A first-of-its-kind opportunity came to the East Mountains this past Saturday when two local businesses, Schwebach Farm of Moriarty and Roots Farm Café of Tijeras, teamed up to create “Dinner in the Field.” The late summer evening offered delightfully perfect weather and the views in all directions provided a tranquility very much in harmony with the farm setting.
Following a blooming garden path, guests meandered past greenhouses to enter the farm setting. Only then glimpsing the long dinner table for 60, set up as promised, in the field. Draped in white linens, adorned with fresh flowers and candles in Mason jars, the image could not have more appropriately threaded the needle between nostalgic farm style and upscale evening.
Mingling guests soon realized the event had drawn couples from as far away as Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, and all corners of the East Mountains.
The five-course meal was prepared on-site by Chef Daniel Puccini of Roots Farm Café. The menu had a decidedly New Mexico take on a classical menu, with chile sauce adorning two courses.
“Daniel’s chile sauce on the sweet corn was exquisite!” said Debbie Pogue, who attended with her husband Michael, who together are second-generation owners of the Sunset Motel in Moriarty. Both Pogues have taken cooking courses in France and enjoy discovering new food experiences.
“I was so impressed he used as much raw produce as he did, it was so flavorful, and his inventive use of preserved lemons just pushed it to a new level,” added Pogue, who was equally impressed with the service and presentation. “Everything just felt so comfortable, too.”
Part of that comfortable feeling was readily attributable to the live acoustic duo playing cello and viola in the background, and the Schwebach children, dressed in black and white, serving and clearing the table. As each course was served, diners were provided with a description of the course and where the ingredients were sourced.
Roughly 90 percent of the food was from the Schwebach Farm (some of it actually being picked that morning), Windmill Dairy, and other New Mexico producers. Between the soup and main course, guests were treated to a tour of the farm by wagon, where all were invited to pick an ear of corn fresh off the stalk and try it raw.
“Our goal was to instill that heart of community and enjoy the possibilities. From our perspective, we enjoyed seeing people visit and connect, and experience time interacting with each other,” said Ivellise Schwebach, who together with her husband, Dean, have built a farm that was recognized earlier this year by Edible Magazine with a Local Hero Award for “Best Farm – Greater New Mexico.”
The evening truly was a showcase of the impressive farm to table offerings available locally. As the evening came to a close, guests spontaneously applauded Chef Daniel and the Schwebachs for an incredibly perfect evening and urged them to make it an annual event.