Farm, Hendrick House

Farm to Table Dinner

Fall

My friend Dale’s fall Maple

People keep asking me if the farm is over. My answer is NO NO NO NO NO! ….. and then I show them the picture below which was this morning’s delivery. I still have an acre of produce in the ground people! This is the downward slide but definitely not the end!!!

HH farm delivery this morning 10/13/2015

HH farm delivery this morning 10/13/2015

We had our first HH farm to table dinner at Kappa Delta sorority last Wednesday. It accomplished all the goals we anticipated. It was amazing exposure and marketing for the farm, it solidified relationships between the clients and the chef (Andy Mullins) and it showed the range of product that can be offered with Hendrick House food service. On a personal note, I love being able to harvest product that morning and cooking with it in the afternoon. The smells and flavors are completely consuming. There is so much more care that is taken with product when you have a stake in it are the one who picked the variety, planted it, cared for it, fed it, watered it and harvested it. The chefs can say the same thing and take ownership in the fact that they ultimately decide what is grown. If even a portion of that feeling ( the appreciation for food grown less than a mile away with complete control of flavors) can be conveyed to the clients through their chefs then to me this farm project can be deemed successful.

Farm to table Dinner Kappa Delta

Farm to table Dinner Kappa Delta

The air of excitement throughout the house was magnetic, from the kitchen to the dining room. I was even able to get members of AKL fraternity to come and help serve, which created double exposure for all of the positive attributes associated with this event, listed above.

Table Center pieces

Table Center pieces

The tables were dressed in white linens with crisp white linen napkins. The table decorations were all from the farm, cut flowers donated by the U of I Student Sustainable Farm and blue corn with husks donated from the U of I from my good friend Jeremy Shafer. We poured sparkling grape juice in place of champagne and had carafes of ice water placed at each table.

1st course Soup!

Spring Onions before they were turned into soup

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Spring Onion Vicyssoise

The first course was a vichyssoise made from the beautiful spring onions from the farm. It was paired with apples given to me by my friend Rick Weinzierl which were turned into apple cream and apple crisps by Andy. We also used fresh horseradish given to me by my friends Bill and Dale who work with the U of I Aboretum.

Red Beets before they were salt roasted

Red Beets before they were salt roasted

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The second course was a spinach salad made with beautiful big red beets (from the farm) and Prairie Fruits Farm chèvre.

HH farm kale before it was cooked

HH farm kale before it was cooked

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We served pork tenderloin for the entree with HH farm kale and HH green bean braise.

Apple and white cheddar Turnovers

Apple and white cheddar Turnovers

Equipment Mistake

Equipment Mistake

The dessert was apple and white cheddar turnovers and caramel. The apples came from Rick and the cream that went in to the caramel sauce was from Kilgus Farmstead (up near Fairbury, Illinois). I do have to add that it is very important when coming up with a menu to think about the equipment that will be available to you when cooking and executing the dinner. I didn’t realize Andy didn’t have a fryer in his kitchen so it was pretty comical attempting to fry over 100 turnovers in my little fry daddy.

I have to give a special thanks to Andy Mullins for partnering with me for the day and lending me his kitchen helping to market the farm. Thank you also to the girls of Kappa Delta for letting us do this dinner for you and also for taking pictures. Big thanks to the boys at AKL for always supporting me and the farm and showing up to be wonderful, diligent servers. I definitely look forward to doing more of these events in the future!

Success!

Success!

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Farm, Journal, Update

Fall is here?

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The sweet smell of summer and sunshine has been replaced with grey skies and crisp earthy smells of fall. Fall used to be my favorite time of year with changing colors of the leaves, dusty harvests, visits to the pumpkin patch, fresh cider and bon fires. This year I am sad seeing the tomatoes and peppers coming to an end. This was an incredibly short summer and it makes me nervous not having a set spot for the coming year, especially now that the first two “practice” years are almost over.

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IMG_1852The name of the game this past weekend was Head Romaine. Kevin and I harvested nearly 150 lbs yesterday and it was sold and delivered this morning. I am anxiously waiting to hear feedback from the chefs. The Romaine plus the peppers and small order of chard (thanks Casey 🙂 ) was one of the largest deliveries of the season. It was amazing to empty a full walk in this morning, distributing each product to its new home.

The chefs have been creating some beautiful dishes:

AOPI

AOPI

Nick from AOPI did a Chicken Nicoise dish with an Anchovy-herbed compound butter buerre blanc, using the farm’s yukon gold potatoes and red ribbon sorrel

Hendrick House

Hendrick House

Bonnie (chef of Hendrick House) did a Paprikash catfish with sautéed carmen peppers (from the farm) and onions with cheesy grits and corn on the cob

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PIKE

Antonio from PIKE did a beef and cheese stuffed carmen pepper with the last of my ripe tomatoes, which he turned into a coulis

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Hot, Hotter, Hottest Golden Greek

Hot, Hotter, Hottest
Golden Greek

Despite this cold weather, I am still getting beautiful harvests of peppers though it is slowing down. This past weekend was the first Sunday that we did not harvest tomatoes. There are a lot of tomatoes hanging on the plants but it is just too cool for them to ripen. We are predicted to have 80 degree temperatures this weekend so I am hoping that is just enough heat to push them to have one more nice harvest. I have been prepping the chefs to get ready for a large green tomato harvest. Many of them, with Bonnie’s lead, have been changing their menus and coming up with a lot of great ideas to help me move them. I hope the students like green tomatoes. 🙂

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Stupid Spot

Stupid Spot

Bacterial Spot is back again. Nothing new.

 

 

 

 

I am starting to disassemble the farm slowly. The drip tape will be pulled up in the next couple days (as soon as I can kick this inconvenient cold/flu) and the south 1/2 of the land will be ready to disc. I am also preparing to take down pepper and tomato trellising as soon as the green tomatoes are harvested next week.

 

 

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