Through the Fire

Cooking our way into a new relationship with food!

Dinner under the Chestnut Tree and the Hidden Eclipse

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What grace and luck I have to live where we can have a beautiful outdoor dinner on the Full Moon/Eclipse night under a beautiful Ancient chestnut tree! Route 1 Farms hosted yet another fabulous dinner out in the orchard. This is my third year of going. It’s always delicious organic food, most right from the farm that day, fabulous wine pairings from a local winery, and amazing chefs. This year did not disappoint, so I thought I would share my evening with you.

I went with a dear friend and we had more good luck in sitting at a table across from a lovely couple with whom we had good conversation. Next to us was a mom and her two teenagers, so that was great to see kids enjoying farm fresh organic food.


We started with an appetizer of roasted beet and goat cheese topped with a bit of fennel jam. Half a glass of Chardonnay from Alfaro Family Wines – love them!! ( remember to pace yourself, Charity, pace yourself!)

This was followed by a short tour of the farm. It’s always fascinating to me to see all that they grow – up to 50 different vegetables, fruits, herbs, throughout out the year. Jeff Larkey, the farmer, shared some interesting information about using biodiesel fuel throughout the farm. There is a local company growing mustard – making fuel from the seeds and then using the seeds to make a product which can replace the lethal methyl bromide which many strawberry growers use to kill harmful soil substances. It was very encouraging to hear some good news! Jeff also talked about how the farm has been adapting to drought conditions and managing pretty well.


DSC03742 the peppers came on so fast, they have excess

DSC03761 chestnuts to be harvested soon

DSC03745 celosia

We gathered under the beautiful chestnut tree. We ate, we laughed, we drank, we had good conversation, and while we did not get to see any of the lunar eclipse or any glimpse of the moon, it was a beautiful early fall evening in Santa Cruz.


Our delicious salad – several kinds of lettuces, delicate squash, fennel, blue cheese, with a tasty curry vinaigrette that I am looking forward to replicating.


Second course of clams and mussels in a truly delicious broth, which I poured into my empty wine glass and drank!


THIRD course of  peppers( yes, from those rows and rows of them featured above) stuffed with rice and spinach. I’m not sure why we also had polenta – it was the only thing that was not spectacular. Local chicken topped with a cilantro pesto. Imagine grilling chicken for several hundred people and having it all be perfect! This course was paired with a Pinot Noir. I didn’t seem to get any photos with the wine included – perhaps too busy drinking it. haha.


too dark for a good photo of dessert! a delicious and not too sweet pear tart with salted caramel. and yes, I ate the gluten and the whipped cream. mmm.



Thanks, Route 1. See you next year.


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