It’s a scenic drive to Peaceful Belly Farm in the picturesque foothills of Boise, Idaho. That’s especially true when the evening sun is starting to set and you’re heading to a delicious farm-to-fork dinner with fresh vegetables, fruits and meats direct from local growers.
Photo copyright Teresa O’Connor
It was a gorgeous summer evening when we arrived at the Peaceful Belly Farm. My dinner guest was Chef Brenda Thompson of Brenda’s Foods. She’s a big fan of local foods too, and even sells her own popular salad dressings in local stores.
Our dinner was to be enjoyed in the middle of a sunflower field, surrounded by dozens of different organic fruits and vegetables grown on the 70-acre family farm.
But first we had to get to the dinner by walking along this broad, straw-covered trail that led through the Peaceful Belly Farm fields.
Lining the trail to the farm-to-fork dinner were thriving artichoke plants and hanging glass vases with flowers. The journey built our anticipation for the special dinner that awaited us.
At the end of the path was a charming outdoor dining area, surrounded by cheerful sunflowers. We were greeted with a delicious drink featuring a lavender-berry syrup topped with Pellagrino mineral water.
Each of the five dinner courses was described to guests by Chef Abby Carlson (below), who masterminded the menu with Peaceful Belly owner Josie Erskine. She was joined by Greg Koenig (above), who explained our wines with each course.
Guests received a mason jar filled with farm flowers and marked with the menu for the night.
Here’s where I sat that night. The dinner menu was listed on the mason jar (upper left) and tiny white candles added light as the evening approached.
We began dinner with cast iron-charred beets with Middle Eastern Spiced Blue Sage Farm sheep’s yogurt. This was served with a Koenig Viognier 2009.
Then we moved to a Meadowlark Farm lamb kefta with fava bean puree; potato wafers; and sweet and spicy ground cherries. This was served with a Koenig Sangiovese 2009, and was one of my favorite dishes of the evening.
A chilled pea soup with a mint pistou was served next with a Koenig Sunny Slope Cuvee Riesling 2008. The barely cooked peas were a treat at this time of year. Our summer weather started later in the season than normal, allowing us to enjoy these cool-season vegetables in late-July.
Before we moved to the main course, we had a carrot and white currant sorbet that was comforting and uniquely flavored.
The main course was a clever blend of Homestead Farm‘s milk braised pork shoulder with currant parsley leaf and grilled fennel salad. It was served with a Koenig Syrah 2008.
The meal ended with a marvelous white chocolate poppy seed mousse with blackberry curd, ginger syrup and black sesame langues de chat (or cat’s tongue cookies). This was served with a Koenig Ice Wine Riesling.
When you consider that most food in the United States travels nearly 1,500 miles to reach your grocery store, you’ll see why this farm-to-fork dinner was such a special treat. The ingredients were literally picked fresh and prepared for our enjoyment. It doesn’t get more local than that…
Peaceful Belly Farm did a wonderful job of reconnecting us with our food sources, while satisfying our senses in a creative way. The wait service was provided by volunteers in the community, and rivaled a fine restaurant. The setting couldn’t be beat. Mother Nature even cooperated with pleasant temperatures and gentle breezes. And you can see for yourself how well we dined that night.
It was an unforgettable meal, and our only concern was how to return for more dinners at Peaceful Belly Farm soon.
Here are three ways to find farm-to-fork dinners in your area:
- Visit LocalHarvest.org to find local farmers near you.
- Ask at farmers markets to be added to mailing lists for special events.
- Buy a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership at a local farm. Your membership will not only support family farmers, but also will alert you to their events. This is how some people learned about our dinner.
Local food resources: