Last year, totally serendipitously, I found a new part time job at a third-generation family farmette here in Pittsburgh. I was hired to do 8-10 hours a week of bookkeeping and invoicing, etc. While that is part of the job the bigger part has become much more than that. Farmer Tara has welcomed me as her partner-in-crime to help brood chickens, take care of the beehives, host special events (our first wedding is in October!) and produce the Summer Farm Dinner Series.
The Farm Dinners are one of the coolest things I’ve ever been part of. This season we have seventeen dinners in the series. Tara worked this past winter to secure chefs from around Pittsburgh to participate by planning menus based primarily on produce from the farm. The chefs also source meats and cheese and other items as locally as possible. We even ask that as much of the alcohol is locally produced and we’re lucky to have vodka, rum and whiskey made right here. And the beer! So many great brewers doing their thing locally.
[Side note: We just started working with Hitchhiker Brewing Co right here in my little town. There are plans in the works for them to create a special Churchview Brew with ingredients from the farm. Standby for details on that.]
One of my favorite roles in these dinners is creating the look and feel of the farm. Getting to go “yard-sale-ing” (with my dudes) for vintage dishes and linens is a great way to spend a Saturday morning. We have amassed a nice collection to set the table and various other spots around the farm but I’m always on the hunt. The farm itself is ripe with old wooden boxes, farm tools and antlers to use to create the feeling I’m going for.
The flowers for every dinner are pulled from the fields, herb garden, edges of the surrounding woods and Tara’s mom’s amazing garden. As such the arrangements change along with the season just as the menus do. It’s really cool to watch the summer unfold and slowly turn to fall and bear witness to it in such an intimate, close to the earth, way.
I’m wildly thankful to be a part of what goes on at Churchview Farm. Check us out when you get a minute.