For those of you who have followed our blog posts over the last year, you have probably all noticed something. WE LOVE GOING TO FARMS! Furthermore, going to farms with 24 extra special, extra talented, extra excited kids, just can't be beat!
We arrived, on Thursday morning, at Eatwell Farm ready to learn and get our hands dirty (and boy did we ever.) We were greeted by Lorraine who, along with her husband Nigel and an incredible team of farmworkers and other staff, runs Eatwell Farm! We got to spend some time with Lorraine, walking through the fields and tasting as we went. Around every corner was a new and exciting treat and Lorraine taught us the best way to pick, smell, taste and enjoy every single thing we passed. We learned about seasonality, right as it was playing out in front of us and got to hear some interesting tidbits about how the drought has been changing the harvest for some of their most popular crops. Lorraine is a fountain of knowledge and let us all pick her brain about everything from how to tell when a mulberry is ripe to the difference between their Heritage Birds and other egg-laying chickens you might know.
After working up quite a sweat on the farm tour, we all joined in some messy, muddy, fun in the sun and cooled down with some water.
In the afternoon, campers divided into two groups. One group got to sit down with our friend Kourtnii Brown, the Founder of Common Compost to learn about one of the most important things that goes on in the dirt. That's right, you guessed it: COMPOST!
While one group learned about living things in the soil, the other half of the campers learned about live yeast and how to wake it up and turn it into bread. Campers got to use cooking techniques like baking, temperature control, kneading, measuring and, sometimes the hardest lesson, waiting, under Lorraine's patient and careful tutelage.
With rolls in the oven, we were ready to welcome our guest chef for the evening and get some dinner on the "table." Chef Lauren Kiino of Il Cane Rosso and Red Dog Restaurant, is known for her approachable, innovative and local fare which made her a perfect fit for a lesson on the farm. Campers created a feast of spinach salad with beets and peaches, crostini with fromage blanc, summer squash, mint and olive tapenade, Long & Bailey Spareribs with Lauren's famous BBQ sauce, kale and new potato salad, the rolls (made with Lorraine) and finished it all with a strawberry compote made from Eatwell strawberries and lavender that paired with panna cotta.
With full bellies we settled around the camp fire to watch campers perform the skits they'd been rehearsing throughout the week. We are always so impressed with what they come up with! Then, it was off to sleep in our tents under the bright farm stars.
On Friday morning (after making a delicious breakfast with Chef Elianna) we set about the serious business of Iron Chef! Groups were each given a secret ingredient and had 45 minutes to create something, using all the skills they'd garnered throughout the week, to share with the group. We had some really innovative recipes this year. One group, who's secret ingredient was summer squash, used the sun's strong rays to toast some bread and melt cheese over the summer squash to make a crostini; they were a total hit!
After clean up, thank you cards and a final romp around the farm to deliver compost to the chickens, it was time to say goodbye for now to Eatwell and head back to San Francisco so we could tell everyone about our adventures.
Good times were had by all at Session One of Bay Leaf Kitchen Camp. I can't wait to see what Session Two will bring!
Did I mention that we had a professional photographer come up to the farm with us this time? Scroll through Adam Allegro's photos below to get a glimpse into our time at Eatwell Farm and go to www.adamallegro.com to see more of his work.