Dinner on the Farm features local chefs cooking local food on local farms
Eating, drinking, and hanging out with good company is really what summer in Minnesota is all about. There's nothing like sparking the grill in the backyard or packing up a basket of goodies and trucking down to the beach for a day of relaxation and slow grazing. Couple that concept with some seriously talented local chefs, high quality, locally produced ingredients, and a captivating setting that needs to be seen to be believed -- and you have Monica Walch's Dinner on the Farm dining series.
Dinner on the Farm is a summer dinner series that pairs local chefs with local brewers on local farms. The idea is fairly straightforward, but the experience is one not to be missed. We had the opportunity to check out an event at Little Foot Farms in Afton, Minnesota, that featured chefs Dan Stepaniak and Chad Townsend from St. Paul's Heartland Farm Direct Market as well as the Lucette Brewing company from Menomonie, Wisconsin.
Diners line up for a farm feast
One of the things that makes Dinner on the Farm truly special is that it really manages to capture that classic romantic feel. You can easily hunker down on a blanket with a significant other and just take in the scenic farm view or you can bring the entire family for a good old-fashioned community-style get together.
Dinner on the Farm does an excellent job of being extremely kid-friendly while not being intrusive to couples out for a quite evening alone. A few adults grumbled about wait time on the food, but it was in terms of how surprised they were that the kids were having enough fun to not notice. The event started at 5 p.m. with food service starting closer to 7 p.m. The in-between time was filled with farm tours and general playtime during which the children and adults seemed to enjoy themselves a great deal.
The menu for the event was a classic whole-hog barbecue. Diners feasted on a succulent roasted pig served with a variety of side dishes including a crisp and fresh broccoli salad, a creamy slaw consisting of a wide variety of seasonal veggies, and rich, slow-cooked beans studded with hunks of lamb bacon. Dinner was served family style, and everybody took turns helping themselves to the evening's bounty while being treated to live music.
This year, Dinner on the Farm asks event goers to provide their own plate-ware and utensils in an effort to help make the event zero waste.
After dinner, there was a bonfire. Several guests took to dancing while the band continued to jam, and the kids played on while the sun slowly set on the horizon at the edge of the field. We left just before dark, but from the looks of things, people were still enjoying themselves. All in all, it really was a beautiful event, and it truly pays homage to the importance of the roles that food and community play in our lives.
Unfortunately the July and August events already appear to be sold out, but there's still time to get in on the September event out at Featherstone Farm. For more information on upcoming events and to learn more about Dinner on the Farm, visit their website.