Ramble On

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Farm-to-Table with Page County Grown

This year's Page County Grown farm-to-table dinner was on August 13 at the Mimslyn Inn - we've been hunkered down with the hops harvest and I didn't get to post about it yet.  In fact as I write this I'm about to head over to the farm to do some more packing, but first I'll get caught up on the dinner today.

Mary and I have been attending the dinner since 2011 - although that first year she stayed home because of a storm.  It's really one of the center pieces of the summer social season out here in the Valley - an opportunity to enjoy a well-prepared dinner, shared with friends, in a pretty wonderful setting.  I look forward to it every year.

When it was first organized, Page County Grown coupled the dinner event with a farm tour.  However, for the last few years, the tour has been scheduled to coincide with the Page County Century bicycle ride.  Last year Hawksbill Hop Yards partnered with Public House Produce at David and Heather's farm to form a stop on the tour.

So that's a brief history of the event, now back to the dinner.  This year, chef Chris put together a five course dinner, shown on the menu to the right.  After a cocktail hour the diners all made their way to circa '31, the Mimslyn's upstairs dining room.

Each of the courses includes a locally-sourced ingredient and we are fortunate to have a couple of proteins available.  Lamb was featured in the first course, prepared in a terrine.  It was an eye-opening preparation for me - I'll grill lamb when the mood strikes, and Mary has some wonderful recipes for roasts - I guess I'm always surprised by some alternative approach that comes together for this dinner.

Course two was the eggplant and green tomato stack - done up with panko and a corn relish.  It made for a nice vegetable pause in the festivities, and preceded what is one of my favorites - the pasta course.

This year's pasta course did not disappoint by a long shot.  It was a sweet corn ravioli - I've got a photo of it below.

Last year the restaurant in my office building featured a sweet corn ravioli lunch plate during the summer.  Alas, that chef left and the special did not return this summer.  I really enjoyed that one and had it a couple of times.

Everyone at my table liked chef Chris's version - I think this was the quietest moment of the evening while we all dug in.

There is traditionally a palate cleanser between these warm-up courses and the main course.  This year, that was a frozen concoction made of local berries.  Now we were set up for the braised beef - featuring a roast from Skyline Premium Meats - and our friends the Burners.

For a couple of years running there was a barbeque contest in Page County, and I was one of Jared Burner's pit crew.  So just before the main course rolled out I went over to talk with Jared about the potential of getting our team back together for some competitions in the future.  We still might - but that will take a little planning, so it was back to the dinner.

The roast was simply top notch, and plate had all the complements you might expect with a beef dish.  Another quiet moment at our table while we enjoyed the course.

And finally, desert, which again featured local berries, this time plump, juicy blackberries.

One of the things that sets this event off for me is that the meal includes wine pairings from Wisteria, our neighbors Sue and Moussa in the Valley.  We had tastings of the Chardonnay, Seyval, Viognier, Petit Verdot, and Velvet - this last a rose blend.  Everything hit the mark in this well coordinated presentation.

Personally, I asked for a refill on the Petit Verdot, due to my great thirst.

As the evening came to an end, Mary and I found ourselves a little sad that the 2016 version had come to an end.  We'd simply run out of courses this time.  Even so, we knew that we had the 2017 event to look forward to - you can bet we'll be back!

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