I’ve attended numerous activities at Blackwood Land. All of them have been impactful, and Blackwood has truly hit a culmination point on their most recent integrated — the Farm Dinner Experience. They kept me enraptured emotionally, physically and mentally throughout the event, and seamlessly blended all aspects of their mission into a night I have been unable to shut up about since.
The team did a smashing good job at keeping the 25+ guests on property engaged before the food, or the guests, even stopped at the exquisitely decorated Farm Table.
First, we visited Blackwood’s beehives. There, we sipped on sangria and watched a live hive demonstration with owner, Cath Conlon.
I loved the thrill of watching someone interact with a live hive! The risk for us lay folk seems, at times, greater than the reward! And oh, what a reward was awaiting us. In collaboration with BeeWeavers, a local honey producer in the Hempstead area, Blackwood is creating infused honeys. What a treat each sample of their concoctions were — which ranged from rosemary to habanero to moringa.
A brief stroll through lush prairie and fluffy flower beds took our troop to Blackwood’s kitchen garden. Farmer Becca gave us a tour and let us sample farm fresh produce like moringa, roselle, Egyptian spinach and Mustards.
Farmer Becca made it very clear: Soil health is the foundation of the experimentation in Blackwood’s garden. The effort in architecting the microbiology is evident in perky plants packed with rich, complex and joy-imparting flavors.
Another round of sangria was on the taps at Baleyfield house — this time mixed with honey obtained on the premises. We were also served single tastes of Roselle leaves and green bean pairings on river rocks.
I loved the simplicity of thought and presentation here. The flavors of the produce really did shine. (Especially on the faces of delighted guests!)
The final tour stop was Baleyfield House itself — Blackwood’s original building. Cath explained the straw bale structure to captivated guests.
Then, when I didn’t think I could be more satisfied, we were lead to the Gathering Hall for a veritable feast.
Chef Cade Conlon artfully prepared late summer/early fall fare featuring Blackwood produce. The courses were distinct, yet told a comprehensive story of the season’s yielding to cooler temperatures.
The courses were as follows:
- Roasted parsnip and celery root puree with herb oil, capers and fried shallots
- Slow-braised chicken thighs with fire-grilled corn and Spanish chorizo
- Bacon-braised chard with quinoa, pancetta, and candied walnuts
- Filet served with spinach, smoked mushrooms, and sweet tender fermented squash
- Green chili pork with wild rice
- Grilled shrimp with caponata
- Brandied applies with Catalonian caramel custard and phyllo
Yes. Every dish tasted as decadent, amazing, delicious, mouth-watering and tender as you’ve been imagining.
Throughout the dinner, guests were astounded by each entrée. Titterings of glee were likely not only fueled by the food and drink, but also by the company who was so glad to be in the same place at the same time. Blackwood’s team, and the team of Brenda Simon at 290 From The Ground Up, expertly managed the evening and provided an integrated experience for all.
I was so thankful to be a participant at this dinner, and look forward to seeing how each evolves as Blackwood grows more confident and creative in what they have to offer not only for the plates, but also for the minds of each hungry guest. I hope we’ll see you at the next event on December 9, 2017! You can find tickets here.