A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to have dinner at a wonderful event, Feast of the Fields, hosted by River Creek Farms. They have property that has a rock barn that was built in 1876. They have cleaned the barn up and a few times a year they host a dinner prepared by a local chef. The weather was perfect, the sunset beautiful, the meal delicious, and most of all the company and conversation was grand.
I attended this meal as a CommonGround volunteer. Our guests were local dietitians, market manager of the local farmer’s market, chefs, and bloggers.
The evening started as we prepared small gifts for our guests in the old chicken coop. The Mertz family pointed out that how the nesting boxes were built into the walls, and talked of caring for his 4-H hog in this area when he was in high school. As the flute and violin music began, the wine and appetizers were served. Once all the guests had arrived, the Mertz family shared the history of their 4th generation family farm. There family is similar to many other farm families that I know. Their parents are now retired. Years ago, their mother was very involved with the placement of the signs across Kansas that tell how many people each Kansas farm feeds ~ over 128 people plus you in case you’re wondering! One brother primarily cares for the cattle. The other brother primarily cares for the crops. They share their labor back and forth as needed.
Bob Mertz talked about some of his world travels, and how it’s struck him that in the United States we are so fortunate to not only have an abundant supply of food, but to have the standards in place to ensure the safety of our food. I have thought of this numerous times. What would our food system look like if we relied upon importing our food from around the world? We’re concerned about the fluctuations in gas prices based upon peacefulness in some part of the world, what if we had to worry about that with our food too? What if our food did not have standards established by the FDA or USDA? I just don’t know if I would like what that would look like?
But back to this wonderful evening… After the family shared a little about their farm, we proceeded into the rock barn for an amazing meal and wonderful conversation. Dinner was served at two long tables, and all of the food was served family style. The Kansas State University students majoring in Hospitality Management served us. The meal started with a beautiful pumpkin soup and pork belly bite served with a sparkling white wine. Next a beet and spinach salad served with white wine. Then the most tender beef medallions with roasted vegetables served with a red wine ~ perfect match! Lastly, “sophisticated s’mores” with a dessert wine. I would love to know how they got the chocolate layer to stay hard with the warm toasted marshmellows on top. The crust was oh-so-yummy.
Did I mention the conversation? I sat with a local blogger MamaDweeb, love her blog, lots of great conversation about social issues as well as mama issues! Another one of our guests is a dietitian at a local fitness center, Maximum Performance. As expected, her most frequent concern of her clients is what they can eat to lose weight. We also sat next to the people who operate Prairie Fire Winery. Their wine was served with the appetizers, and I recommend it! There was also a delightful couple who were celebrating their 6 month anniversary. She shared that while her kids were growing up they would vacation near universities, mentioning that they often offer cheap entertainment, and it’s a great introduction to different universities. Wish I would have thought of that a few years ago!
A lovely evening filled with wonderful conversation and food. Who could ask for more?