Tuesday, November 3, 2009
For those readers out of our email loop, here’s a brief synopsis of what went down at Berry Hill Farm in Stratham on October 11th:
Having always wanted to host a formal dinner in a barn where local farmers were celebrated for their hard work, I have been frustrated in years past by my lack of time for planning. This last year proved different, as two nationwide organizations with talented planners and experienced administrators came to the fore, converging on our Seacoast area to raise money for a good farm-related cause.
In March, Black Trumpet hosted a meeting of farmers and chefs interested in the Grow Out, and Chefs Collaborative distributed seeds to the farmers to grow. Chefs committed to buying the fruits of these plants, and for a moment in time, we had a roomful of committed growers and chefs talking about how to improve the existing farm-to-table system in our area. We could have talked through the night, and many of our frustrations remain, but the cohesion and camaraderie established that day has endured for many of us, and several chefs absent that day have already approached me about being involved next year.
So it was that Chefs Collaborative and Slow Food took my somewhat ethereal notion of a barn dinner and turned it into a tangible, fun-filled fundraiser that will likely become—yessiree!—an annual event.
Even the weather cooperated. Just before guests arrived, I watched my two children, swaying in the amber afternoon light, on rope swings that hung from an ancient tree in front of the barn. They were not unaware of the idyll they represented, and when I asked Eleanor why they had been swinging for so long, she replied, "I would have gotten down sooner, but everybody wanted to take pictures of us."
Self-awareness, I think, is a tremendous strength in a child. Humility will come later.
As I drove, the refrain in my head came from the famed quipster Theodore Roosevelt. It was a quote I had used in my toast at the Barn Dinner, and its simplicity is still resonating with me today: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
View all the photos online: http://www.flickr.com/photos/blacktrumpet/sets/72157622590696146/