Driving through Wellington County was a perfect depiction of what fall means to me. Yes, it�s a tad early to mention the changing of seasons but the winding roads surrounded by massive trees with their leaves changing colour was completely picturesque. I�ll admit it, I love fall.
The hint of fall in the air can only mean that harvest time is here again as well as this year�s Taste Real Field Dinner, which was hosted by Thatcher Farms in the Township of Guelph/Eramosa. The Field Dinner was a showcasing of ingredients from local farms and purveyors, as well as handcrafted food and drinks, prepared by the region�s finest chefs.
As I explored the grounds of Thatcher Farms, live local musicians welcomed us to the festivities as well as appetizers from Chef Scotty Cooks� Bistro Tour Food Truck. We were served a Lamb, Fig & Brie gnocchi poutine made with local ingredients of course!
In years past, the Field Dinner was a much more formal affair, taking place on one large beautifully decorated dining table in the farm field. This year�s layout reinvention created an environment in which people were encouraged to chat with farmers, chefs, producers and all guests throughout the day. It also allowed guests to engage in the different activities occurring throughout the afternoon; wagon rides, animal viewing, wine, beer & cider sampling (from Pommies Dry Cider and Burning Kiln Winery- to name a few), Herb Sensory Workshop with Drumlin Farm, Fall DA�cor Workshop with Creative Edge and a Live Painting of the dinner by Laurie Wonfor-Nolan. This year�s event was much more family friendly, encouraging guests to bring their children along for the day so that they too could experience and learn about the importance of local food.
Most importantly, it was a celebration of the bounty of the harvest. And celebrate we did. Our dinner began with Handcrafted Bread from Enver�s of Morriston and a Garden Fresh Salad w/ Roasted Fennel, Cinnamon Walnuts and Herbed Concord Grape Sauce by Chef Elena Tochev from Terra Et Silva with ingredients from Ignatius Farm and Jewels Under the Kilt. There were a multitude of options for the main course � or in my case, an opportunity to try everything on the menu!
The ten entrA�es included Handcrafted Sausage by Chefs Cori and John Sloot from The Harvest Table; Grilled Local Vegetable Salad with Balsamic Dressing by Chef Natalina Campagnolo from La Cucina di Natalina, with ingredients from Reroot Organic Farm and Market Fresh; Certified Organic Cultured Sauerkrauts & Kimchi by Chef Josh Whitehead from Green Table Foods with ingredients from Bowman Organic Produce and Pfenning�s Organic Farm; Whole, Spit-Roasted Lamb by Chef Michael Potters from Carver�s Block and the lamb provided by our host Thatcher Farms; Whole, Spit-Roasted Pig prepared by Chef Jeritt Raney from Breadalbane Inn, Scozia � the area�s first Feast ON restaurant! � our generous hosts Thatcher Farms provided the pig as well; Edamame Succotash with Peppers, Onions, Corn & Tomatoes provided by Drumlin Farm and Strom�s Farm and prepared by Chef Scott Yates of Chef Scotty Cooks; Lamb Meatballs with Grilled Eggplant, Beer Barley & Red Pepper Couli prepared by Chef Micky Kent from Borealis Bar & Grille with the ingredients provided by Circle R. Livestock and Reroot Organic Farm and Marinated, Grilled Parsnip with Romanesco Sauce & Monforte Toscano by Chef Jeff Sample of Chef Sample.
If that wasn�t delectable enough, we were also lucky enough to indulge in some sinful local desserts! We were served Butter tarts from the Kenilworth Country Kitchen, which included nuts from Jewels Under the Kilt. Market Fresh�s Own Rustic Peach and Wild Blueberry Crumble, which was served by April Hodgson of Market Fresh. The crumble included Niagara Peaches, Northern Ontario Wild Blueberries and Oak Manor Oats. The crumble was topped with Vanilla ice cream from Mapleton�s Organic and Fresh strawberries from Butt�s Berry Farm.
More than stuffing my face with the magnificent feast, I was able to connect with the local farmers, artisans and guests � who each brought their own local food story to the table. The harvest table, that is.
About Guelph-Wellington, Taste-Real
Launched in 2011, taste?real began as the new branding initiative of Guelph Wellington Local Food developed to support local businesses, farms and producers who are passionate about the way local food is grown, prepared, presented and enjoyed, and how real it tastes!