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Shake The Hand That Feeds You: Locavore Dinner @ Flying J Farm

You know when you are planning an event, you have a vision of how you hope it will come off? The Slow Food dinner at Flying J Farm last Saturday night under the oh-so-elegant lighting was exactly as I had envisioned it would be! All of the volunteers were awesome, Chef John’s food fantastic, the company warm and convivial, the lighting magical, the table romantic and the bonfires mesmerizing! The best part, in true Slow Food tradition, is that we celebrated many local farmers and artisans by enjoying their delicious products on the farm of one of those hard workers, Dick Jensen. Let me share with you this event with many photos and a few words…

The day begins in Johnstown. It is hard to believe that September 20 is here!

What a gorgeous day! The straw bales are seats for later in front of the fire. Look at that basil!

Johnny gets the grill going and gives us some cheese.

Natalie helps to make the table beautiful. The hurricanes with candles have buckeyes inside for a little touch of Ohio.

Bear samples one of his herbal concoctions. Very seriously.

Owner of Flying J Farm and farmer, Dick Jensen, walks the farm with the members before the evening begins and shares his sustainable techniques and shows them the gardens.

The hay wagon is transformed into the refreshments table. We enjoyed chamomile tea, soft and hard ciders, Cucumber and lemon sage vodka fizzes. Chef Johnny prepared fresh herb frittata and bruschetta on the grill.

If you have too many black walnuts that fell off their tree during the wind storm, make centerpieces!

Let’s eat! On the table is the first course: Firelands Gewürztraminer, just-picked heirloom tomatoes and baby red and green oak lettuces, fresh herbs and red onions and Cold Rain Creamery goat cheese feta made in Pataskala. We also delighted in homemade butters (by Colleen) using organic heavy cream, and cottage cheese donated by Ohio Organic Family Farms in Utica. The bread was made by Eleni Christina bakery using Dick’s whole wheat bread flour. Thanks Arlene and Natalie for picking those pretty wildflowers.

The falling darkness doesn’t even faze our fearless chef as he dons a miner’s head lamp!

Here are the menus to peruse (I hope you aren’t hungry right now!):

Dinner was fantastic and proves how great eating locally can be! Swiss chard with leeks and roasted garlic, grilled peppers with rough pesto, just-dug red and white small potatoes, and Flying J grass-fed ribeye roasted whole and sliced, dreamily basking in maple-poblano pepper jus. These dishes were accompanied by a wonderful Syrah from River Ridge Cellars, an offshoot of Kinkead Ridge. Start drooling…..

This photo turned out a little fuzzy as it was completely dark. However, this didn’t stop Kent from heroically bringing us more of his delicious bread!

Here is a view of the farm table at night lit with strings of lights, torches and candles.

Dessert time! We all enjoyed a delicious local peach cake with almonds made by Ted, and two kinds of jeni’s ice cream. And honey mead. And pawpaw liqueur. Oh, and pawpaws.

Every outdoor summer dinner has to have a bonfire–or two! Michael and Bob chill with Janelle.

I could hardly believe the dinner was over. When someone asked me if we are doing it again next year, this may have been my reaction: Or was I dancing? Or was it the pawpaw liqueur?

Thanks to everyone who was a part of this memorable event!!! -Colleen

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