We were involved in two exciting events this week. The first was a special wine pairing dinner at The American in Bainbridge. As always, Chef Tyler did an outstanding job of pulling together fresh and local ingredients in combinations only a chef could conjure up, but which paired superbly. It was a four course meal, beginning with a tempura shrimp sushi roll topped with strawberries from Peace Valley. Course two was pan-fried triggerfish atop a smoked Gouda ratatouille and garnished with our pea shoots. Course three was homemade pappardelle pasta in a spicy tomato beef demi-glace with slow braised Grady Ranch brisket and our Swiss chard. As a finishing touch, dessert was lemon-lavender sorbet served with a homemade (and quite possibly the best I’ve ever eaten) shortbread cookie. You can’t help but leave these events at The American with a strong appreciation for good food, good wine, a great community that comes together to enjoy it, and all the puzzle pieces that interlock to make it happen. We were honored to be at the event and to have our veggies star in several of the courses through Tyler’s brilliant culinary skills.
The second event of the week was that we were able to attend the inaugural CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) field day hosted by Full Earth Farm near Quincy, Florida. The theme of the event was “Developing Systems to Increase Efficiency.” It was a great chance to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how another, much larger, farm operates and to get wisdom and insight from their years of experience. I laughed through much of their section on “here are some mistakes we made so you don’t have to repeat them,” because a lot of it is stuff we have done or currently do, stuff that doesn’t really seem like a mistake or an inefficiency until someone explains it in such a way that highlights why there is a better way. So we definitely took home some notes on how to reorganize farm operations a bit. One thing we really liked was the idea of having a notebook that is always readily available titled “Lessons Learned”, which allows you to quickly jot down a thought whenever something is working especially well or not at all, so that that lesson won’t get lost amid all the mental clutter that is part of daily life. A big thanks to Katie and Aaron at Full Earth for hosting this first CRAFT day. We’re looking forward to future events to learn more and network with other area producers.