Jamie at his vineyard ridge, a few springs ago...
June 14, 2016 Missive from J.K. Farm
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. I had heard that Prince Edward County had the stuff of good vineyard land: well draining, limestone based soil. My friend and neighbour, Geoff Heinricks says my little vineyard, that he consulted on and indeed helped plant, was a "grand cru" site. I am pretty chuffed about that and know that one day we will taste that in the glass.
For now, it is all about the chase and the learning curve is steep. Thankfully I am a big fan of process and the understanding that good things take time. Over the past 15 years I have been, for the most part, a weekend warrior. My life revolved around family and enterprise in Toronto. I longed for a more meaningful connection to the farm. This year, for the first time without a steady restaurant gig in the city and with my kids all grown up and on their own, I have been able to plant myself on the farm.
I am so excited to see the Summer Dinner Series evolve over the next three months. This Saturday marks the inaugural dinner. The creative process leading to the dinner presentation tries to be contained in the context of its date and is like a snapshot, the ephemeral captured in a progression of dishes that will somehow address the taste of this place.
This week will feature pickerel caught in Lake Ontario by Kendal Dewey, a commercial fisher out of Picton, Ontario. There will be a wild and cultivated salad, the wild from my farm and the cultivated from Vicki’s Veggies. A cheese selection of Ontario curated by David Smythe. Artisan naturally-leavened bread provided by Humble Bread. Wines to accompany the courses will come from my neighbours at Closson Chase Vineyard. And of course, strawberries for dessert! Strains of music will be heard wafting from the barn like wisps of smoke in the still evening air. It will be an evening of taste memories, of gentle storytelling that will be savoured and reflected upon in the days ahead.