Slow Food Columbus’ third annual open air dinner was held at the Flying J Farm near Johnstown Ohio. Our run of good luck with the weather had come to an end, but such is the risk of any outdoor event and we ploughed on regardless. Contingency plans were put into action and our smiling host farmer Dick Jensen made quick work of moving chairs and tables to the barn.
Farm to fork is one of the tenets of Skillet’s ingredient driven approach and we were honored that the Caskey family closed their restaurant for the weekend to be a part of the dinner. They not only cheerfully braved the inclement weather but pulled off cooking in three locations – at the grill, in their mobile trailer and over the campfire.
The grilled cheese sandwiches were superlative and people are still talking about them. Brioche with Lucky Penny goat’s cheese, truffle oil and lightly dressed arugula. I’m not sure you can totally relive the magic without standing in a muddy field in the rain, but I know several people who’ve gone to Skillet for lunch this week to try.
The rest of the feast was spread out in the barn: burgers made with Flying J beef and topped with Blue Jacket dairy goats cheese, Flying J brisket, home-made pickles, arugula, ratatouille, tomatoes, panzanella, cabbage slaw, tomato marmalade and ciabatta rolls.
The beans made a grand entrance, delivered straight from the fire by farmer Dick. You can’t get more farm to table than that.
Dessert was freshly churned ice cream made with Snowville Creamery cream, and hand-churned by Warren Taylor and anyone else who wanted (or was coerced) to take a turn, from age 3 upwards. The ice cream was topped with Jeni’s delicious Ohio stone fruit compote (plums, peaches, apricots, and cherries).
The dinner was a wonderful embodiment of Slow Food’s mission of conviviality, bringing people together over food. Celebrating farm fresh ingredients, our passionate chefs and farmers and sharing a wonderful meal with old and new friends. We are still a relatively young chapter but it’s wonderful that we are already building our traditions – our annual open air dinner, camping and breakfast around a campfire, and the now required pawpaw liqueur.
Many thanks to everyone who helped to make the event such a success: Dick Jensen - Flying J Farm, The Caskeys - Skillet Rustic. Urban.Food., Warren Taylor - Snowville Creamery, Angel King – Blue Jacket Dairy, Abbe Turner Lucky Penny Farm Creamery, Mike Laughlin Northridge Organic Farm, Colleen Braumoeller - The Greener Grocer, Jeni Britton Bauer - Jeni’s Ice Creams, Vino 100, Ely Brothers Photography, The Molesky Family, Zach & Mary Briggs and all of the many volunteers who mucked in and helped set up, clean up, make breakfast, move chairs and churn ice cream.
There are more photos of the event here.