Sometimes as Fairfield County residents, it is easy to get wrapped up in the daily suburban grind, a world of strip malls and meals on the go. Given all the white noise of routine life, it is nice to occasionally escape from the carpools and commuting…and head to the farm. With its open space, beauty, and serenity, you can be transported...nourished. Many of us journey to the fields as an annual Fall ritual to pick pumpkins and apples, drink cider, or get lost in a hay maze, but the beautiful farms of rural CT can offer much more than just kid-friendly fun.
Last week I attended a "Meet Me at the Farm" lunch on the Sport Hill Farm in Easton. This event was the 2nd in a series of lunches held to support a growing movement towards eating locally, and sourcing your food from the farm not the factory. The event was held in the shell of a rustic barn, with rows of towering sunflowers, leafy kale and corn fields in the background. Tables were set up displaying the ingredients for the meal we were about to experience...baskets of eggplant, squash, kale, beans, and bowls of whole grains. The grill was on, the table was set....stomachs were grumbling.
And as if a farm fresh lunch wasn't enough of a draw, this gathering was led by educator and cooking coach, Amie Guyette Hall, certified holistic health counselor, who walked us though the nutritional benefits of the ingredients that made up our wonderful meal. She also gave us guidance on how to cook the locally harvested produce you run into at your Farmers Market or receive in your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture, or farm shares). I never heard of a patty pan squash before, and certainly didn't know you could eat it raw. And what do you do with that dauntingly green leafy kale? There were answers aplenty, as well as specific product recommendations to get you cooking with confidence.
Our lunch lessons began with a wonderful soup that simmered table-side as Amie walked us through the benefits of whole grains, seaweed, and the remaining menu items. When our demo was over we sat down on lovely clothed picnic tables with fresh butter, my much beloved Wave Hill Bread, and just off the grill roasted garlic cloves. This was a good start, but when the Lima Bean, Butternut & Patty Pan Squash Soup arrived in little "green pepper bowls," the fun really began. Other excellent courses followed including a Kale & Cabbage Salad garnished with eatable nasturtium flowers, a delicious Lasagna with Kale, Grilled Fairy Tale Eggplant, and rich Brownies that had black beans in them (you would NEVER know).
A farm tour followed lunch, but we had to pass as it was time to race back to reality. Patti, (the owner of the Sport Hill Farm), and Amie will be holding another "Meet Me At The Farm" lunch on October 13th. Reservations are required, so book early by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I will certainly be heading back for the superb food, great company, and valuable tips. We hope to see more of these lunches scheduled for next Spring so more people get to enjoy this inspiring and educational culinary event.
See you at the farm...
Sport Hill Farm (Patti Popp) 596 Sport Hill Road, Easton. email@example.com
Sport Hill Farm also runs a great hands-on Summer Farm Camp for grades 1-6 that is worth checking out.