UPDATE: Touch Supper Club has posted more info about the Sept. 13 Touch Supper Truck Preview on their Facebook page. Event info can be found here.
Attending a farm-to-table dinner has been one of the top items on my “foodie to-do list” for awhile – and because of scheduling conflicts, I’ve had to miss a lot of them. In addition to seeing exactly where the food is coming from, I just really enjoy the ability to escape to a quieter place and take in the beauty of the farm.
I finally had a chance to cross this off my list last week at Touch Supper Club’s Farm-to-Table Dinner at Stone Garden Farms.
That Tuesday was my first day back to work after a long vacation. I always dread the first day back because something inevitably comes up while you were out of the office and by the end of it I feel like I need another vacation. This time, though, the promise of the Touch Supper Club event was enough to get me through the stress of the day.
Stone Garden Farm is located in Richfield. Although it’s only a 30 minute drive from Downtown, it’s like escaping to another place. This higlights one of the things I love about the Cleveland area — whatever your whim, you’re always just a short drive away from something different.
The farm is just off the highway, tucked back a bit in a clearing in the woods. The first things I noticed as we approached the farm were the barn, farmhouse and gardens. In addition to large organic gardens, Stone Garden maintains free range pastures for cows, milk goats, chickens and pigs. It was in the middle of all of this, out in the open of a late-summer evening, that Touch Supper Club had set up tables for everyone as well as their kitchen station.
While we waited for the dinner to start, we were encouraged to check out the rest of the property. This is when I noticed my favorite aspect of Stone Garden. In addition to the farm, Stone Garden also hosts the Museum of Western Reserve Farms and Equipment. Over the years, Stone Garden has collected 39 farm buildings and had them transported to the property for preservation. They renovate these buildings, as well as acquire and gather the tools, machines, trade skill knowledge and stories of their past.
When you’re at Stone Garden, you can explore an old Smoke House, Blacksmith Shop, Sawmill and a barn that’s over 200 years old. These are buildings that may have been abandoned because they needed too much work; however, they were saved by the Stone Garden Farm’s desire to preserve the rural history of our region.
My two favorite buildings were the Eastwood/Rooy Slaughter House & Icehouse and the newly acquired Richfield Fire Truck from 1934. My dad restored antique cars when I was growing up so I love being able to look at early cars and trucks – there’s a hardiness and craftsmanship you don’t always find in modern vehicles.
After wandering a bit, I ran into Cleveland food blogger Bite Buff (check out her event review here) and we found our seats for dinner.
The evening’s menu featured 7 impressive courses laid out family-style on a beautifully candlelit table. We started with an assortment of deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes. I love the deviled eggs that Touch regularly offers on their restaurant menu and was very excited they kicked things off with this. Not surprisingly, they were delicious — the blue cheese deviled eggs being my favorite.
This was followed by three salads. Each a completely different flavor highlighting produce that was picked fresh from the Stone Garden earlier that day. First up: heirloom tomato panzanella salad, with wild lamb quarters, arugula and goat cheese. This was followed by a salt roasted beet salad with candied walnuts, strawberry rhubarb vinaigrette and danish blue cheese. The third salad featured garden beans, toasted cumin, feta, tomato salad and toasted pine nuts.
While I enjoyed each, the beets were both my favorite salad and favorite dish overall for the evening. As Chef Fisher explained when he stopped by the table, there was something savory, sweet, and salty about it. I loved that there were at least three different kinds of beets featured in it (all picked from Stone Garden) and the candied walnuts. This just reminded me that I really need to start eating more beet!
These courses were followed by two very succulent fish and pork dishes. First, they brough out a grilled smoked salmon, accompanied by heirloom tomato bread pudding and a leek corn slab bacon compote. The subtle, non-fishy taste of the salmon even won over the salmon haters at our table. My favorite part of the dish, though, was the super-savory bread pudding. It was very flavorful with a nicely balanced texture.
After this, we finally got to taste the main course — suckling pig. Throughout the evening, we had been teased with glimpses of the roasting pig, which had been selected from Stone Garden Farms just like the produce and cheese. This was served with deliciously smoked sweet potatoes. Fortunately for those with an unsatiable appetite like Scott, platter after plattter of pork was brought to the table so there was plenty to enjoy.
To complement the salmon and pig, Chef Fisher and his team brought out homemade bbq sauce and rose hip gastrique. The bbq sauce had a nice chunky texture to it, but – if I had to pick – the slight sweetness of the gastrique won me over as my favorite. (So much so that I used it on both the salmon and the pig.)
As full as I was, I still managed to squeeze in a slice of blueberry pie to finish up the meal. I haven’t tasted a pie that fresh before — I could feel and taste each individual blueberry with every bite. The crust and the white cheddar cheese ice cream lent a slight salty flavor to it.
Every course was paired with a different cocktail or wine. Highlights included the lynchburg lemonade that accompanied the salmon dish and the ginger peach cobbler that was served with the pie. The lemonade featured lots of Jack Daniels, fresh-squeezed lemons and Grand Marnier.
The Ginger Peach Cobbler was made from fresh-juiced Georgia Peaches and Ginger, Peche french liquor, frangelico, and Cointreau. Both were incredibly refreshing. Unfortunately, due to a tray mishap, we only had one glass of the Ginger Peach Cobbler which we passed around to taste. I would love to enjoy a pitcher of this on a warm Summer day.
After dinner, our stuffed stomachs and satisfied palates meandered over to the roaring bonfire (which Chef Fisher had earlier cooked some of our dishes over). Although it was still August, the night air had an early hint of Fall to it so it was nice to have the fire there to warm ourselves by. The best touch, though, was a group of local musicians who jammed throughout the entire evening. At no point during the event were we without the sounds of folk and bluegrass music – it was amazing!
As if all of this wasn’t enough, Touch Supper Club had their brand new Supper Truck on hand for guests to check out. If you missed the farm-to-table dinner and are dying to catch a sneak peek of Cleveland’s latest food truck, don’t fret. Rob from Touch shared that on September 13 they’ll be doing a truck preview at Touch, with their maiden voyage the next day.
If you’d like to visit Stone Garden, their Museum Harvest Fest kicks off at the end of September and runs throughout October. You can choose a pumpkin for Halloween, visit the petable farm animals and tour the historic buildings. The gift shop located in their barn will also feature hand-painted gourds and other handmade Halloween crafts.
Although it took me a while to get to a farm-to-table dinner, Touch Supper Club provided the perfect evening for my first time. Next up on my foodie to-do list? Dinner in the Dark!
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Disclosure: Touch Supper Club provided me with one media pass to attend the event. The opinions shared here are always 100% my own.