High-quality ingredients make a chef’s job easier since they are so naturally delectable. Any respectable food lover will search for the freshest and most lovingly grown produce. More and more, restaurant owners are partnering with local farmers to find it. In some cases, they’re cutting out the middle man and farming their own ingredients.
Any way you slice it, farm to table fundamentally changed the way we dine out.
Today’s food lover and farm-to-table dinners
Today’s food lover wants to know where it comes from, how it was grown, and if it will be around next time. Farm-to-table dinners allow food fans to get up close and personal to what they’re eating and hopefully, walk away with a greater appreciation for it. The term “farm to table” has to do with the process of growing, harvesting, preparing and consuming food. However, many types of food and beverage events fit under this umbrella. On the farm or in the restaurant, the slow food and farm-to-table movement puts the spotlight on the highest-quality, locally grown ingredients.
No need to overdress for these dining experiences, the focus is on the food. If you are considering hosting your own farm-to-table event, kudos to you. This movement will slowly re-school us on how vital and precious food is to long-term survival. Since farm-to-table events involve a lot of harvesting and preparing ingredients right from the farm, it’s smart to have a checklist for your event planning.
We know your farm-to-table event is going to be great, but the below tips will help make it even better.
6 tips to a better farm-to-table experience
1. If you are hosting an outdoor event, be aware of the experience you are building. Once you have a realistic inventory of possible issues, you can address them one by one. If you don’t have access to a farm, reach out to some in your area. It’s a great way to build community.
2. Going to be outdoors? Don’t forget about pests. Bees, mosquitoes, ants, or greedy birds could throw a wrench in the works, so have a test dinner prior to the event. Find methods for detouring/repelling critters without also repelling your guests. Marigolds and other plants make good natural repellents that don’t overpower the senses.
3. Wind, rain and yes, too much sun can turn a picturesque dinner into a logistic nightmare. No one wants soggy biscuits, so have a second location planned in case it pours. Follow weather forecasts and adjust accordingly.
4. Keep your dishes and décor simple and elegant. Minimalist décor offers a more authentic experience and frees up time and resources that could be put into the execution of the event. Choose simple recipes that highlight flavor; the best ingredients will taste amazing with little help. Make sure that as many ingredients as possible are locally grown by organic sustainable farms. If you have a dish in mind and can’t source the ingredients, try a different recipe or variation. This limitation will bring out your creativity and inspire your visitors to buy locally.
5. Make your guests feel at home on the farm. Ensure a great, homey ambiance by inviting people you know. Friends, family, or farm staff could make wonderful assistant hosts. Allow plenty of time before, after and in-between courses for guests to take in the surroundings and chat. If everything goes well, time stands still and memories are made.
6. Above all, relish the event and your company. Confidence and genuine enjoyment are absolute musts to making your dinner a sweet success. The impression from a great night will last a lifetime and keep diners coming back.
Calling all food lovers: Comment below with your fresh tips on food. Hungry? Find a farm-to-table feast near you.
(First photo from City Growers Benefit last month in New York)