A Dinner at Elderslie Farm

| 12/6/2013 4:01:00 PM

Sarah SinningAs part of an assignment for GRIT Magazine, I was asked to attend what I thought would be an ordinary farm-to-table dinner event at a local farm – well, relatively local, since it was about a three hour drive from where I live in Lawrence down to the Wichita suburbs. Regardless, it was a beautiful October Saturday and a perfect afternoon for a drive through the Kansas Flint Hills. Now I suppose I should explain what I mean by “an ordinary farm-to-table dinner event,” since these things really are great and part of what I live for as a trained chef and local food enthusiast – I told you, I do this stuff for real. What I really mean to say is that this event, and the family who put it on, exceeded my expectations so thoroughly that I feel the need to explain the difference. This wasn’t just another dinner out where local food was served; this was a family welcoming you into their home to enjoy the hard-earned fruits of their labor in an atmosphere, and with a menu, that rivaled some of the finest restaurants out there. Like I said, this was anything but an ordinary farm-to-table dinner experience. This was a dinner at Elderslie Farm.

Elderslie Farm Test Garden and Barn
Elderslie Farm on a beautiful fall afternoon.

Elderslie Farm Blackberry Bramble
Looking back from the blackberry bramble to the farmhouse.

Elderslie Farm Goats
The goats of Elderslie.

When I first walked into the gazebo, which was tented due to unseasonably chilly – and downright frosty – weather from the day before, I was pleasantly welcomed by a scene that can only be described as charming. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, with a small and simply yet elegantly dressed table of h’orderves directly ahead, featuring an assortment of cheeses handcrafted from the farm’s own goats’ milk by family friend, Tony Jacobs. Tony himself dished up his creations to each pair of guests with just enough Date and Dried Cherry Compote, a rich and fitting counterpart created by Katharine Elder, the culinary talent of the Elder clan and the mastermind of the menu we were all about to enjoy. Crisp and hearty Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Bruschetta rounded out the offerings, my first taste of Alexis Elder’s homegrown fare.

Dinner at Elderslie Farm
The setting was quaint and elegant. 

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