Dinner at Be Love Farm
This past weekend Brandon and I had the opportunity to experience our first farm-to-table dinner at Be Love Farm in Vacaville.
I had first heard about the dinners during one of our visits to Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley and immediately thought it would be something that we would love to do. The fact that they serve a completely organic and vegetarian (or vegan upon request) meal is perfect for our meatless diet too. The cows on the farm produce milk for cheese but outside of that, they live a long and happy life! :)
The owners of the 21-acre farm, Matthew and Terces Engelhert, are also the founders of the Café Gratitude franchise and Gracias Madre in San Francisco. During the productive summer season Be Love supplies nearly 50 percent of all the produce consumed at their restaurants.
Once a month from April to November they open their doors and welcome the public in for a cozy home cooked meal.
We got there around 5pm as everyone gathered into their home for lemon and fennel infused water along with their own red wine and a selection of Terces’ handmade cheeses.
I didn’t drink very much because I was battling the end of a sinus infection but from what I was able to taste, the wine was delicious!
In addition to the cows, they have about five dogs who I thought did surprisingly well with such a large group of strangers.
The smallest one was really attached to Matthew and followed him everywhere as he showed us around the farm. He was so cute! I wanted to steal him and take him home.
After taking in a short preview of the documentary that the Engelhert’s son produced called Kiss the Ground, we all went out for a tour of the farm.
They have their own vineyards and an orchard with over 2,000 fruit and nut trees including figs, pecans, walnuts, chestnuts, peaches, mulberries (pictured below) and even goji berries!
The most impressive collection were the almond trees which Matthew said were currently getting a bad reputation due to their water consumption. However, he mentioned that if you take into account the amount of nutrients and calories that are yielded per gallon of water, they’re actually not all that bad.
As we walked around there must have been at least fifty chickens roaming all throughout the farm. They were producing so many eggs that Matthew and Terces were selling them for just $6 a dozen which is a steal for pasture-raised organic eggs around here.
They also had an impressively large greenhouse growing heirloom tomatoes that will be distributed to their restaurants in the summer. Mmm…
And of course, they had plenty of beautiful kale! If you’ve ever been to one of their restaurants then you know there’s always kale on the menu.
Matthew said a lot during the tour that’s difficult for me to relay in one post but you could really feel his passion for sustainable farming. One thing he pointed out that I found interesting was that the average American spends less than 7% of their income on food while the average European spends up to 20%.
He also stressed the importance of restoring the damage that we’ve done to our soil by composting our organics. I spend a large chunk of my income on food because I believe that my dollar counts as my vote but outside of saving small scraps for our patio garden, I admit that I don’t do a very good job with composting. That part definitely hit home with me and getting a compost bin for our kitchen is officially on my to-do list!
After we wrapped up the tour, we all made our way back inside to sit down for dinner in the dining room.
On the menu was a sunflower sprout and kale salad with strawberries and candied walnuts served alongside freshly ground polenta and the first zucchini of the season topped with spicy cashew nacho cheese.
Then dessert was a strawberry crisp served with raw milk ice cream and fresh mint tea.
Everything was really, really good but that crisp was definitely the best part. And Terces mentioned that raw milk has the necessary enzymes to help you digest lactose so apparently lactose intolerant people can eat it too.
Overall we had an awesome experience at Be Love Farm! It was a great way to celebrate Brandon’s birthday. I just hope we’re able to go back in the fall to see all of the squash and changing leaves! :)