Today begins a total of 5 Tuesdays in a row that we will be posting from our Simple Evening in Raleigh, North Carolina. This Simple Evening may be the nearest and dearest to my heart yet. For the first time doing a Simple Evening I felt I had found the sweet spot. This finally hit my goal of doing more than just bring together amazing creative people within their community, but it also showed the whole process of what it takes to create a beautiful and special collaborative meal like this one.
My dream for this Simple Evening was to show the process from farm to table and everything in between. So often we forget where our food has come from and the beauty of the connection between growing what we need to feed ourselves. So when I knew we were going to be in Raleigh, I knew this was the perfect moment. We were able to not only find a farm and chef but we found a farm and a chef that work together every day. These kind of connections are what makes these evenings so incredibly special. I love knowing that not only are we sharing a story about so many gifted people doing what they love, but we also are telling the story of how it all works and comes together.
So today we are beginning where it all starts, the land. We set out early the first day to the Commonplace Farm just outside of the city. We woke up at 6 AM before the sun was up. It was freezing. I was wearing Hunters and wishing I had wool socks in them to keep my toes warm. We were wearing layers of denim, military jackets, and wool sweaters. Turning in to the farm it smelled of wood smoke, fresh morning dew, and earth. Matthew was moving the chicken coops with Trey and we have dogs greeting us in every direction. The sun was just rising through the trees and the fog was beginning to lift. At that moment I was reminded of the beauty of living off the land. I felt at home there even amongst the chill of the morning. It felt so genuine, unplanned, and authentically beautiful.
As Matthew moved the chicken coops we collected eggs with Trey and then headed in to the greenhouse. As we opened the door a welcoming warmth drew us inside and Trey grabbed the clippers. We wandered down the rows to the red kale which he said they would be dropping off later that day to Jake the chef and owner of Capital Club 16. Mike and I were both cut a piece of red kale and can honestly say we have never tasted kale so amazing. Especially after not having breakfast that morning and only coffee in stomachs. It was my first time having kale that fresh. Mike still tries every type of kale he can find hoping it will taste the way that leaf did that morning. No luck yet…
Trey gathered the rest of what he needed and set it alongside the eggs which also would be cleaned and taken to Capital Club 16 later that day.
As we said goodbye around 10 AM we all sat in the car driving back for some breakfast and almost all shared at the same time how amazing that felt to wake up before the sun, have dirt under our nails, have eaten fresh from the garden, and smell the earth and burning wood. It was such a good reminder of how important the farm is. Whether you grow a garden, pay for a CSA, eat at a farm-to-table restaurant, buy from your local co-op or grocery store, the farm is important. Too often we forget what goes in to bringing these things to our table. That’s why we felt like it was so important to start this simple evening at the source.
Next week we will be going in the kitchen with Jake of Capital Club 16 to see him hand make some of the awesome items he did for the Dinner. Stay tuned for next Tuesday!