There is something about a farm to table dinner experience, especially when the event is set in a pastoral setting. In Oregon especially, the Willamette Valley and Mt Hood Territory, the idea goes one step further. The dining experience utilizes local foods from the host or surrounding farms and includes the wines of a particular winery. These events offered year-round are called Field & Vine.
Field & Vine is part of a group of restaurants, including Allium, that bring the tastes of the Pacific Northwest to you. The cuisine is fresh, local, and sustainable. The locale of the Field & Vine varies throughout the year. During late spring through the fall, they are outside at a winery or a farm. In the winter and early spring, they hold dinners in a tent or a barn.
These dinners give a feel for what the Willamette Valley and Mt Hood Territory have to offer to all your senses. The location will bring forth your sense of sight because you will remember the beautiful landscape as you watch the sunset during your farm to table dinner. For smell, you will enjoy the aromas of the food you eat, the wine you sample, and the scents of the flora around you. Obviously, your taste buds will enjoy the flavors presented during your 6 – 7-course meal, as well as the wine, served to you. During a Field & Vine event, you will hear the sounds and chatter of the people around you enjoying the event, and you will listen to the sounds of nature all around you. The sense of touch occurs because you will be touched by the enjoyable evening, or perhaps you will touch one of the animals that live on the property.
In my case, I had the pleasure of enjoying an evening at Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch with Campbell Lane Winery. Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch is located in Molalla, Oregon. The ranch consists of 18 acres, including the barn and green pastures.
Although the dinner was fabulous it was the Alpacas that stole the show. This is not an ordinary Alpacas Ranch. Jennifer and Bill Cameron breed and show their Alpacas, a herd of 85. Since I show my dogs, Salukis, I wanted to learn more about what breeding and showing meant to the Cameron’s. Showing Alpacas is not just about the movement and confirmation of the animals but they are also graded on their Alpaca fleece. The quality of the fleece is very important. The performance portion judges how the handler and the Alpaca work as a team. There may be an obstacle course as part of the judging.
There are two types of Alpacas Huacaya, which produce a denser, softer sheep-like fiber and the Suri that produces silkier fibers. Alpacas come in a variety of colors that range in shades from light, medium to dark and include white, beige, fawn, Brown, Bay Black, True Black, Rose Gray, and Silver Gray.
Before dinner, we got to meet some of the baby Alpacas. They were cute, yet very shy. Throughout the meal, we got to see the Alpacas move about as they came in for the night.
Campbell Lane Winery
In 1966 Leigh and Ceille Campbell purchased a property atop Pete’s Mountain that became Campbell Lane Winery. Soon after they planted grapes and at one point they owned the largest Pinot Gris vineyard in the United States. Campbell’s vineyard is Live Certified and Salmon Safe. Today they produce Pinot Gris, Rose and Pinot Noir. My favorite at the Field & Vine was the Rosé of Pinot Noir.
The Field & Vine Farm to Table Dinner
Seated at long tables, the farm to table dinner is served family-style. Our meal consisted of the following:
Smoked Prosciutto Tartine with grilled olive ciabatta, red currant confiture, pine nuts, and burrata. This first course had lots of texture and the red currant confiture added to the flavor.
Romaine and Endive Salad with smoked salmon, creamy verjus vinaigrette and avocado. This was a winner dish because the smoked salmon added a nice dimension to the salad. I could make a meal of this course.
Tuscan Cantaloupe and Tomato Salad with mint, shaved cucumber, red onion, and chevre.
Toasted Couscous with apricots, almonds, garlic, cumin, and scallions.
Braised Cascade Natural Beef Short Ribs with herbed mojo, grilled oranges, and chunky salt.
Grilled Rapini with aioli, garlic, chili flake, and EVOO.
Bavarian Cream with ginger crumble and Maryhill peach puree.
Finally, if you are visiting the Willamette Valley or Mt Hood Territory you should try and take in a Field & Vine dinner. It is a great way to ingratiate yourself into the area. The events are held on several Saturdays during each month. If you cannot make one of these dinners make sure you visit Allium located in West Linn, Oregon.
Note: Common to the industry, this writer enjoyed a hosted dinner. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.