Our first applewood farm Meet-the-Farmer dinner has come and gone, and what a night it was! Surrounded by so many of the people that have made applewood restaurant what it is today (and therefore having made applewood farm a possibility) was a humbling experience for sure.
Laura and I had always hoped that applewood restaurant could be different from other restaurants. We wanted it to be a place where people would want to be–not just the fantastic guests that fill our dining room, but also the dedicated people that work there. Restaurants are typically not fun places to work; that just tends to be the way it is. Cooks, especially, work long, hard hours for not much pay. We wondered if a restaurant, built on the idea that all the people there could be happy, would work.
Well, we like to think that it has. Perhaps not in the way many would think successful, but we think its great. One test of this success, and a major one at that, was on display at our Meet-the-Farmer dinner Tuesday night. Laura and I had no part in the planning and execution of what was a terrifically fun night. Tess, Sam, Brendan, Geoff, Chris, JP, Pedro, and Jake take that honor. The proof of the quality, dedication, and happiness of the applewood staff was on our plates at dinner, heard in the roar of the dining room as the event rolled along, and in all of our joyful faces as we shared food and stories with each other. Man, what fun!
So what now? Well, farm life (and country life in general) is full of lessons to be learned. One important one that is front and center right now is to live life according to the seasons. It’s cold outside, and the world around us has slowed its pace. We need to learn to live our lives to match that slower rhythm. There is plenty of time for days full of chores; we need to learn to enjoy some down time. This is most definitely not a lesson learned from 20 years working the hot line in the kitchen!
While it was incredibly special how many of the people that are so important to applewood came out for the dinner, I wanted to express how much it meant to us that both Sean Whalen (of Poor Farm) and Christopher Nicolson (of Iliamna Fish) were there. We have had several Meet-the-Farmer dinners featuring each of these amazing men and their lamb and produce, and wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, respectively. Having other farmers as guests at our own dinner was an honor. They both, in no small part, have shaped who we are and what we believe in. Their examples of sustainable fishing and small-scale farming continue to offer us insight into what we are trying to do, as well as the inspiration to keep at it!
That’s about all for now. We have plans in the works up here at applewood farm. Our seeds have been ordered for the spring planting, we are mapping out the gardens, and talks of a new round of pigs have been common. It’s a beautiful, cold, sunny day and the promise of snow is just around the corner! We’ll be enjoying that for sure.