Thursday, August 12, 2010

Outstanding in the Field

The height of the “farm dinners” experience traveled through Madison, Wisconsin on Aug. 9 and brought the talents of chef Kris Noren together with the Underground Food Collective team. After enjoying cocktails from Death’s Door Spirits the 130 guests at  Troy Gardens made their way to the “long table” to enjoy the rest of the evening.
Outstanding in the field or as it’s fan base refers to it, OITF has grown from a few small dinners on farms in Santa Cruz, California to a nation wide traveling event. Founder and Chef/artist Jim Denevan, understood 10 years ago that people wanted to know where their food came from. Today more than ever, there is growing support for small farmers  who work hard to entice us to our local farmer’s markets and keep us asking for locally produced products in our restaurants. For this dinner all the meat, including rabbit, came from local farms and the heirloom tomatoes were picked moments before right there at the gardens.

The food was amazing, the guests delightful and the crew worked hard through out the 80 plus degree evening to bring it all together.

 To view all the photos from the 2010 OITF at Troy Gardens, please go to my flickr account.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Goose Chaser Farm

We work with a number of amazing food stylists and this Spring we had the pleasure of working with Stef Culberson a native of Germany but a convert to the Wisconsin way of life. We were inspired by the stories of her family’s sustainable farm near Blanchardville, Wisconsin.
The farm started very small and more as a hobby than a business. They wanted to raise their son, Seth, in the Country versus the City. They wanted him to grow up respecting nature and life and for the whole family to know where their food came from.
Various animals were saved from situations where they were unwanted or to too old to be of any value and allowed to live a full life on the Goose Chaser Farm. The hobby was quickly becoming a business when chickens were added for eggs and meat.  Soon birds raised strictly for their meat were added. With aggressive advertising and a lots of free samples they earned enough customers to make their investment back with some cash left over.

The Geese of Goose Chaser Farm

The next step was to add pigs. Stef had been disappointed in the lack of flavor in pork she was purchasing in the U.S. compared to Europe and knew that raising their own that she could get that great tasting flavor again. They invested in the rare breed of Mulefoot pigs which do well in the Wisconsin climate and live in a “natural”, sustainable manner on the farm.
Stef’s dream is to not only provide sustainable grown meat but to also educate everyone about traditional meat production.

Stef on the farm with Samuel and the mulefoot pigs.
 We spent an early morning on the farm watching the animals, chasing the geese and enjoying a hot breakfast complete with Stef’s homemade sausages from the farm. A light fog hung in the valley and sun coming through the trees gave us hope that a little farm in Wisconsin could help sustainable food production make it’s mark on the American way of life.
An heirloom mule foot pig with her piglets.
 To view more photos from the Goose Chaser Farm, please go to my flickr account.