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Farm to Table with the ICAEF

Crisp Squash Blossoms

This summer I had a wonderful trip with the International Caterers Association Educational Foundation; the ICAEF, to Portland, Oregon & up into Washington State on a Learning Journey. This group is always SO fun, just about the most gracious folks you can imagine! A bunch of caterers being entertained, wined, dined & easily amused - just all so darn happy to not have to be doing all the work :) We come from all over all to get together and explore, learn, laugh, experience new things & get to know towns and countries from the plate out.

We zoomed out to a lovely farm for dinner right there among the rows! In Washington, just outside the historic town of La Center, 20 miles from Portland, is Gather and Feast Farm owned by the man that also has Crave Catering. On these 20 acres he grows much of the produce, it is also the home of laying hens, boiler hens, quail, geese, and their famous Scottish highland cattle–all raised free of pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals. Mark Lopez has worked hard to make this a real experience for guests, the farm staff and the catering company. What a massive endeavor and meeting him was a treat. He is pictured below eyeing the platter of game hens & enjoying the fruits of his labors. Everything was just delicious!!

This is a HUGE fantasy of ours at Pure Joy, one we will continue to foster! The Menu was fantastic - honestly, so much like what we do here in Santa Barbara, local, organic, farm driven, cooked fresh right there and family-style served outside al fresco - I just LOVED it and wanted to share it with you :) Hopefully one day we will have a farm of our own too.


Lynette La Mere, Executive Chef & ICA Member


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