Friday, September 18, 2009

The Farmer and The Chef

The Second Annual Farmer and The Chef event took place last night at the Chase Riverfront Arts Center.  Estimations put the crowd at around 800; but it looked like more.  Since this was my first year participating, I don't have a point of reference, but from early feedback, it was well received by all.  These types of events are becoming more and more popular in Delaware- and I can only say that it is a good thing.  Especially when an event like this has it's focus entirely on the local theme.

As usual, an affordable price of $35 ($50 at the door) gave you access to some of the finest dishes prepared from products provided by the state's various farmers.  For me, an especially exciting element of the event was the seasonality of the dishes.  Since product was provided locally, you're going to get dishes prepared from ingredients at their peak.  

By now, the peanut pumpkin should be on your radar screen, if you read this regularly.  It's just one example of an item farmers, H.G. Haskell in this case, take pride and delight in growing, hoping a home cook or chef will come along and make something delicious for their friends or family.

"Locavorism" is a concept that is by no means new, but it is certainly a developing trend as almost everyone these days seem to be striving for reducing their carbon footprint and weaning themselves off processed and packaged foods.  

What would be a true delight is if we could sustain this trend, which would in turn allow farmers to more accurately forecast what they plant and harvest based on the needs of the public.  It would help the local economy, but it would ensure that when we wanted the best lima beans or corn, for example, we could make a stop at a local road-side stand and get the best of all worlds. 

Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Nut Mueselix

Peppercorn, coriander, star anise, sage, thyme and bay leaf provided depth of flavor for the soup.

Zinias are in bloom from late August until frost.


The super folks at Emile Henry, one of the event sponsors, provided beautiful earthenware pots from which to serve our soup.  This particular set-up is actually a handsome stew pot sitting atop an induction burner outfitted with a ceramic plate made by Emile Henry just for induction cooking. 
Now that's cool.

Delaware brewer Dogfish Head provided various brews, including the 90 Minute Imperial Pale Ale and their "Punk", Pumpkin Ale.


My littlest critic.

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