In an effort to strengthen the important connection between locally-sourced foods and restaurant tables everywhere, Berkshire Grown just staged its second ‘Farmed + Foraged’ dinner weekend. And in an uber-Foodie score, I was able to attend one of the F+F dinners at the headquarters of EnlightenNext and EnlightenNext magazine on Saturday, prepared by Executive Chef Katherine Miller .
Farmed food is starting to get more of an audience, but foraged food still isn’t something you hear a lot about. It definitely has a cool factor though; imagine mucking around in protected forest- and wetlands for a few hours, making a soggy march back to the kitchen to scrub your findings clean, boil and toil, and ultimately plating something like this:
Warm sprouted-lentil salad on a bed of baby spinach with oven-roasted potatoes, garlicky fiddleheads, and chive dressing
…or take the phenomenon of the Jackson Pollack cracker, which made me wonder what would deem a cracker Jackson Pollack-y until I saw it:
Swirly root vegetable and chive crackers with wild ramp, lovage, and celery-root spread, dehydrated kale and vegetable chips
And of course, the selection of organic wine pairings didn’t hurt. I also had interesting dining company, sitting across from a mentalist.
Here’s how the evening went down. It started with a reception featuring champagne, almonds, and olives in a red-carpeted room.
We moved into the dining room and were greeted by a show table that placed some of those foraged ingredients in a flattering light
Chef Katherine gave a personal preview of the menu, then it was off to the races, starting with the Jackson Pollack crackers, moving on to the lentil salad and Kasha crepes, and finishing with maple-glazed strawberry and rhubarb with handmade Amaretti crackers and almond creme. Naturally, I bulldozed my way in snuck a peek behind the kitchen doors to watch the action, and caught the dessert plating, which is always a thrill.
Dinner wrapped up with Apel Eis wine and final bits of conversation – much more easily foraged than watercress from protected wetlands, but no less rich.
Incidentally, the ingredients used in the meal were sourced from eight different local farms: Albert’s Organics, Angello’s Distributing, Equinox Farms, Lucky Dog Farm, Markristo Farm, Turner Farms, Westminster Organics, and Zehr and Sons, in addition to the EnlightenNext Kitchen Garden. View more photos here.