by traditional dairy farms in Skagit Valley.

I took a picture of this in the last post, but up close I noticed the two figures in the front seat. Flowers in the back are for the party.

This is the front of the truck parked just behind the farm stand where Char says they'll have a pay-as-you-go produce stand. It will be open in another month or so. I'm putting Whispering Winds Farm stand on my list of places to go this summer.

Char printed a farm map to go with a self-guided farm tour. And as if by magic the rainy clouds disappeared and the sun came out.

Though we whine (a lot lately) about the rainy weather around here during summer, I haven't yet heard anyone ever complain that it's too green here.

I love that people were excited to visit this farm. For me, the best part about this dinner was meeting all the great people who live in this community and came together to meet Char and Doug and enjoy dinner at a farm.

Sheila and Brad Zahnow who took pictures of Char and Doug's farm for my book were there. They introduced me to Char and Doug and ultimately made this whole dinner possible.

Kathy Gehrt who wrote Discover Cooking with Lavender came to the dinner too. One lucky person won a copy of Kathy's book as a door prize. Everyone who attended had a chance to win one of the prizes. I mentioned my donations in the last post.

Deva Gartenstein also offered a few copies of her new print edition of Cavemen, Monks and Slow Food as prizes. All those door prizes made me wish I had a paid for ticket with a stub to enter. Who doesn't like a chance to win something? Everyone also each got a $5 coupon for produce from the farm. This was the best bargain for a farm dinner I've ever attended.

The music was perfect.

Dinner was served in part of the heritage barn. You could look out to meadows and another farm off in the distance.

The main course was halibut cakes. Many people wanted seconds and asked how Devra made them, so she said she'd put the recipe on her blog. Check it out and see. It's baked halibut combined with potatoes and a few seasonings. The yogurt based sauce was also a big hit.

The side dishes, Carrots with Fennel and Hazelnuts and Broccoli and Cauliflower with Northwest Raspberry Vinegar, were based on easy recipes in The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook. I love the easy way Deva put it all together. A number of people stopped to buy the book. Dinner was simply perfect and it was great swapping ideas with other hungry home chefs.

Love the bi-colored carrots. Fennel and maple syrup were meant to be with carrots.

Who can't resist cupcakes for dessert? They were from this new cupcake business in Stanwood and they sourced the strawberries locally.

The wine from Pasek Cellars, a local winery near Mount Vernon. I love this ruby colored cranberry wine. Maybe I'll include it in my next gift basket.

The sunset was stunning and after all the good food, great company, cupcakes and wine, it was hard to say goodbye.

Char said next year the event will be in August and the menu will be open to accommodate unanticipated weather conditions. Why not put this event on your calendar now for next year?

Is this Larry, Curly or Moe?

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