It was a setting befitting a fine Home and Garden magazine as guests arrived for the inaugural Farm to Table dining experience hosted Friday night on the east end of town at Bloomingcamp Ranch. Under the watchful eye and hospitality of husband/wife team Matt and Courtney Smith, along with Bake Shop manager Vickie Thompson, guests were welcomed and encouraged to have something to drink and get comfortable.
“We have talked about something along these lines for the past four to five years,” Courtney said of the family style dining experience. “It’s been very popular in other areas.
“We love food and watching cooking shows. Matthew can open the fridge and have a gourmet meal in 30 minutes. When we took over the bake shop in the beginning of the year, we knew this was the perfect platform for it.”
The four course meal was hosted by Bloomingcamp Ranch, Cardella Winery and Grgich Family Catering.
While Matt did not actually prepare the meal, much of what was served came from the family garden.
“Lettuce picked this morning fresh from my farm,” Matt said as he addressed the guests. “Throughout the meal we will be serving food grown correctly for you.”
The dining experience began with appetizers, followed by a light summer salad, dinner rolls, a dinner of herb crusted pork loin, and fire grilled vegetables drizzled with olive oil. Each of the courses, including dessert, was offered with a wine pairing, compliments of Cardella Winery. Dessert was a blueberry and yellow peach cobbler baked in a mason jar and served a la mode.
In keeping with the original concept of ‘fresh from the farm,’ producers of the food which was offered were: Lucky #19 Ranch, Ewetopia Dairy, Smith Bros. Farming, Dave’s Meat, Rancho Azul and Burchell Nursery.
“We want to bring as many different cuisines out here as possible,” Courtney said of future events, stating the objective of the every third Friday gathering will be to host varying chefs, caterers, vineyards and the like.
“We do have interest from other places,” she said. “It’s just a timing thing right now.”
Bake Shop manager Vickie Thompson was extremely pleased for the inaugural event.
“The dinner turned out better than I anticipated,” Thompson said. “The food was fabulous. The girls (bake shop staff) did a great job. The winery did a great job and Courtney and Matt were actually able to sit down and enjoy the meal. I could not be happier.”
Thompson joined forces with the Smiths in early June as the Bake Shop manager. The couple shared they knew in order to keep up with the shop and the dining experience they needed her.
“This was all possible because of these two,” Matt said, gesturing to Vickie and his wife. “They made it all happen, I just built tables.”
Seated in the center of four very long oblong tables, listening to strangers unite in conversation Matt stated, “This is exactly what we envisioned. Complete strangers coming together for a meal, talking, laughing and just having a great time.”
“It’s a dining experience,” Courtney said of the event. “It’s more than just food and drinks. It’s the ambiance of it all.
“For me there’s always something you can take away to improve the event,” she continued. “I would like to showcase our garden more. I’d like to incorporate that more. I want to make sure the connection is made.”
Reflecting back on the night, Thompson said, “Watching the people and this couple laugh and sit at the table that he made with his own hands was overwhelming. My family was there. It was just wonderful.”
“The whole setting was pretty surreal,” Courtney agreed. “To have people join us and enjoy it. Words can’t be spoken about how it felt. When the main meal was served and it got silent, that was a really big moment.”
The threesome plan to make the Farm to Table dining experience a monthly event hosted until October. Details on upcoming events, as well as Bake Shop information can be found at www.bloomingcampranch.com.