More than anything we want to go back to our roots, to be local, harvest food straight from our backyards. Unfortunately these ideas are not as accessible as they once were long ago, but it’s not impossible to enjoy an exquisite, local meal. Farm dinners aren’t a new concept in Oregon, although it has been gaining in popularity over the last few years. Wineries and farms have opened their doors to the public to offer one-of-a-kind, locally sourced dishes paired with equally local drinks.
Plate & Pitchfork – Portland
This Portland-based farm to table location is frequently selling out dinners with its homemade, wholesome meals. Dinners consist of four to five courses prepared by two chefs. Menus aren’t available until 48 hours before the dinner, based on what’s readily available to chefs at the location and a different winery is featured every dinner. The evening kicks off at five in the evening with a tour of the farm, meeting the winemaker and enjoying dinner, then finishing the evening around 10. Plate and Pitchfork website.
Field & Vine – Portland
Similar to a pop-up restaurant, Field & Vine holds its dinner in a different field each time. This season’s farm dinners will be held in Dayton, Newberg, West Linn, and several other locations. Like Plate & Pitchfork, Field & Vine partners with a different winery every dinner. Guests get exceptional local dishes paired with the appropriate, local wine. The average price for a dinner is $135 and they fill up quick.
Owner and chef Pascal Chureau said in an interview with PDX Food Press, “With the vast spectrum of dining opportunities that we offer, from the spectacular locations and the different look and feel of each venue, to the scenic drive to get to each place and the distinct décor, we pride ourselves on introducing and exposing guests to what Oregon has to offer.” Allium Oregon website.
The name isn’t an exaggeration. Diners sign up for the dinner far in advance, only knowing the general spot. Eventually they’re given a hint of a more specific location by providing lodging recommendations, but diners still don’t know where the dinner will be until 24 hours before it’s to take place. Dinners have been held in expanse barns, fields, beaches, and in forests.
The rest of the dinners in 2018 are sold out, but 2019 dinners are already available to sign up. 85 to 90 percent of ingredients are sourced locally in the Pacific Northwest dinners, where local winemakers, farmers, and chefs all play a part in the event. The dinner itself is based on the region and season. Secret Supper website.
Outstanding in the Field
Perhaps the most nomadic restaurant in the U.S., Outstanding in the Field was founded in 1999 to combat against boring dining experiences. This year the traveling farm dinners are on the move from Canada to France to Bermuda to the Midwest. Thursday, July 19, the dinner is coming to Portland. Archery Summit will provide the wine and Sarah Schneider from The Nightwood Society will be the field chef. Outstanding in the Field website.
Top image: Plate & Pitchfork