After an exhausting week at work, and spending the prior weekend in Dallas enjoying the wonderful treats during the Dallas by Chocolate tour, Sunday morning was to be my time of rest before heading out to the 2012 Phoenix Grilled Cheese Showdown. However, as I played catch up with Facebook and a few of the local groups I follow, I stumbled upon the first ever Farm to Table Brunch at Phoenix Pinnacle Farms. It started in just a few hours. Ticket sales had ended the prior day but the website still allowed me to purchase a ticket!
This just sounded too wonderful to miss. I quickly bought my ticket before the website was changed. Janna Anderson, owner of Pinnacle Farms, had coordinated a six course brunch on one of the three farm locations they own to showcase local ingredients. I dove through the shower, grabbed my gear and headed out the door.
Now, when most of us think of Phoenix, we quickly come to think of the desert. Who really associates farms (other than citrus farms) with Phoenix, let alone out here in the desert? As I drove down the 303 towards the farm, I was taken aback by the gorgeous open landscape, scarcely populated compared to the rest of the greater Phoenix area. It was a delightful drive on an absolutely beautiful Sunday morning. The sun was shining and the sky was blue, it was a comfortable 72 degrees outside and it wasn’t even 11AM. This was turning out to be an absolutely beautiful day, and you couldn’t ask for a better one for an event such as this.
I arrived at Phoenix Pinnacle Farms about forty-five minutes later and about ten minutes before the event was scheduled to start. We’re approaching the hot season in Phoenix, so a good portion of the fields had already been harvested and plowed down, but there were still rows and rows of fresh produce surrounding the tents that had been set up in the field for the event; we were literally going to be sitting amidst the fields from which most of the ingredients for each course originated.
After walking the aisles of soon to be harvested vegetables and exploring the farm, it was time to start our brunch. All of the food was being prepared inside the Torched Goodness Food Truck by Chef Eric Ireland, and delivered on individual plates to the guests of the day. The food was being delivered by volunteers from Pinnacle Farms, friends, and fellow farmers, including Casey Stechnij, his family, and several of his fellow workers from Superstition Farm. It was great to see the sense of community between local farmers and it reminded me of stories we heard as kids of community helping one another out.
The menu for the day sounded absolutely divine, and perfectly suited for a six course brunch (more pictures at the bottom of this article).
Citrus Beet Salad: roasted beets on a bed of farm fresh greens with orange supremes, goat cheese & citrus vinaigrette dressing
Sockeye Salmon Salad – Wild Alaskan Salmon from Kodiak Island with farm & market ingredients served on fresh greens
The Farm Frittata – Free range eggs with sauteed farm greens & white cheddar cheese curds
Farmers Salad – a collection of in season greens & produce from Pinnacle Farm with a light balsamic reduction
Grass Fed Beef Roast – Natural chuck roast with potatoes, carrots & onions
Zesty Orange Crème Brûlée- torched fresh to order & infused with farm grown oranges
The courses were designed to display the natural flavors that each ingredient offered, without excessive fuss and alteration, as we have become so accustomed to with mass produced ingredients such as those in your local chain grocery store. And I must say that the team did a fabulous job in accomplishing this. Each of the salads had a very, very light drizzle of dressing, just enough to enhance and compliment the natural flavors of the ingredients. The menu was incredibly well thought out and executed perfectly to maintain the integrity of each ingredient. This was truly a food lover’s dream that exceeded the quality and taste of anything you could run up the street to get from your local grocer.
I believe that Jana and all of those who helped her coordinate this event accomplished exactly what they had hoped; that is, to introduce the Phoenix market to the wonderful, locally sourced ingredients that are available and displaying the increased quality and flavor available with fresh from the farm ingredients. While it is not nearly as convenient as making a quick run to your local grocer, you can catch Phoenix Pinnacle Farms, as well as many other local farmers, at the various farmers markets throughout the city. Phoenix Pinnacle Farms even has a co-op set up, so that you can order in season ingredients in packages, as often as you like.
Where can you find Phoenix Pinnacle Farms?
Central Farmers Market @ Crossroads Methodist Church (Central & Northern), Saturdays 9am to 2pm Town and Country Mall @20th St and Camelback, Wednesdays 9am to 2PM
Now for the good news, and the bad news…
This was the first ever, and possibly the only, Farm to Table Brunch at Phoenix Pinnacle Farms. Janna and her husband both work very hard throughout the week, with Sunday being their only day of rest (and quality time together). If this is something you missed and wish you could have enjoyed, you’re going to have to convince Janna’s husband!
Luckily, given the success of the event, Casey is considering hosting a similar event at Superstition Farms! If you can find the time, this is one event that you would be disappointed to miss if it comes around again. I would definitely go back, it was seriously that good!