By Bonnie Glidewell

Called by the Hanley's “The Willows,” Hanley Farm was a working family farm for 125 years, from 1857 to 1982, owned by three generations of the Hanley Family.

 

  

What does Farm-To-Table Dining mean to you? At the Historic Hanley Farm they grow their own flowers, fresh produce and even raise heritage breed sheep and goats. Heck, you can even meet Bob, the friendly farm greeter peacock. They are well-known for their community events, rustic and chic venue rental, summer camps and educational purposes (Farm-To-School programs), as well as their local organic farm. The farm is somewhat small, but mighty. Mighty in the sense that they can grow what no men can without the help of chemicals and tilling, with 2 acres of land. No-till agriculture was a term I had simply heard of before last month. Fortunately, I received a warm invitation to one of their growing Farm-To-Table Dinners at the farm. During this event, I got to experience the true meaning behind this term and even taste the difference in what I had been missing all along. 

According to the Hanley Farm website, "Conventional agriculture promotes tilling as a means of aerating and softening soil, while providing access to sub-soil nutrients by mixing them to the surface. Unfortunately, by tilling soil the natural ecosystem created by microorganisms during the breakdown of organic matter (the living soil) is lost. Once this delicate soil ecosystem is disturbed imbalances develop in nutrient cycling, water and oxygen availability, and pest species populations. This results in the need for chemical inputs such as fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides to produce food, even in conventional organic agriculture."

As one could imagine there is both a financial and environmental (negative) impact of growing food the conventional way, and Hanley is in their fourth season of thinking outside of the box. Their crew, ambitious and intelligent, focuses on the connections that sustainable farming has to offer the growers. Connections to the earth, your body, those around you, your ancestry, and most importantly the production of our food and knowing where it comes from. They approach farming with an ecological aspect as they transition towards permanent no-till practices. No chemicals, no blood-mill, no tilling! 

 

What better way to experience this lesson on Farm-To-Table dining than at an actual organized event? Walk along the flower beds and gardens, read about the history of the farm and the Hanley Family, and taste the food grown in their very own back yard! Look out: as you read what I was served last month your mouth is going to water…

Featuring Chef Kristen Lyon and Valley View Winery

First Course: Grilled Escarole and Chopped Romaine with Lemon Marinated Fennel and Julienned Pears, Rogue Valley Koromiko Olive Oil and Baked Chevre

Main Course: Scott River Ranch Garlic Marinated Tri-Tip with Parmesan Potato Florets in Pureed Sweet Onion Cream, Herb Butter Green Beans, Red Wine Demi-Glace and Mushroom Duxelle with Crispy Leeks

Dessert: Rosé Poached Vanilla Peaches with Crisp Butter Cookies and Cinnamon Brown Butter Ice cream   

 

Ready to jump online and purchase your ticket now? I suggest you do so as there is limited seating at the last event of the summer, September 12. Check out the flyer below to see what you would be missing out on.

 

Do you have an idea or event you want to share with Bonnie for her Out & About column? Send her your thoughts.