It was the most beautiful late summer day one could hope for when attending an outdoor farm lunch. The backdrop of sunflowers and zinnia in bloom and ripening swiss chard added the most brilliant yet tranquilizing effect to the well-planned and executed event. The setting was Patti Popp’s Sport Hill Farm in Easton and our hostess was Amie Hall, a holistic health counselor and cooking coach. Amie regularly holds lunches here and the next one is on October 13 (see Event Calendar for details).
Patti and her husband started farming the property in 2000 and have been growing their small organic farm, well, organically. They serve the community not only through their on- farm stand (open Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10-6) but also through programs at a local school and their CSA. The Unquowa School runs a summer farm camp that Patti hosts and their cafeteria serves local, organic food picked fresh daily from their fields. Sport Hill Farm’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program has grown from 20 families to 75 and still cannot meet the demand (read long waiting list).
Let’s begin the feast. The amuse- bouche of raw patty pan squash was a revelation – soft and slightly sweet with the warmth of the sun still on it. Lunch began in earnest with warm and crusty Wave Hill bread and heads of roasted garlic served on a small cast iron skillet. I combined the two for a savory combination of crunchy and silky smooth textures.
Next came the lima bean, butternut and patty pan squash soup which had been simmering since our arrival. Served in a green pepper bowl, it was light, tasty and satisfying and I’m pretty sure nobody at my table was able to resist a second serving.
The secret to a salad using raw kale is to let it sit. With lettuce you wind up with a soggy mess, but with kale the result is sublime. The dressing was made with orange juice, Nama Shoyu (organic raw unpastueurized soy sauce) and olive oil. If you have never cooked with soy sauce or used it in a dressing, go out a buy a bottle and start experimenting. Soy sauce contains the fifth taste, L-glutamate, which the Japanese call umami. Do not underestimate the power of umami to deepen and enrich the flavor of a dish. Go put that soy sauce on your list.
The Simply Delicious Lasagna was just that, simple and delicious. The flavors just melted together so beautifully it was hard to believe it was spiked with kale and pesto. The magic continued as we were served black bean brownies that had no hint of black bean and bordered on fudge according to one guest. After that indulgence, I was ready for the farm tour.
Patti walked a few of us around her fields to get a closer look at her produce in its late summer glory. Enormous heads of cabbage, broccoli nearing ripeness, banana peppers galore, lettuce, and kale adorned the fields. I left with some melons from the farm stand and a fresh head of lettuce Patti cut for me and can’t wait to go home and make some soy sauce dressing to go with it.