There are dreamy meals, and then there are dreamy meals served in a field of full of flowers. That’s the very attractive USP of the first annual American Grown “Field to Vase” Dinner Tour, nationwide events that celebrate (and raise awareness of) sustainably and locally grown flowers. At these dinners, the food, beer and wine are similarly raised, served family style in the middle of flower farms.
Settings, of course, that become even more spectacular around sunset. Kicked off in March, this series of ten dinners runs through October; Ryan and I attended the Carlsbad event last month in the Flower Fields, 50 acres of ranunculus-filled hills facing the Pacific. We broke bread in the middle of one of these hills, and fed all the senses: in the dishes of Marissa Gerlach, exec chef of Vista Valley Country Club, cultivation tips from head farmer Mike Mellano of Mellano & Company, and the floral design of Bess Wyrick of Celadon & Celery, based in LA and NY. The ranunculus centerpieces — bunches of three or so in slim vases — ran in a rainbow gradients down the length of the table.
“The series was inspired by the ‘Farm-to-Fork’ movement that celebrates locally grown food,” Kasey Cronquist, CEO/ambassador of the California Cut Flower Commission, tells us by email. We sat next to him at the dinner, which he was supporting in conjunction with the “CA Grown” program. He adds, “The ‘Field to Vase’ dinner series was developed to be a less-than-subtle spin off of the popularity of ‘Farm to Fork,’ designed to encourage people to ensure that the flowers at the center of the table are as local, fresh and sustainable as the food on their plate.”
Yes, the optics that evening were unbelievable. We’re grateful to the luminous Debra Prinzing for inviting us; Debra is the Seattle-based force behind the “slow flowers” movement (check out her book, podcast and online directory of floral designers who use domestically grown stems) and also a writer and lecturer. At dinner she was in social butterfly mode, introducing the likeminded and making everyone feel at home in a sea of crinkly blooms. After taking her Garden Tribe course, we were starstruck to meet Debra in person.
Monterey Bay, Boulder, Brooklyn and Detroit are just a few of the upcoming stops. Click here to see all the cities and to get your tickets before they’re all gone.