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Dinners at the Farm: Celebrating the Land

Dinners at the Farm: Celebrating the Land
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The visitors pass through a break in a stone wall and enter Rapp’s creation. Three pristinely white tents sit in the quiet field, pennants fluttering from their masts in the lazy summer breeze. The diners are greeted with tonight’s specialty cocktail, a peach mojito made with this season’s ripe local fruit. Appetizers in the form of a rustic pate on crostini and crispy squash-blossom tempura are passed right from the open-air kitchen. The guests break off in groups of threes and fours, and the evening air fills with conversation.

As the sun sets, everyone finds a seat at the family-style tables under the tents. The ring of a knife on a wineglass cuts through the din, and everyone quiets. Rapp welcomes everyone and offers a toast. “To work all day in this beautiful field with food grown right here …” he says, “… there’s no more glorious place to be.”

With that, the waiters stream in with course after flawless course. The food looks as though it must have been plated in a hushed kitchen: understated and refined. A chorus of crickets chirp around the tents as the diners savor their risotto with zucchini flowers, lightly poached fluke over smashed purple potatoes, and roasted duck breast served with spaetzle and the season’s first apples. The arrival of dessert–a buttermilk panna cotta with honey-poached peaches–is greeted with cheers under the tents.

As the night draws to a close, Rapp reflects on his work. “People expect great food from a really good restaurant,” he says. “But when you’re sitting in a field under the stars, the experience is heightened, I think.”

For the 2011 schedule, go to: dinnersatthefarm.com. View a video of one of Chef Rapp’s farm dinners, and get his recipe for buttermilk panna cotta with honey-poached peaches.

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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