written by Kerry Newberry
For local food enthusiasts, the hottest table of the year is the one that’s on a farm. Is there any better place to enjoy the abundance of sought-after berries, grilled corn on the cob and a gorgeous heirloom tomato salad?
“We know our guests enjoy getting out of restaurant dining rooms on summer nights and eating close to the source,” said Pascal Chureau, founder of Field & Vine Events. “It’s also a fun way to discover new wineries and farms.”
Chureau hosted his first farm dinner in 2013, initially as a one-off event to introduce patrons to the farmers who supply his West Linn restaurant Allium with produce. That wildly successful gathering spurred a new business venture and the chef now partners with farms and vineyards around the state, connecting the seasons through food and place.
Some of his most popular spots include Rosse Posse Elk Farm, Villa Catalana Cellars and Marquam Hill Ranch—where the resident herd of alpacas always takes center stage.
“It’s become an annual tradition for many of our guests,” said Chureau.
That sense of community also peaks across the languid arc of summer at The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen, a one-acre plot in Portland’s Cully neighborhood. Since 2009, founder and chef Stacey Givens has welcomed guests to the farm for creative seed-to-plate brunches, cooking classes and plant sales. Come summer, monthly farm dinners and bike-in movie screenings with “farmy” movie snacks kick into high gear.
At the three-generation family-owned Topaz Farm on Sauvie Island, farm feasts run on weekends between June through September. Husband-and-wife chefs Christian and Janelle Ephrem cook up four-course dinners served under a 200-year-old majestic oak tree. Standouts include nights devoted to global flavors from Moroccan to Ethiopian and Eritrean.