Farm To Table To Heart And Soul
When we heard about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day, we knew that we wanted to be a part of it! Standing up for real food? Yes, please! We tossed around a myriad of ideas from the low-key to the large scale, from the serious to the slightly ridiculous. It was Kristina who said, “Let’s host the local pastors.” And from there, our Farm-To-Table dinner began to take shape. We wanted to share a vision for community, sustainability and the food movement with churches. Feeding our community is a theological issue at its core and the church must take its role. So we invited. And then we prayed that someone would actually show up! The response was overwhelming! It felt like we were hearing the very heartbeat of the Kingdom as people responded with, “We have been praying and talking about this very thing. We can’t wait to participate.”
We started talking to local farmers, winemakers and food artisans. And every time the reaction was the same, “Yes! How can I be involved?” It demonstrated to us so powerfully how much local farmers and food artisans want to provide healthy and beautiful food the community. If local organizations, families and churches work with local farms and producers, we really can have a real food movement!
As our plans took shape we tossed around a variety of ideas for a menu. However, we “stumbled” (actually, I feel that we were led!) upon a boutique wine label called Kaena. As Kristina and I sat in their tasting room in Los Olivos and sipped their Hapa Red, visions of beautiful beef and balsamic reductions danced through our heads. Right then and there we started building the menu around this inspirational wine. Providentially, “Kaena” means “born for greatness” in the winemaker’s native Hawaiian!
Our evening started in Kristina’s lower garden with appetizers: Chicken Liver Pâté with fresh baguettes and pickled vegetables courtesy of Gunnar & Jakes. Pickled jalapenos stuffed with cheese and prosciutto (can you believe that?! It’s amazing!), pickled beets, pickled asparagus and of course cucumbers! Along with this, we served a Hapa Blanc from Kaena.
After we mingled for a while and got to know some of our area pastors and church staff, we invited our guests–pastors from different churches and denominations all over the valley–to the table prepared for them.
The first course was a fresh green salad (from Country Fresh Herbs, a local family farm) with a blueberry maple vinaigrette (made by Alyssa!) served with a warm rosemary and sea salt pretzel and grainy mustard.
We had a testimony by Leanne (Kristina’s sister). She shared how her five year old daughter has been healed from autism through diet and nutritional changes. It was so moving and inspiring–especially for those of us who have seen the change with our own eyes!
Then came our main course: Red Wine Braised Grass Fed Beef, over mashed turnips with Gorgonzola, alongside heirloom carrots in a balsamic reduction. And we served the Hapa Red that inspired the menu, of course!
The beef (which was like butter) was graciously provided by Novy Ranches. All their animals humanely raised and grass fed! The produce was from Country Fresh Herbs and the best balsamic you can find anywhere, donated by Gourmet Blends.
Kristina and I then took a little time to share our vision for food and community, how the Church can be true to the command to eat and drink for the glory of God, how to provide for the poor and how we can work together as Christians to feed God’s children. We encourage you to download our special report: Feed My People–Ecology and the Food Movement For Christians. Get involved in the conversation and be a part of the movement!
Dessert was back in the lower garden with organic pies made from all local ingredients from Cutie Pie That! (If you need a pie, may I recommend Strawberry Lemonade Meringue. It’s all I hoped it would be and more!)
Although the pastors and church staff present were from a variety of denominational backgrounds, the evening was so full of unity and fellowship as we all bonded over delicious real food. There is so much denominationally and politically that can separate us, but there is something we can all agree on: we should have a food supply that doesn’t harm us and that is abundant for all of us. We should have food that is raised with integrity, upholding mankind’s mandate to care for and not to harm the earth.
Jesus compared Himself to bread, water, and wine. And it is this issue of the food we feed ourselves, our children and our community–how it is grown, raised and makes its way to our plates–that united us. Paul’s command that we do everything for the glory of God has been applied to everything except eating and drinking. Now’s the time for us to consider the command in its fullness: whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:31)
It was a lovely evening. We pray it’s the first of many such evenings as we continue our journey to whole, intentional, sustainable and ethical living. Join us?