Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bringing the Table to the Farm - Florida style

The farm to fork dinner concept started a few years ago and has caught on wildly.  There are various companies who do this for a living spreading the joy across the country such as Outstanding in the Field.  Here on the West Coast of Florida there are a plethora of wonderful local farms who lend their fruit, fowl and endless variety of greens to many restaurants and stores.  By themselves, these delicacies are an abundance of  nutrition, earthy undertones and burst of bright colors waiting to be devoured.  Combined elegantly though they become a symphony of flavors by local chefs who draw out the best of the season on a plate.

If you are lucky, you get to enjoy this classical dance right ON the farm, IN the fields, and WITH the farmers and chef.  We were fortunate enough to book some seats at the King Family Farm and Market in Bradenton, FL where they are hosting these weekly dinners from fall through the first weekend of June with growing popularity.  They have collaborated with chef AJ Latteri who owns Loft 5 which is an amazing event company out of Amelia Island, FL. 

The evening began on their covered open air barn with a sweet welcome punch made of fresh peaches and homegrown mint.  We met the family dog and the King Family as we got to know other guests.  I spied the plethora of incredible sweet Florida onions drying nearby and knew we were in for some amazing treats this evening.  The dinners are held each Wednesday in the cooler months and max out at 20 guests so it is kept intimate yet very social. 

Before our farm tour began, I snuck over to the table being set in the cool shade with a mismatch of beautiful vintage plates ready for heaps of goodness.

 While we enjoyed our sweet punch, hand passed appetizers were brought around.... amazing Kale wrapped around pimento and bacon were the perfect green hand sized bite as we smelled the flowers and gawked at the size of some of the vegetables that had been recently harvested on the tables. 

Ben and Shelby King live and work on the farm with their growing family and love to talk about how keeping food natural, organic and local can make a difference to the community and to consumers.  Shelby and her two sons led us around the farm inviting us to pick some peaches, pet the goats and consider the changes their acres of land has seen over the years.  I had the pleasure of coming to this farm on several previous occasions including a slow food festival event with my nieces and an amazing farm to fork dinner put on by the Suncoast Food Alliance several years ago.  This venue is an incredible place to host an event or to bring the family out for a Saturday market and some u-pick freshness.

The dinner began as the sun drifted lower into the sky and candles were lit for amazing ambiance.  Even better, Trevor - a local high school senior played some great acoustics nearby selling his CDs and ensured the festive mood stayed at just the right pitch.

We began with some table side relish, aioli and rainbow radish and were passing around our BYOB wines, champagnes and beers.  A delightful surprise was the elderflower infused water jugs places around for our refreshment.  We enjoyed Harvey's Bristol cream and sweet onion tarts as an amuse bouche followed by a peach gazpacho.

 The Chef and her team worked table side to ensure all plating was consistent, hot and fresh.  Our salad course was the homegrown onions caramelized and bursting with sweetness drizzled with field greens and a honey vinaigrette.  Not to be outdone though, the palate refresher was the most incredible treat I have imagined.   Homemade Tomato Water was unbelievably refreshing and although time consuming rather easy to make.  We were lucky to find AJ's recipe on the Edible Sarasota's April newsletter here. 

The fried chicken and blueberry lemon waffles with blueberry compote was perfect for this picnic-like setting and juicy as can be!

And finally the dessert was an amazing warm apple cobbler with salted caramel.
The candlelit table and clinking of glasses of new friends and knowing there are many wondrous dinners with unique menus based on the season ahead made it so hard to leave.


Every Wednesday 5:30-8:30 { til early June}
Location: King Family Farm, Bradenton, FL
Price : $65/person & $100 for two. Tax and Tip included.
Payment: M/C- Visa
Reservation: required and must be confirmed by credit card

Come rain or shine, Table to Farm will be ready to dine.  
It is BYOB
Includes: Welcome beverage & starter/tour of the farm/live music/ 3 course meal along with table staples and extra tasty fresh farm items and infused water