Farming is not as easy as throwing a couple of seeds into the ground. Soil, temperature, sun exposure, weeding, irrigating and extensive knowledge about how to take a plant from seed to stalk is required.
Often the process is taken for granted in the easiness of bagging vegetables at the grocery store.
Pembertons Across the Creek Organics is giving the dirt on farming while at the same time showcasing their produce from field to plate.
Farmers Bruce and Brenda Miller joined forces with Grant Cousar of Whistler Cooks! Catering Company to host an inaugural Solstice Dinner Saturday, June 24 at Across the Creek Organics farmhouse.
"Its kind of the first step in showing people the whole package: they get to enjoy seeing the fields, see what is growing here and the freshness of it and then seeing that amazing transformation from field to plate," Bruce says after a long day in the fields. "We are trying to bring a new experience to people where they really learn something about the community, farming and food as well as enjoy the evening."
Add a master chef to the mix and things just get tastier and tastier.
Cousar will draw on an early-season garden for dinner as well as regional meats such as Pemberton Valley Spring Lamb. Vegetables will be light with salads boasting well above-and-beyond the plain salad fare with eight types of lettuce, edible flowers and aragula. Some of the vegetables gracing plates include spinach, snap peas, baby zucchini and baby carrots. Wine will be poured to accompany the meal.
"The best taste you can get out of food is when it comes fresh from the ground," Bruce says.
Diners will take a tour of the farm at 5:30 p.m. then move into the kitchen to watch a world-class chef in action. Dinner is served at 7 p.m.
Bruce is a third generation farmer who hosts the Organic Harvest Box Program, which weekly distributes boxes of seasonal veggies to peoples homes along the Sea to Sky Corridor.
The program is based on the Community Supported Agriculture system where consumers are in direct contact with a farm and money is put upfront at the beginning of the season to aid labour and purchasing seeds.
Support needs to happen long before the first produce comes out of the ground.
Fresh from the ground veggies to look out for over the summer/fall season are baby carrots, summer squash, baby beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet corns, baby nugget potatoes, kale, parsnips and carrots, just to name a few.
From a half dozen customers five years ago to the current 120 supporters, the Harvest Box program has become highly successful. The 20-week box program begins June 22 and finishes Nov. 2. Small boxes for two are $20 a week. Large boxes are $30. Delivery to door is $5. Ten weeks worth of boxes must be prepaid by June 22 and the remaining weeks are paid half way through the season.
Also, keep an eye out for the Thanksgiving Harvest Box, which includes turkey and root vegetables. Bought separately from summer program.
The Millers have a long and busy season before them and look forward to hosting their first public dinner with hopefully more to follow.
"This is a trial dinner; we hope to see if there is enough interest to host more of them," Bruce says. "Its our first foray into culinary tourism. I think culinary tourism is catching on in other areas, but it is not exposed very well in Whistler and Pemberton. We are offering a very unique experience. People get to see the food come out of the dirt and the amount of work that goes into it. They get to see (the garden) transform into a gourmet meal."
Tickets are $100, which includes the farm tour, dinner and wine.
Only 30 seats are available for this one-of-a-kind experience. Call 604-894-6463 to reserve a seat.