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A celebration of the basil harvest with food by Erik Sather of Bar La Grassa
Sunday, August 26, 3 p.m. (dinner at 5 p.m.)
Garden Farme
7363 175th Ave NW, Ramsey, MN 55303
(50 minutes north of the Twin Cities)

Bruce Bacon of Garden Farme who is a longtime Slow Food member, supplies Bar La Grassa and other top Twin Cities restaurants with organic produce. Bruce invited us to his farm — at the height of basil season — to have a delicious picnic dinner and learn more about basil, organic farming and farm-to-city issues. Erik Sather, the executive chef of Bar La Grassa was the chef.

There were two talks and demonstrations before dinner. Bruce gave tours of his four gardens. Erik Sather demonstrated pesto making as he prepared the pesto for the meal. Just before dinner Ken Meter of the Crossroads Research Center gave a presentation entitled “Forging Direct Connections from Farmers to Consumers.”

The menu:


Photos and the story of the day:

Genovese basil in the field, the raison d’etre for our event.
(Photos by Val Landwehr)

Bruce Bacon (red suspenders) and Seamus Fitzgerald (headdress) lead the garden tour.

Bruce Bacon and guests try arugula. Amaranth grows in the background.

Sampling greens on the tour.

The beehives.

Bees on the landing platform.

Honeybee on a mint blossom.

The end product.

Tatsoi in the garden.

Wasabina.

Lacinato kale.

A reddish cultivar of lamb’s quarter.

Garlic.

Lamb’s quarter.

An heirloom pear.

Crab apples.

A ladder to the crab apple tree.

Every farm needs a scarecrow.

Erik Sather demonstrates the making of traditional pesto with basil and pine nuts.

Dina Berray, the event’s chair, handing the microphone to Ken Meter.

Ken Meter discussing “Forging Direct Connections From Farmers to Consumers.”

A smoker and oven on wheels.

Erik Sather and his assistant, Matt Kunes, and the pastry chef, Emma Vagts, before the service began.

Waiting for the picnic dinner.

Roasted beets with summer savory, honey, pickled onions and coriander seeds.

Penne with arugula and pine nuts, rear. Beet salad and roasted garlic, front.

Mixed lettuces, left rear; kale, chard, wasabina and other spicy greens, on the right. The dressings were mixed herb and champagne.

Smoked and roasted lamb and roasted garlic from the farm.

One of many jars of pesto enjoyed by the guests.

An anise hyssop-mint herbal infusion and spring water.

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