June 27th, 2017 Missive from J.K. Farm
It is approaching midnight. The laughter and conversation drifts away on the wind with the last guests as they make their way home under a starry mantle of twinkling light. A dim illumination punctuated by the fireflies’ random bursts of light. I sit by the bonfire with my friends and wine collaborators for this evening Mary and Colin Stanners. Their vineyard and winery is a short walk up Station Road from here.
The lights have been turned up in the loafing barn now as Naz and his team move about, washing and polishing and putting things to rights after a successful evening and in preparation for next week’s performance. I can hear the banter of the team behind me as they keep each other amused through the tedium of this necessary work. This work on the heels of the adrenaline charged dinner service where it is all hands on deck providing the highest level of hospitality they can muster for our guests. It is during service that we provide the means for our guests to transcend their normal sphere and in its place to enter our sphere and receive good food and commune with their fellow diners for a time. Some of us are cooks. Some of us are servers. Some of us wash dishes and glasses and pots and pans. Hospitality is the unifying priority in all of our job descriptions. Each piece of the puzzle is as important as the next. It all comes together during dinner service through the hospitality we offer our guests.
The fire sputters and flickers as I muse about all of this and stare into the glowing embers. We share a glass of their Cabernet Franc, served with the cheese this evening, and chat about the weather. We also talk about the vines and remark on what a fruitful year it has the potential to be. We are amazed at how different the weather is this year from last. In the course of one year we experienced record drought record rainfall. It is truly humbling to understand our place in relation to nature. As grape growers we just accept that there will be fruitful years and there will be less than fruitful years.
As we chat, I feel my body and mind begin to relax. Each week is like this. It is a wonderful moment where there is a shift from the focused process of giving, to giving in to a relaxed state of mild euphoria where I begin to take in and appreciate my surroundings again. The stars are incredible. The fire is hypnotic. I hear the flow of water in the creek and the rustle of leaves in the breeze. This relaxed reflective feeling extends into the next day.
Sundays around here are coincidentally, a day of rest. Anne and Chase are battening down the hatches in the kitchen, taking inventory, tying up loose ends of service the previous day and mentally preparing for their return in four days time begin the weekly ritual anew. Today I am thinking about going to the beach. I am going to lie down and stare out over the water and take it all in. Tomorrow will come and bring with it the renewed process of conceptual thought and execution, informed as always by the garden here, and the network of food artisans and winegrowers in the region. Today, I am going to wriggle my toes in the sand and enjoy a glass of wine.
Saturday June 24, 2017 featuring Stanners Vineyard
Hors d’Œuvres on the Ridge
JK Fries with Two Sauce
Socca with Tapenade and Crumbled Feta
Pressed Vegetarian Sandwiches
Curried Dandelion and Potato Croquettes
Chilled Buttermilk and Oregano Soup
Whitecap Sparkling Wine, Hinterland Winery, Prince Edward County VQA
Menu in the Loafing Barn
Radish and Duck Egg Salad
2015 Stanners Vineyard Chardonnay, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore
Wild Rice Pickerel Meunière
2015 Stanners Vineyard Chardonnay, VQA Prince Edward County
2014 Stanners Vineyard Pinot Noir, VQA Prince Edward County
Highlights of the Great Canadian Cheese Festival
2015 Stanners Vineyard Cabernet Franc, VQA Prince Edward County
Crunchy Almond Pastry with Strawberries
Photos @chefjamekennedy @vtaylorlandarch & @jodickins