"culinary circus": our trip to bountiful

Monday, September 15, 2014

We have the enormous generosity of the Halloran Family and the ingenuity of Kathy Coffey to thank for one of the most exquisite evenings of our entire lives. For creating a book we loved creating, for working with people from whom we learned and with whom we laughed, we were (there is irony here) given a gift—an afternoon at an Outstanding in the Field event, a back-to-the-earth meal orchestrated by the artist Jim Denevan.

The idea, quoting Devevan, involves "setting a long table on a farm and inviting the public to an open-air feast in celebration of the farmer and the gifts of the land."

The execution—and the weather—were perfection.

Our farm was Blooming Glen, in Perkasie, PA, bursting to eggplant/fennel/heirloom tomato/cabbage/tap-rooted clover/popcorn corn/passion flowers life under the care of the recently organic-certified Tricia Boneman and Tom Murtha. Our chef was Lee Chizmar, of Bolete, in Bethlehem, a much-raved about restaurant (and every rave you've heard has been earned). Our vintner (and, lucky for us, near tablemate) was Richard Blair, of Blair Vineyards, a family enterprise that produces incredibly delicious wines. (Richard also has the great distinction of being another Radnor High alum.) Our friends were and are and will always be John and Andra.

Heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella. Lamb and watermelon and feta. Pork and potatoes/foraged mushrooms/kale. A dessert inside a mason jar that had something to do with squash and cheesecake and everything to do with heaven. Indelible skies. Theatrical sun.

It was as if we'd been transported to a country far away.

I'm back now, but only reluctantly, to tell the tale.


Kelly Simmons said...

Oh I've read about this! How fun! And what perfect weather.

Serena said...

This sounds so delicious and fun! I have to say it reminds me of the NH farm gatherings we had at my uncle's before he passed away from cancer. We had the corn fest every year -- the adults went in the field to harvest the corn and the kids shucked...it was delicious...all open eating under the sun and umbrellas, etc.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Your images are as vivid as your words, Beth, but this is why I follow your blog. It is wonderful. Oh, and by the way, you made me hungry. ~Victoria Marie Lees

Beth Kephart said...

This really was, like, the VERY BEST day. Everything was perfection. Serena, sounds like a great NH. And hungry! Yes. I will now always be hungry.

Unknown said...

Hello. I am new to your blog; I actually came here because I just read your excellent, insightful, article about Gregory Djanikian in the Pennsylvania Gazette (Sept/Oct 2014, 52-57), in which this address is posted at the end. Please excuse me if this is not the proper place to convey my message of appreciation for your clear portrayal of professor-poet Djanikian. In their own way, your words and his verses were/are truly inspirational.
Thanks a lot! --Asima F. X. Saad Maura (PhD, C'99, asaadmau@udel.edu)

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