When I heard my friends at Marcoot Jersey Creamery were planning a dinner on their farm with an award winning chef, I knew I had to be there. Um yummy food + a beautiful setting? Sign me up! Photographing the event….(and sampling the food, of course) was a culinary experience I will not soon forget. Who knew that angel food cake could taste like manna, or that slow cooked brisket could silence me with wonder.
Buuuuut, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let me start at the beginning.
Please enjoy the photos, and keep a napkin handy; you know, just in case you get a little drool on your phone, tablet, or keyboard ;)
On a summer evening in June, over 200 dinner guests enjoyed Graze in the Grass, a Farm to Fork Dining Experience at Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Greenville, Illinois. Chef Kevin Willmann of Farmhaus Restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri created the menu using local food ingredients sourced from Marcoot Jersey Creamery as well as other farms in the area.
Beginning with an interactive tour of the Creamery and calf barn, attendees nibbled on freshly pulled Marcoot Mozzarella drizzled with balsamic on crispy crostinis accompanied with a signature drink of creamy strawberry daiquiris.
Hay filled wagons escorted guests in waves from the farm and production facilities to the wide open pasture for the main courses.
On tap were microbrews from Urban Chestnut.
Lawn games dotted the pasture, inviting all to engage in friendly recreation as more food made it’s way to their plates.
Several times during the evening, the cows' curiosity got the best of them and they moseyed over to investigate.
Acoustic guitar music created a pleasant soundtrack to the evening.
The seated dinner was served family style starting off with gallon sized mason jars filled with a summer vegetable salad, Marcoot cheddar curds, & Farmhaus garden herbs; all dressed in an aged wine vinaigrette. This first course was paired with a white wine from a local Missouri winery, Chaumette Vineyards and Winery. Now that is not a bad way to start off a 4 course meal!
Hello there gorgeous pork tenderloin!
Remember that pork tenderloin from earlier? Here it is sprinkled with micro greens on a bed of spätzle (a German pasta). Have you ever experienced the deliciousness that is micro greens??? I may be ruined for regular greens for the rest of my life. And pork, well, this bad boy needs no explanation. Can you blame the cows for wanting to come on over?
Numerous compliments were overheard about the friendliness of the Marcoot Jersey staff, and I have to agree. These ladies were sweet, kind, and so very helpful!
This. Brisket. Y’all know I live in Texas, arguably the brisket capital of the south. But when I tasted this brisket smoked for 16 hours; mind and mouth exploded in goodness. In amazement I asked what it was seasoned with. Salt and pepper. Yeah. Proof, of what a James Beard Award winning chef can do! I still think about how incredible it was. Dressed with spicy greens from Living Waters Farms alongside green garlic salsa verde, I promise you I was tempted to bring some back home with me. Reeeeeally tempted.
Now for dessert, I admit I was hoping to see a chocolate item on the menu. But that was before I tasted the Angel Food Cake. It had this sweet crust with the right amount of crunch before the soft moist cake hit your lips. And just when you thought the party in your mouth couldn’t get any better the sweet strawberries and ice cream had your taste buds singing the hallelujah chorus. I will never look at angel food cake the same way.
When the night ended, many opted to stroll back to their cars and enjoy the summer breeze and the dusk landscape dotted with fireflies. A beautiful end to a lovely evening
In case I missed anyone earlier, below are all the contributors to the dinner. Huge applause to Kevin Willman and his team as well as the Marcoot Jersey Creamery staff. They all worked intensely to ensure the evening was a success. And my tastebuds agree that the mission was accomplished!
Pokey U-Pick Strawberries