The waning sun’s orange glow casts long shadows against the barn wall at Peace and Plenty Farm. It’s fall in Lake County; autumn leaves are just turning, gardens readying themselves for rest. In the parking area, friends gather together, already savoring Lake County’s last farm to fork dinner of the season before making their way to the tables.
Melinda Price, co-owner and farmer for Peace and Plenty Saffron Farm, greets the crowd with her kind voice. “Hello, everyone!” she smiles. “We have a big crowd tonight, the biggest we’ve ever had.” A splash of applause comes from the tables. “Now we have a hungry terrier wandering around. Please, don’t feed her any chicken bones.”
“She’s on a diet,” Simon Avery, co-owner/farmer pitches in from the side. Everyone laughs. Ruby, the aforementioned terrier, waddles beneath the tables, gearing up for the feast.
About half the group wanders off to the saffron fields, where Simon explains the process of harvesting saffron. “It’s a crazy harvest,” he says as he describes the long hours of picking and sorting that never ends. Meanwhile, back under the oak trees, diners rest on straw bales, resting their glasses on the long slabs of wood serving as tables.
Appetizers make their way around the group; delicately flavored saffron deviled eggs tempt the tastebuds and contrast the brined olives. In the corner, beneath a massive oak, Jake from Obisidian Ridge Winery pours for the guests.
Then, amid the laughter and happy conversation, the salad arrives, bright luminescent purple beets and chicory with saffron aioli, followed by the main course. Roasted chicken in saffron butter and leeks, succulent and tender with crisp, browned skin, rests next to cooked greens and a melody of chickpea saffron ragout. Everything pairs perfectly.
Melinda walks among the tables, chatting and laughing. The sun slowly sets, leaving the evening warm and peaceful. The saffron harvest’s coming any day now, and Melinda and Simon are gearing up for it. But for the moment, conversation and chatter are the only things happening on the farm. Diners, full and contented, enjoy the still-warm evening. Mt. Konocti turns shades of orange, then red, finally settling into a deep purple as dusk blankets it for the night.
Perfectly timed, dessert arrives, a poached pear galette topped with a scoop of saffron ice cream. Far above, stars reveal themselves, telling us the evening is coming to an end.
While the season has ended, Lake County has several Farm to Fork dinners planned for the spring, summer, and early fall months of 2022. Be sure to follow Six Sigma Ranch and Winery, Shannon Ridge Winery, Kelseyville’s Pear Festival dinner, and of course, Peace and Plenty Farm to keep up on the next dinner.