Farm to Table, Vermont Style

Posted: August 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Farm, Smolak Farms | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

The setting at Wednesday’s  Whim dinner could not have been more perfect for a visit from some of Vermont’s finest culinarians. Chef Tom Bivins of The New England Culinary Institute brought teachers, students, and expert gatherers with him to help put together a terrific meal at Smolak Farms. The apple trees were heavy with fruit, the pond was calm, the music was carefully chosen, and the food showcased the best Vermont has to offer.

We sipped a Rosenblum Cuvee zinfandel supplied by North Andover’s Wine ConneXtion while enjoying incredibly fresh butter from Vermont Butter & Cheese on slices of freshly baked baguette. We were then served hot corn consommé with mushroom glace, pan-fried daylily corms, and toasted wild onions. The sweet broth contrasted wonderfully with the earthy glace and the pungent onions, a great start to the meal. It was followed by a savory and comforting entree of grilled grass-fed beef strip steak, lobster mushrooms, madeira demi sauce, mashed potatoes, and sauteed summer squashes.

The daylily corms, wild onions, and lobster mushrooms were gathered by Nova Kim and Leslie Hook of Wild Gourmet Food. Kim said she and others in the Wild Food Gatherers Guild are pleased with the recent movement toward local food and eager to pass their years of knowledge onto the next generation.

The guild helps members market their wares and promote sustainable gathering (they prefer this term to foraging, which had a negative connotation in past times). “We don’t take everything in a given spot; we harvest it so it comes back again,” said Kim. Bivins said his interest began in grade school when his class read Euell Gibbons’ Stalking the Wild Asparagus. “At first when Nova and Kim brought me some of their finds, I thought ‘What am I going to do with this?’ but then I just went with it,” Bivins said.

A generous cheese plate featuring three award-winning Vermont cheeses was up next. We greatly enjoyed the Cabot clothbound cheddar, Bayley Hazen blue cheese, and Vermont Butter & Cheese Bonne Bouche (Bivins favorite).

The cheese plate included plums from Smolak, and the dessert included the farm’s plump blueberries. The berries were paired with tiny sweet Vermont blackberries and an outstanding shortcake moistened with milkweed blossom syrup and topped with elderberry flower cream.

The Whim series continues for the next couple of weeks. Chef Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro will prepare the meal on Wednesday the 17th, followed by Chef Paul Turano of Tryst Restaurant on the 24th. Dinners are $60 plus beverages and gratuity; tickets can be purchased through the Smolak website.

Smolak Farms
315 South Bradford Street, North Andover
(978) 682-6332
www.smolakfarms.com

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