Warm Autumn Reflections on the Summer Dinner Series

October 17 2016
There was a tang in the air. The leaves on the trees glowed with their Thanksgiving colours that Andy Goldsworthy finds so fascinating. Chase and I made sure there was plenty of firewood around. We would need to get the wood stove going in the loafing barn Saturday evening for the first time all summer. Victoria wanted the Tom Dean “Mercy” burning barrel close to the entrance so that everyone could see the fire from their seats. Crispy Confit of Pork was to be one of the hors d’oeuvres on the ridge so we needed to burn a fire there too.

Reflections on the Season

October 04 2016
So here it is October and nature never ceases to amaze. It was like the garden was somehow in stasis all summer, barely staying alive. Now, with a bit of rain in August and September the garden responds. Several passes through the tomato patch have yielded the deepest red, most beautiful tomatoes that now have been transformed into litres upon litres of sauce, the taste of which is indescribably delicious.

Polished Gems Around the Table

September 06 2016
Bruno François said to me, “you know Jamie, what I have begun to realize is that more than making my way as a wine and cider maker, I value the friends I have made in the community that has grown here in Prince Edward County.” I agree with Bruno and I am fascinated by how the ground has shifted in this rural region.

On Sundials, Tamales and Limestone

August 30 2016

I am noticing how the sunlight plays on the side of the barn. This year we constructed an arbour covering the area of our outdoor kitchen. The idea was to allow, through the slatted roof, filtered sunlight to enter the space. It is a breezy spot, pleasant to work in, and sheltered from the direct glare of the sun.

How Nature Rebounds

August 23 2016
I saw the most spectacular moonrise around midnight this past Friday. I was walking and leaving a message on my cell phone when I caught a glimpse of this glow on the horizon. I had to hang up and just watch as this immense orange orb started climbing up the eastern sky. The horses in the barnyard were confused by the moon shadow and unusual intensity of light. They were unsettled and refused to go into their stalls. This beautiful natural event also seemed to usher in a shift in the season.

A Good Solid Downpour

August 16 2016
Last year was a fallow year in our vegetable garden. We were in transition and couldn’t focus our attention on nurturing and cultivating. By August, we had many magnificent specimens of burdock and thistle and myriad other weeds covering every square inch.

Let the Vintage Decide

August 09 2016
I take a black walnut from one of the many trees that grow wild on my property. I rub its pale green exterior with my thumb. It releases a pungent scent reminiscent of limes and roses. I slice the whole thing in half and remove the meat from the shell. Still young, the shell is easy to penetrate. The meat has a mild flavour vaguely familiar, like prosciutto and a texture like a cross between heart of palm and a macadamia nut.

Suddenly it's August

August 02 2016
It happens every year. I look up and all of a sudden it's August. We have been in an absolute torpor all summer. I am joyful in my work but I do fantasize about lying in a hammock clutching a tall refreshing beverage and staring off into middle space feeling the breeze moving the leaves and branches of the poplars, swaying and drifting off into a long afternoon nap. The buzz of the cicadas casts the ultimate hypnotic spell.

A Collaboration with Chef Albert Ponzo

July 26 2016
From time to time we get to collaborate with our colleagues to create a gastronomic experience for our guests that allows them a window to observe and taste stylistic differences in food preparation, in real time, in the context of a dinner. For all the cooks involved, it is also a great opportunity to step outside one’s comfort zone and to learn from each other.

A Celebratory Feast with Charles Baker

July 19 2016
It is another peerless day on the farm. This morning I notice a heavy dew. The temperature has dropped overnight, providing water from condensation that I imagine my potato plants absorbing before the sun rises and all is dry again.

The Precious Gift of Water

July 12 2016
One of the first things I remember about settling in to my new rural home was the tour of the property conducted by the previous owner. It was such a lovely gesture on his part to personally walk me around, pointing out landmarks and boundaries; here is the abandoned rail that cuts right through, over there is the 35 acre woodlot.

Jeff Connell at the Summer Dinner Series

July 06 2016
Sometimes it takes stepping away from one’s usual focus to gain perspective and a better understanding of what makes the work one is engaged in, unique. This small journey outside the box inspires one further in one’s own work, closer to home.

Local Sparkling & Strawberries

June 28 2016
It has been hot and dry in Prince Edward County for the past month or so. I noticed it was becoming critical on Saturday as the dry golden grass crunched under my feet while getting set up on the ridge.

The Twin Cherries

June 21 2016

At 3:00 pm on Saturday June 18th, I was already up on the ridge. Anne Rumble stayed behind in the kitchen to put the last pieces of the mise en place together. Deep breaths and focus as we move into the fast water. The clock approaches guest arrival time at 5:00 pm. Today the excitement is palpable as it is our launch of the Summer Dinner Series.

Good Things Take Time

June 14 2016
It takes a while to change one's rhythm. I mean, I have owned this farm in Prince Edward County since 2001. I was drawn here through my curiosity about growing grapes and the magical transformation of grapes to wine.

Gastronomy on the Farm

June 08 2016
It was like when Elvis Costello came into my restaurant many years ago. I was so excited to see him and so honoured that he had chosen my place to dine. I went to his table and told him how much I enjoyed his music.

A Community Dinner & Dress Rehearsal

May 24 2016
Around here the farmers say that after the last full moon in May, its safe to plant out your garden with no risk of frost. On Saturday May 21st we had the last full moon in May and 70 neighbours from here in Hillier were invited for dinner on my farm.

Notes for Terroir 2016, the 10th Edition - Part III

April 28 2016
Poetic transformations in food culture are the result of combining ingredients and people on a sliding scale of intervention. You grow grapes in a vineyard. You grow apples in an orchard. You harvest these ingredients. You select sound fruit. Your winery is spotlessly clean yet there exists colonies of ambient yeast that poetically transform your grapes into wine. You taste this conjuror’s trick and you are smitten.
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