Dinners at the Farm - Barberry Farm - Madison, CT

Thursday, July 21st, 2011 | click here to comment

The farm to table movement is still going strong, and is one that I am more than happy to enjoy whenever possible. Dinners at the Farm turns the farm to table concept on its head and brings you to the farm to dine under the stars. Produce is sourced directly from the farm, the day of. The wee little veggies barely even know they are no longer attached to their life giving roots when they hit your plate. Meat and fish are sourced from local ranchers and fishermen, creating a meal that is distinctly locavore, and delicious.

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entrance to farm

I admit I'm not really one for communal dining, but this type of experience is one that should be shared, and is the perfect atmosphere to break bread, drink wine and enjoy conversation with people you may have not normally met (or spoken to) in your daily life.

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The atmosphere could not have been more perfect. A gorgeous tent was set up in the main area, with 4 long communal tables beneath, all appointed with simple, elegant settings. The food was prepared from the back of a restored farm pickup truck, with assembly taking place in a tent adjoining the truck.

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After being stuck in traffic for 2 hours, we wanted nothing more than to get to farm and catch the last 5 minutes of cocktail hour, which we made up for rather quickly. Two glasses of rosé later, we were seated for dinner. Before dinner began, a few short (and humorous) speeches from Kingsley Goddard and others set the tone for the evening.

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misterbelly getting boozy

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The first course arrived and by that time I was already on my third glass of wine and blissfully unaware of how I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes (they do have bug spray available when you check-in) and eager to taste the scallop and shrimp ceviche. Which was fresh, simple, and delicious.

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stonington scallop & shrimp ceviche

The next dish, a pork taco over a bean puree, was good, but far different from the usual Mexican tacos I know and love. The corn tortilla was handmade and good, but a touch on the thick side.

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soetl farm pork tacos w/beans, purslane and peanuts

The following dish, a "risotto" made with pasta, was substituted for me with a Greek salad sans feta cheese. I was disappointed for a few reasons, one, had they gone with the arborio rice risotto as they did for the previous weekend, I would have been able to eat it (without the meatball), secondly the Greek salad, while fresh seemed boring to me and was actually unsuccessful as a dish because of the inclusion of mint, something I like, but did not make sense in this dish at all. It overpowered the flavor of everything and made me feel like I just brushed my teeth.

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greek salad sans feta (gluten-free substitute)

Following that was a swordfish dish that was good, but a little on the dry side and kind of bland. I've never had swordfish before so I don't know if its supposed to be dry, but my tongue was crying out for some sort of fat like olive oil.

grilled stonington swordfish with roasted peach and corn cream 

The final course was a beef dish that was really good, but for some reason the mint was back and did not mesh well at all with the beef. It was really off-putting and left me griping about mint for the rest of the night.

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slow roasted beef with swonnato sauce

The dessert, a pannacotta, was rich and creamy, but by that time I was full from the drawn out meal and copious amounts of wine. Note how my photos become increasingly blurry as the evening wears on. I blame the dark setting, but looking at it now, it pretty much encapsulates how I was viewing the world by the end of the very boozy evening. Overall the dinner was an experience to be remembered. There is nothing like sitting outdoors, enjoying a good meal, and knowing that the money I spent on dinner helps someone in need made it even more special. I'd go back, but I hope the mint stays in the garden next time.

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