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An Evening in the Country

Culinary

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Posted by Angela Cardinali, guest blogger of Berkshire Farm & Table

“From the farm to the table” is a way of life in the beautiful countryside of western Massachusetts. This summer, the farm AND the table had equal billing when local makers came together to present delicious food on handcrafted pottery at a stunning organic farm in the foothills of the Berkshires.

man cutting bread

Photo credit Elaina Mortali

Mill River Farm in New Marlborough hosted “An Evening in the Country,” putting the spotlight on the thoughtfully prepared food of chef Jim Gop and his team at Heirloom Fire. The magical evening was meticulously planned and designed in partnership with Magdalena Events & Design. This dynamic duo collaborated with five potters in the region who created wares to present the farmed and foraged dinner served al fresco to enthusiastic guests.

greenhouse

Photo credit Elaina Mortali

Chefs, farmers and potters are all connected to the land through soil, the food that is raised, and the clay that is used in the craft. Inspired by the Berkshires’ rich agricultural history, its verdant landscape and a vibrant food culture, potters Stephanie Boyd, Suzy Konecky, Amrita Lash, Jackie Sedlock and Sandra Thomas shared their plates, serving bowls and platters for this very special event.

tableware

Photo credit Elaina Mortali

Handmade tableware brought warmth and creativity to this family-style meal and matched the effort and style that went into growing and preparing the food. Local ingredients, the lush farm setting and the handmade serve-ware connected a tapestry of passionate communities together and presented a unique cultural experience that put a ‘taste of place’ at the center of the table.

entree

Photo credit FED Guides

The strong connection between local makers and the landscape was a genuine tribute to farm to table. The meal was prepared in an outdoor field kitchen adjacent to the farm’s greenhouse with gorgeous mountain views. A vintage icebox, porcelain sink and open fires presented the backdrop for chef Jim Gop, an artisan blacksmith, who cooked the food on steel and iron grills, spits and cauldrons. The majority of seasonal ingredients were harvested on site and the open-air setting featured a display table highlighting the handmade pottery ready for the experience. The choreography of the intimate event included jars of colorful pickled veggies, a vintage suitcase at the bar, antique scales used to serve hors d’oeuvres and wooden serving boards which made the handmade dinnerware feel right at home.

outdoor setting

Photo credit Elaina Mortali

The dinner experience imparted an enchanted evening in the Berkshires.  The farm, the food and handmade pots – and the makers who cultivate each of these elements – create human connections at the heart of the farm-to-table experience. The collective of potters who participated all share a passion for food and creating beautiful vessels for people to use every day.

picking herbs

Photo credit Elaina Mortali

Much like the farm-to-table movement – knowing where your food comes from and supporting local producers – the use of handmade plates, mugs and bowls offers a connection to craftsmanship and a one-of-a-kind piece that enhances the dining experience. Guests were delighted by the food and the accompanying artwork – and several were interested in taking some pottery home, right off the tables! It’s an event experience worth repeating.

guests 3

Photo credit Elaina Mortali

“An Evening in the Country” will take place annually in the summer season in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. For information on this dinner and other upcoming events, visit heirloomfire.com.

platters

Photo credit Elaina Mortali

This blog post was created by Sandra Thomas and Angela Cardinali of Berkshire Farm & Table, a non-profit organization working to cultivate and promote the vibrant food culture of western Massachusetts.

Main Photo credit Elaina Mortali

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