A couple of weeks ago my friend, Key, and I hosted a Farm-to-Table Dinner as part of a fundraiser for our Meriwether Lewis Elementary PTO. It had not even been a week since our amazing city experienced trauma and tragedy due to the KKK Rally and ensuing mayhem, however we felt it was best to move forward and maintain our long-scheduled date for this dinner.
Despite a black widow bite just days before the event, overwhelming heat and humidity and sadness in our hearts, we ended up throwing a beautiful dinner filled with laughter, gorgeous decorations and local, vegetarian-based dishes that made everyone smile. The whole evening felt like a good antidote to the previous weekend’s events on August 11th, 12th and 13th and we felt lucky to be a part of it.
This week’s Plant-Based Meal Plan at Vie features many of the dishes I prepared. I used two local farms for the bulk of my produce (Harvest Thyme Herb Farm and Shady Lane Family Farm), stocked up on extras from my garden and even made fresh ricotta cheese from my local milk share around the corner (Contact Sarah if you’re interested in participating in her milk share. I have been doing it for years and cannot say enough good things about it!).
As you follow along, make sure to click on the links for the farms and other producers that we sourced our ingredients from, as they are the best of the best and are fantastic resources for our local community, and especially for you if you’re interested in supporting more area farms!
We will no doubt be doing this again, as it was filling both to the mind and body and was truly a celebration of what Central Virginia has to offer both in spirit and seasonal food. Check out the photographs below to take a peak at what we prepared and enjoyed. Also, visit Vie and take advantage of our free meal plan up this week that includes recipes for many of the dishes featured here!
*You’ll notice that many of my photographs from the night of the dinner are blurry. This was due to the insanely high humidity and it took awhile for my camera to adjust. That said, I normally wouldn’t publish photos like this but there’s something about them that I like. Maybe it’s that they look a little vintage? In any case, enjoy scrolling through them and know that sometimes, even as a food blogger, it’s not as much about the photos as it is about the food–at least for me!
Our Farm-to-Table Dinner
Sourcing the best ingredients from local farms
What we drank: local beer, wine and spirits
We were so lucky to use Gin from Vitae Spirits, “434” beer from Three Notch’d and Vino Rosso from Moss Vineyards. All of these producers are the best of the best and we were so grateful to have the chance to serve their products to our guests!
This was our welcome cocktail: Gin from Vitae (which had such an amazing flavor that we wanted to let it stand alone). We served it on ice with tonic, a lime, a cucumber wedge on the rim and borage flowers (edible, taste like cucumbers) floating the in the glass. The overall flavor was smooth, slightly tart-sweet and had a nice cucumber undertone.
Our menu was served Family Style in courses from light and simple to rich and decadent
The decorations and set up were dreamy! Key is great at pretty much anything (!) so thank goodness I relied on her to dream up our gorgeous al fresco dining table complete with edible flower arrangements, candles to guide the way and beautiful menu labels that she made by writing on magnolia leaves from the tree on her property.
Finally, considering that I was busy in the kitchen sending food out and finishing some last-minute preparations, you can imagine that I didn’t get a chance to capture all of the photographs I wanted so I invited some good friends over a couple of days later and recreated the meal using leftovers so that I could snap some more shots! Special thanks to Matt for grabbing my camera while I chased around my budding toddler. He is a pro cook and food photographer and jumped right in to help.
In the end, I know one thing: food is really important. Not many of us can say that we buy local all of the time, but throwing a party like this reminded me that it’s a lot easier than you might think to source unbelievably fresh ingredients locally that cost the same (or less) than grocery store prices. I loved creating simple, light dishes to share with our guests and since all of these ingredients are still in season, you should take advantage, use my recipes and throw a dinner party like this of your own! Get in touch if you need help finding any of the farmers or producers listed in this post and I will connect you.
I’m so thankful to live in Charlottesville and to help contribute to a huge part of what makes our town special and unique.