Grace at the Source

Farmer's Table 1

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.” -Brillat-Savarin

The picture above is not out of a story book- it is for real. If you look closely, you’ll see tables of people at the V of the stone wall. It is right there that my friend Cathy and I had our first Farm to Table dinner.

We were at Manchester Farms and Left Bower Farm in beautiful Avella, Pennsylvania. The farmhouse is from the early 1800’s and is a real stunner.

I read about Jacob Mains and his Farm to Table dinners recently in our local newspaper. I was immediately smitten and am actually trying to figure out a way for us to work together (more about that on another post!) given my background in events planning. After reading about the dinner, I recruited my organic loving friend Cathy to go with me to our first ever farm sourced food event.

Farmer's Table 2What unfolded was an amazing evening under a blue summer sky. Vegetables that had only been picked out of the ground earlier that day were served beautifully on a white plate, exhibiting all their natural qualities. Diced beets, roasted turnips, kale, cabbage and fresh lettuce greens were featured, as was a delicious dairy cheese. There were yummy meatballs made with beef right from the farm. And to top it all off, a dessert of vanilla creme, topped with fresh berries from the farm next door. And did I mention the cookie? A delicious butter cookie made with butter from the farm was nestled into the dessert. Yes, I broke up the cookie in little pieces and dipped it into the vanilla creme and strawberries!

Cathy and I had to pinch ourselves several times as we met some amazing people. From Jacob and his parents, to Margie and Dave the farm owners, to the talkative radio station owner we sat next to, we were just in awe of the entire evening and the karma of the whole night.

Jacob and his Grandfather
Jacob and his Grandfather

There is something magical about eating outside, among beautiful surroundings, with happy people and enjoying food that is minimally handled and served in its natural grace. When bounty is pulled from the ground and nourishes us heart and soul, there is something very fulfilling and joyful about that experience.

I hope you live in an area where you have access to a farm or farmer’s markets. Please make an effort to support CSA- Community Supported Agriculture– when available. This dinner was an amazing event, one that I hope I will experience again and again!

Thank you to Drew Nicholas for sharing these photos with me!

What’s your favorite farmer’s market or place to buy locally sourced food?

Join me on my graceful journey.

19 Replies to “Grace at the Source”

  1. Tomatoes. I can’t grow anything (I’ve tried and tried!) and home grown tomatoes are the best! Do you remember the rhubarb that Mr Hershey used to grow? I remember people coming to pick it after I moved in the house there! And the wild garlic that grew in that yard! Oh how I miss ‘country living’!

    1. I remember Mr. Hershey but I don’t remember the rhubarb! I just bought a quart of tomatoes from Janoski’s and they are very good. We’re waiting for our own summer tomatoes, which should be ready in July. I would miss country living too if I were you! xo

  2. It was truly blissful and I was so impressed with the passion Jacob has about creating these events. I hope I will get to go to another one.

  3. Sounds and looks beautiful. What an amazing adventure, Joanne. I can imagine the deliciousness of the food right from the source. And the scenery is exquisite.

    I live where only 20 years ago was ‘the country’, with lots of farms and cattle ranches. Now it’s all subdivisions and banks, banks, and more banks. We have more banks here than Starbucks has stores anywhere. And, needless to say, very little country left.

    Blessings for more rich adventures,

    Marianne xo

    1. Marianne, There is much development in my area as well. The farms are becoming farther and fewer between. There are Marcellus Shale leases and drilling going on in these parts too; more issues to deal with. That is what makes the farm to table concept so timely and important. We must hold onto and embrace those unspoiled food resources and support them. xo Joanne

  4. Thanks for the beautiful recap of the evening, Joanne. We’re so glad that you and so many other people came out to give this a try. It was a first for most of us ā€” the first time a professional chef has fed me my own vegetables! ā€” but definitely not the last. Margie is going to want a high-res copy of that pic of the farm. It’s stunning.

    Hopefully we’ll cross paths again soon,


    1. Dave, it was such a pleasure to meet you! I wish you a bountiful summer with your beautiful CSA farm!
      I am sure Drew will come through with all the pictures and yes, that far away shot of the farm is stunning.
      Hope to see you again this summer.
      Blessings, Joanne

  5. Thank you for this beautiful and wonderfully inspiring post! My city has a couple of great Farmer’s Markets that my husband and I enjoy and a nearby CSA that we support. This is a terrific shout-out of support for all these wonderfully precious and hard working people. Blessings, Gina

  6. Your dinner sounds so lovely! I’ve never heard of somewhere offering something like that before. Our farmer’s market just started up again, and I’m looking forward to getting local produce again.

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