Farmer Jane Dinner: Celebrating Women in the Food Movement

It's amazing what can happen with two degrees of separation, and a willingness to provide introductions. Temra Costa, longtime friend of my buddy Shango, is a force in the sustainable food movement . She is also the author of a new book "Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat." With Seattle as a prominent stop on her book tour and intro by Shango, "We should meet!" quickly evolved into a dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.

A thoughtful approach to food, teamed with a commitment to building community, there was no better place than the ever-so-charming Volunteer Park Cafe. Owners Ericka Burke and Heather Earnhardt jumped on board, and brought with them Full Circle Farm's Wendy Munroe. From there, like an old-fashioned barn raising, the list kept growing...

When you gather a dynamic group around the table, the conversation is rich with meaningful connections. As we wound our way around the table with introductions, it was startling to see who was there. Farmers, ranchers, restauranteurs, Les Dammes Escoffier members, a buyer from Whole Foods, a butcher, a Slow Food Board Member, and on it goes. Throughout the meal, seats shift, and conversation stretched long across table.

Temra's book rivals the ideal cocktail party. Chapters in "Farmer Jane" pay tribute to the women who have shaped the modern food movement. While some names may ring familiar like chef/author Deborah Madison and "Farm City" author Novella Carpenter, others...are women you want to know. Above all, their stories provide valuable insights to the journey that's been taken, and the road that lies ahead. With a thoughtful approach, Temra showcases inspiring women who are leading the way as advocates for social change, promoting local & seasonal food, and the next generation of sustainable farmers.

Now, come along with me....

Charming Volunteer Park Cafe on Seattle's Capitol Hill (corner of 17th and Galer)

The patio behind Volunteer Park Cafe.
(Then it was still under construction. It's finished now.)

Nothing like a hearty welcome & a glass of bubbly!

Note to self: pick up a case of this Prosecco.

Volunteer Park Cafe co-owner, Ericka Burke

How cute is this? Aprons at VPC are custom made.

Love these garden tags.

Served fresh from the garden.

Heather Earnhardt, co-owner of VPC. She's responsible for those beautiful pastries & cakes.

Tracey Baker, fifth generation cattle rancher at Gleason Ranch.
(100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef)

(L-R) Evergreen Escapes adventure guide Kieron Weidner and Full Circle Farm owner, Wendy Munroe

Guest of honor: "Farmer Jane" author Temra Costa

Meet Zoe Meats (charcuterie) co-founder, Charlie Hertz

VPC's Ericka Burke kicks off the dinner

Gathered around the communal table

During the course of the night, Full Circle Farm's Wendy Munroe described her own farm's evolution. Not only do they have a thriving farmer's market presence, Full Circle Farm also supplies Seattle-area restaurants and thousands of Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions (4,000 of those are shipped to Alaska!)

This photo album (pictured above) is a tribute to the unsung heroes at Full Circle Farm.

The caption says, "Our humble beginnings, North Bend 1996"

"Wendy [pregnant] with Claire, 2004"

(L-R) "Aviva - Our 1st field manager, 1998" and
"Erne, one of our first interns, 1998"

Asparagus with shaved radish

Bean salad

A break between courses

Organic greens with Green Goddess dressing and edible flowers.
(Don't you just love this enamel pot?)

Roasted fingerling potatoes

Roses and rosé

Salmon with shaved onion, cabbage and herbs.

Ropa vieja, served with a side of chimmichurri

Grand finale: autographed copies of the book!

P.S. If you're wondering where the dessert shot is...I was gabbing and completely missed that course. :)