Monday, September 13, 2010

Perks of the job!

There are certainly perks to being a grower.

There is the obvious.

We eat quite well of course. I get to be outside all day. I can dress very comfortably and I get lots of exercise.

I suppose some people would want to consider the downside, but we'll forget about that for now.

And of course because it been a GOOD year. Yes, capitals for good.

And despite all the hard work and sweat and exhaustion- it has had some fun moments and moments that I'll remember for a long time.

I was delighted to receive an invitation to join Frank Dodd, the executive chef at Hillebrand Winery Estates in hosting a Harvest dinner on September 11. Really every growers dream.

Can you imagine going through your garden, harvesting some wonderful items and then having a chef of Frank's calibre creating dishes from your produce? Wonderful!

I picked a bushel of interesting veggies and fruits last week, and delivered them to Hillebrand a few days in advance , giving Frank a chance to get creative. And he sure did.

There were 8 other folks sitting around the table from literally all over the world. A couple had just flown in from London, England, another from Vancouver, a few folks from Toronto and Ottawa. So interesting to hear their reaction.

A lovely beet salad, tomato gazpacho and tomatoes, bean and rat tailed radish medley, couscous with veg, and pictured above a wonderful cake with tomatillo topping and a candied Cape Gooseberry. Wow.

I also saw the huckleberries, the black radishes, peppers and greens incorporated into the dishes. And the final touch-the Szechuan Buttons with their mouth numbing

That one threw people off a bit, but all in fun.

Other great events this summer involved other clever (and talented) folk.

Pictured below are the ever bubbly and effervescent Adam and Tam from El Gastronomo Vagabundo at their launch at Flat Rock Cellars. Their gourmet taco truck is making quite a splash-as it should.
It's all in good fun and good taste. Nothing pretentious or stuffy or greasy or processed. Just wonderfully creative fresh and tasty food. Get there by Thanksgiving, weekends only, and check it out!

And then of course another event to remember.
"Outstanding in the Field"-a long harvest table set in a farmers field, while a local (amazing) chef creates a meal around local produce. The brainchild of a California organization, this event is played out in various farmers fields across the continent, although primarily the US.

I was lucky enough to be invited by the incomparable Stephen Treadwell to enjoy the meal, but also talk to guests about my contributions-the heirlooms tomatoes and rat tailed radishes.

Lots of wonderful 13th Street wine, so I blathered on about my tomatoes, as of course I like to do.
Thank you Doug and Karen Whitty for playing host to this fabulous event!

It's been an honour to be involved in these events.

I may be a farmer, but I have dined like a queen this summer!!


inhabiting_trees said...

I'm so jealous! Its stuff like this that made me get into this field (pun intended) plus my masochistic love of adverse weather and mud.

Your writing has been so inspiring and informative to me this season, my first attempting tomatoes!

Any particular advice I can share with my classmates (future growers - Greenhouse Students at Niagara College) as we start our careers?

Linda said...

My advice would be to find your niche- in other words you need to specialize.
A certain kind of flower, salad greens,whatever your interest is-do one thing and do it well. Do something different than what every one else is doing! I think there is a huge market out there right now for salad greens ...and there are some very special ones that can be grown.
Thanks, Katie for your kind words too!!
I'd LOVE to come in an speak to your class if that opportunity was ever there.