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Farm dinner puts diners in touch with fresh food

  • Written by Briana Gerdeman, Staff Writer

Heathman farm 0108It’s rare to sit down to eat a seven-course meal, complete with wine pairings, in the same place that almost all of the food was grown. But a Kirkland restaurant and a Woodinville winery have made it possible.

This Thursday, Trellis Restaurant and Sparkman Cellars will partner to host a farm dinner at South 47 Farm, with an optional tour of the farm.

Trellis chef Brian Scheehser grows much of the produce for the restaurant at his 10-acre South 47 farm.

For this event, he’ll craft the fresh fruits and vegetables into dishes such as an heirloom tomato gazpacho, a new potato salad and, for dessert, an apple galette.

"Everything served, except for the meats, is from the farm," Scheehser said.

The dinner will begin with a reception at which guests can sip on lemonade with fresh blackberries from the farm.

Diners will then sit down to a seven-course meal with six wine pairings from Woodinville’s Sparkman Cellars, including a barrel tasting of the winery’s 2012 Wonderland Grenache.

The menu includes artisan cured salumi, salmon with green garden dressing, lamb chops with tarragon and tomato tapenade and shaved Jack cheese with pepper crackers.

Scheehser began farming out of frustration with food purveyors when he was the chef at the restaurant at Sorrento Hotel in Seattle.

Ordering from suppliers often required him to buy in bigger quantities than he needed, pay more than he wanted or go without certain hard-to-find items — for example, zucchini the size of his thumb.

Now, he said, "I’m spoiled because I can pick as much as I want or as little as I want. I’m no longer held hostage to the produce companies ... We’re picking baby lettuces when they’re so small they can fit in the palm of your hand."

His farm has grown to 12 acres, although he’s become more specific about which crops he grows. Scheehser has kept the raspberries, blackberries, apples and pears from the farm’s previous life as a you-pick orchard, and he also grows vegetables and herbs. He spends Mondays and Tuesdays working on the farm; the rest of the time he’s at Trellis Restaurant at the Heathman Hotel.

"I don’t look at the farm or the restaurant as work," Scheehser said. "There’s just something amazing about having a tiny seed, putting it in the ground and nurturing it, then having 30 pounds of tomatoes and slicing them to put on a salad."

Scheehser also manages to incorporate food from the farm into Trellis’s winter menu. Although he buys some produce from California for guests who want fresh fruit, he cans tomatoes and jam from the farm to use throughout the year.

"The minute we start harvesting at the farm, we start processing," he said.

He stores thousands of pounds of winter squash; hundreds of quarts of canned tomatoes; seedless blackberry, blueberry and strawberry jams; pickles and relishes; and apple puree and reduction. He also freezes berries for pies and muffins and dries herbs from the farm.

And some vegetables, such as chard and beets, can still be harvested in the winter.

Scheehser believes it’s important to know where food comes from, and the farm dinner will give diners that familiarity.

"We forget sometimes," he said. "We’ve become out of touch with the things we eat, and farming brings that awareness back."

For reservations, call (425) 284-5858 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before 5 p.m. August 21.

The dinner will take place Thursday, August 22, at South 47 Farm in Redmond.

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