Sometimes our food industry can seem to be disconnected from the people who make the food themselves, or who I like to call the Crafters. On June 21, Hungry Lobbyist participated in celebrating the Crafters and gathering a community of foodies at the 2nd Annual Chesapeake Foodshed Feast to taste a multi-course dinner to showcase the region’s agricultural bounty and raise funds to benefit Future Harvest: Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture. The reception and dinner matched participating chefs with fresh seasonal ingredients from area farms and with wines from some of the finest vineyards in Virginia and Maryland.
In summary, the night was dedicated to the Crafters to empower them to keep making us local, sustainable and delicious farm to table experiences for us all. Now, lets dig into what the farmers and Chefs created for us.
First up was the Chilled Eastern Shore Green Tomatoe Soup, Summer Vegetables, Rouille, Old Bay Oil. The presentation of the dish is what got me initially excited. The wrapping and cute message on the plate felt like a present waiting to be opened by me. The taste of the soup was refreshing, light and the perfect opener of the night.
Ingredients by: Tuscarora Organic Growers | Potomac Vegetable Farms | Robert’s Roost Farm
Dish Created by: Chef Eric Ziebold | Kinship & Metier
Second up was the Braised Rabbit, Smoked Strawberry and Pickled Radish Jam. The presentation of this dish was simple yet beautiful. The combination of the braised rabbit and smoked strawberry is what made the dish standout. I would have loved to have another strawberry or two to keep that complementarity with each bite. The pickled radish jam did not add much taste, but looked pretty.
Ingredients by: Harvey’s Market
Dish Created by: Chef Jonathan Krinn | Clarity
Third up was Triangoli, Charred Swiss Chard and Mozerella. This dish won the show. It was by far the most flavorful and had everyone on the table closing their eyes while chewing because it was that good. This was the only non-gluten free savory dish but I took the risk and tried it after seeing the faces of the people eating it. Chef Amy perfectly cooked the triangoli and I would highly recommend our readers to go to Centrolina and ask for this dish. Unfortunately the dish finished so quickly, that there was no chance to take a picture – it was that good!
Ingredients by: Three Part Harmony Farm | Blue Ridge Dairy
Dish Created by: Chef Amy Brandwein | Centrolina
Fourth up was Roasted Chicken, Bay Leaves and Caramelized Garlic. Cooking chicken for such a large group is never an easy thing so I definitely appreciated the way it came out. The caramelized garlic and bay leaves worked very well with the chicken that was cooked at the exact right amount. My only comment is it was slightly over salted.
Ingredients by: Liberty Delight Farms | Willowsford Farm
Dish Created by: Chef Cathal Armstrong | Restaurant Eve
Fifth up (be patient it goes up to 9 dishes!) Wild Mushroom & Garlic Scape Fricassee | Carrots | Fava Beans | Crispy Baby Kale. This dish tasted amazing. Unfortunately our server forgot to get us a full plate and it eventually came to us cold with only a spoon size portion to try. Despite it being cold, the flavors were powerful and left me craving more. Definitely one of the top dishes of the night. Since I only got a bite of this, no pictures were taken. Guess you have to go to Mintwood Place to see it for yourself!
Ingredients by: Tuscarora Organic Growers | Potomac Vegetable Farms | Three Part Harmony Farm
Dish Created by: Chef Jordan Lloyd | Mintwood Place
Sixth up is the Brown Grits, Barley Miso Butter, Maryland Crab, Nuka Radishes. While the dish was landing on our table the smell of the crab was overpowering. The smell was not very appealing but the presentation of the bright purple radishes and comforting look of the grits increased my enthusiasm to sample this dish. As I took the bite, I was very underwhelmed with flavor. I would rank this the least successful dish of the night in terms of taste but well positioned in terms of presentation.
Ingredients by: Purple Mountain Organics
Dish Created by: Chef Hari Cameron | Amuse
Seventh up is the Spicy Summer Summer Salad, Candy-Stripe Beets, Goat Cheese and Toasted Pecans. This was a very refreshing salad with such a great kick of a slight taste of spice. Would definitely go to Society Fair to have more of this salad with this high summer heat coming to us in DC.
Ingredients by: Firefly Farms | Cheespeake Farm to Table | Sassafras Creek Farm
Dish Created by: Chef Dan Fisher | Society Fair
Eighth and final dish is the Chocolate & Blueberry Crostata, Lavender and Whipped Ricotta. This dish was a special one for me as to the left of me on the table was sitting the owner of the Westmoreland Berry farm supplying the berries of this dish. During our conversations I learnt about his inspiration to founding the farm, his daily struggles, hopes to growing the farm and new initiatives he has launched to keep on reinventing the service the farm offers such as berry picking, in-farm dining while overlooking the beautiful lake. I am definitely planning on visiting his farm and I hope you get the chance to do so as well!
As for the dish itself, the presentation was simple and elegant. Flavors, were delicious if you like the taste of espresso-like flavor. I was expecting the lavender to make more of a presence in the taste of this dish but it was very mild.
Ingredients by: Westmoreland Berry Farm
Dish Created by: Chef Caitlin Dysart | Centrolina
Note all dishes were paired with local wines listed below but since I did not sample them I did not comment on the taste of any.
Blanc de Blancs, Greenhill Winery & Vineyards 2015 | Middleburg, Virginia
Cabernet Franc, Tarara Winery 2015 | Leesburg, Virginia
Furnace Mountain Red, 8 Chains North 2014 | Waterford, Virginia
Estate Rose, Stone Tower Winery 2016 | Leesburg, Virginia
Vidal Blanc, Crow Vineyard 2014 | Kennedyville, Maryland
Overall, this event was a great success. The gathering was based on a positive social impact with the focus on going local, being sustainable and creating a deeper connection in the food industry. The auction raised a good amount of funds and the people seemed to be enjoying themselves. My only recommendation for the future is to make it a slightly shorter program to keep the people constantly engaged especially on a week-day. Other than that, I highly recommend you all go to their next event next year but don’t wait until then. There are plenty of ways to stay in touch and support by checking out: https://www.futureharvestcasa.org/