At the absolutely amazing second-annual Brighton Farm to Table Experience on Sept. 20, 2014, good things were in abundance. From a Growers’ Gathering of local farmers to a six-course dinner planned and executed (with a lot of help) by Cateraid owner, chef, and foodie extraordinaire Randy Robinson, this was an event on the harvest calendar that made 240 attendees very happy, despite a bout of pounding rain. Consider a few menu highlights, like black bean and pumpkin empandadas with Little Diablo salsa, fresh egg linguini with garlic scapes and pistachio pesto, roasted lamb with fattoush salad brimming with fresh mint…. mmmm, it’s nice to just even think about it again.
The crowning touch was a dessert of spiced apple cake and brandied Michigan cherries topped with sweet whipped cream flavored by culinary lavender grown at the new Nellie’s Lavender Farm in Napoleon (near Grass Lake). Blossoms of the deep purple lavender were on display at the Growers’ Gathering before dinner, and tasting the dessert proved claims that culinary lavender has a more aromatic and less soapy taste than the garden variety we grow in Michigan. I plan to visit this farm next summer when the flowers are in bloom. In the meantime we can enjoy the pictures athttps://www.facebook.com/NelliesLavenderFarm .
Before the crowd sat down to dinner, a few words were spoken by organizers, including Claudia Roblee, owner of ArtVentures framing gallery in Brighton. The sommelier for the event, Paul Hannah of Just Grape Juice, proclaimed in a booming voice, “This is a chance to talk to the people who grow your food–I hope you’ll walk up to one of them tonight and say thank you.”
That suggestion was in my mind this morning as I strolled through the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, and learned that this was a good harvest year for apples, and corn in the husk is slowing down, etc. It’s such a privilege and thrill to get to talk to folks who grow our food. I find they’re very generous with tips for home gardeners, samples, and info about what they do.
I do appreciate access to local food, and the occasional reminders not to take it for granted.