Spring rain couldn't dampen the enjoyment of great food and local wine at the first Dinner in the Field of 2014. Chefs Pascal Chureau of Allium Bistro and Willem Paul Klitsie of Willem's on Main highlighted the bounty of the Canby Area Farm Loop at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm.
The farm was ready to host the dinner no matter the weather, with large heated tents set up in the private garden area, surrounded by blooming rhododendron. Diners assembled at the communal tables. I've been to other farms where the tables were set up on precariously on tilted rows of hay stubble. It was nice to be on a groomed lawn instead. The surroundings made me want to plan a wedding there!
The chefs worked to finish the dishes at the open kitchen set up nearby, and they welcomed interaction. Chureau and Klitsie set the jovial mood and seemed to be having a great time. They paired Chureau's French background with Klitsie's Dutch heritage and local ingredients for dishes that were approachable, satisfying and delicious.
"You get only one fork, one plate and one glass!" the chefs warned us. The meal is served family style, with one platter for six to eight diners. Our table needed an extra platter, which was quickly provided for each course.
The chefs also introduced the farmers. The Iverson family bought what would become Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in 1950, and first planted tulips in 1974. They first opened the farm to the public on Easter weekend in 1981. Some family members didn't think anybody would want to come, so they were pleasantly shocked at the huge response. The Tulip Festival now lasts for over a month during the full blooming season from March to early May and is a must-do annual event.
In addition to tulips, they now have a Pumpkin Fest in the fall. In between, their vineyard has begun to produce and we enjoyed their 2013 Albarino white wine. It was a pleasant off-dry white with citrus and floral notes. The tasting room will open to the public on May 10th, 2014 and be open every Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm - 5 pm through November.
Hanson Vineyards provided the other two wines of the evening, from their vineyards just down the road. The 2012 Rose was delightful, with strawberry, cranberry and herbal notes. We also enjoyed the 2009 Estate Pinot Noir, a good choice with the pork rack entree.
We arrived at 5:30 pm at the farm and given the rain we didn't do a tour. The service was brisk, we didn't wait around hungry. We enjoyed talking with Barb Iverson, one of the family members active in the farm, and hearing more about their history and plans.
The first course was warm foccaia tartine with proscuitto, fig chutney, arugual and Idiazabal cheese. This was quickly followed with roasted prawns in a rhubarb puree with asparagus creme and micro greens.
The romaine salad included confit tomatoes, carmelized shallots and anchovy vinaigrette.
Now for my favorite, spaetzle that was tossed with gruyere cheese, roasted hazelnuts and sel gris. I love a great spaetzle!
The main course was grilled Carlton Farms pork rack with corn succotash, cauliflower and andouille sausage. We snagged the end portion which was delicious.
19th Street Farms spinach was the highlight of the wilted spinach salad with confit garlic and lemon infused oil that accompanied the entree.
The dessert was elegant and delightful, an upside down olive oil cake with lavender syrup, fresh strawberries and creme chantilly.
Dinner was complete before dark, so we began our journey back home by 8 pm. It was a marvelous evening. We took the backroads back to 99E and saw more of the Canby area farms in the twilight.
More farm and winery dinners will be held through December.
Schedule: Field & Vine Farm and Winery Dinners