- Farm to Table (4)
In Search of Authentic Farm to Table
The term “Farm to Table” has penetrated our food culture to the degree now that most people don’t think twice about what it means. According to guest NPR writer and chef, Andrea Reusing, “The ubiquity that makes farm-to-table meaningless also gives it its power. It has come to signify authenticity on almost any level….” Cultural pundits such as Vanity Fair magazine are bemoaning the loss of the real meaning of Farm to Table …”Is it time to table farm to table?” But is it really lost? Where does one find the farm to table concept authentically rendered? On the farm!
See smell and taste the Farm
Take Crow Farm. In 2008, the Crow Family began implementing plans to diversify the family farm offering grass-fed Angus beef for sale and opening to visitors as a Farmstay B&B. A vineyard was planted and the journey to winery began. Throughout the process the Crows have purposely kept their farm roots intact and evident to those who come to taste their wines, Farmstay or take in an event. When someone comes to Crow they can see, smell and taste the farm. Visitors often help with the chores of feeding the chickens and the miniature horses or even the birthing of a calf. The wine tasting room adjacent to the silos is the old milking barn, chickens scurry down the path from the animal barn to the tasting room and more times then not when you drive up a herd of grass-fed angus beef will be grazing on the front pasture of the farmstay house or in the fields behind the vineyard. As for “taste the farm”, all of Crow’s wines are made right on the property and most of them from the estate grapes grown on the expanding farm vineyard. Grass-fed angus beef is offered for sale on premise and as well pork from another farm right down the road.
Dine and Sip at the farm winery
In the past, Crow has partnered with several of the top farm to table restaurants in Maryland to showcase their Grass-fed Angus beef and wines on menus. But then they realized the formula was all backward….why travel their local goods to these urban farm to table restaurants when they could offer up the farm to table concept more authentically at their farm winery and B&B? Over the last five years, Crow has hosted at least fifty Farm to Table events in their vineyard and in the Farm Winery next to the vineyard during colder weather months. Events feature relatively unknown, innovative local chefs who create, cook and present their recipes right on the farm using Crow’s beef, eggs and foods from nearby farms.
Conjuring the Reminiscence
“Farm to Table” is also a part of Crow’s Farmstay B&B. Owner, Judy Crow cooks Crow Farm eggs and local sausage for her Farmstay B&B guests in the same style that her mother lovingly did on the nearby farm where she grew up. She recalled always eating at the table and her Mother saying…..”Time to bless our animals and the farm that provides for us….”. And so it occurred to her that Crow delivers the feeling of farm to table or even more simplistically, offers a place at the farm table. The hospitality of the Crows who are present at each event and all the animals, open pastures and thriving grapevines create a feeling of authenticity when someone enjoys a wine tasting or dinner event featuring their grass-fed beef.
How Authentic? 5 Quick Facts
- The Crows Judy and Roy host and share in every farm to table event at the farm (roughly 50 a year)
- Farmstay B&B guests can share in doing farm chores…feeding the chickens popular! (letting miniature horses out to pasture a second favorite!)
- Breakfast…Crow Eggs and Sausages from the local farm down the road; add in a Crow Mimosa made with their Estate Sparkling Vidal
- A Herd of Grass-fed Angus Beef graze vineyard side Farm to Table events feature fresh Crow Beef recipes
- Crow’s Vineyard & Winery features 5 Estate Wines
Reconnecting with home and family
A few months ago Crow held their third annual CrowFest, a full day event celebrating the bounty of their farm, their wines and local partners. A cooking demonstration was staged right in one of the farm sheds atop stacked hay bales. In front of a “Packed Shed” of urban foodies, Chef Robbie Jester prepared Crow Salisbury steak made with Crow Grass-fed Angus Beef. The crowd then enjoyed a glass of Crow Vineyard & Winery Barbera as Jester served small platelets of the steak with local string beans. While serving his creation, Chef Jester defined the difference between grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef “….as you prepare grass-fed beef you actually smell the grass in the air around the raw meat before you cook it.” The audience was awe-struck with this sensory evoking information. Jester has been a guest chef at Crow since the Crow’s started their farm diversification journey. Now quite well known in the Wilmington and Upper Eastern Shore restaurant and local foods scene, he always comes back to cook at Crow. “For me the farm to table movement is not just about nourishing the body but it’s about reconnecting with home and family. Eating and buying in a way that our grand parents used to. There’s a charm and nostalgia about traveling to the farm and then sharing those beautiful things with family and friends. Crow Farm continues to excel in this movement where many disappear because of the attitude of service and giving they possess…The details are maintained impeccably so it is truly an escape.”
Setting the “Farm Table”
Crow has been successful with the quality or their wines generating awards and healthy sales. What’s behind this success? The genuine hospitality and a chance to sip and eat local right at the farm that makes the wine and the food.
Please enjoy further chapters on this series “Setting the Farm Table” by subscribing to this rss feed and even better yet visiting Crow Vineyard & Winery.
Author/Photographer: Lotte Bowie, Branding Designer, Video Producer, Former Marketing Manager Vanity Fair Magazine and Advertising Executive