Truthfully, nothing excites me more than a good meal. This love of food is the driving force behind my career (that is, how to make healthy food taste good), this Journal, and about 90% of my trips out of the house. Those of you who know me personally know this to be all too true.
Rationally I know it's much healthier to prepare food at home, and I usually follow my own advice during the week, but on weekends I really can't resist the lure to be wined + dined. Instinctively, I seek out restaurants that combine thoughtful, inventive preparation with fresh, organic, and local fare. The farm to table movement is crazy trendy right now and I'm so not complaining - it's truly my favorite way to cook and eat, and the health + environmental benefits are unparalleled.
So naturally, when Swank Speciality Produce invited me to attend their upcoming farm dinner, I was beyond in. The farm has been one of my go-tos for organic + locally grown produce since moving back to South Florida, but for whatever reason I had yet to make it to one of their events. Each season, the Swank family + farm host monthly dinners on the farm grounds, inviting the area's best chefs to come and prepare the just-grown food. Swoon. Talk about farm to table.
Admittedly, the events are more 'party' than 'supper' (not complaining), with an incredible selection of wines handpicked by a sommelier and fresh, produce-inspired cocktails. From start to end, we were not without a drink or food in hand the entire evening. And let's be real, that's my M.O. at all times.
As expected, the food was absolutely next level. Each of the dinners have a theme that informs the menu, entertainment, and vibe of the night, and ours was a Chinese New Year celebration. Fresh dumplings, local fish crudo, noodles laced with farm veggies and tropical fruit, and a turnip 'cake' I'm dead-set on recreating were just a few of the evening's standouts. Everything was served family style to encourage conversation and connection, which is very much my jam.
Part of what made the evening so special was being on the actual farm. Aside from providing the most picturesque backdrop (with a killer view of the sunset), it felt like an adult playground of the best kind. Between sips + bites, we explored the grounds, held baby chicks, and danced around in a sunflower field (yes, really). The entire evening was thoughtful, romantic, and delicious.
I found myself wondering why the hell have I not done this before a number of times throughout the night. What the Swank team is doing out there is truly something special. Lucky for us in South Florida, there's still a few events left this season that have yet to sell out (!) and I'm hoping to make it to their Vegetable Feast themed dinner on March 26th. For details on these magical evenings of outstanding food and impeccable vibes, head to the Swank site here.
And for those of you outside of Florida, I encourage you to explore your local options, as many farms are hosting these types of not-to-be-missed events. File under: more creative and inspired weekend plans.