Today’s Courier Post features Taylor River Side Farm and Café BellaVita’s Farm to Fork Event on Sunday, September 21st.
We had a wonderful first fun on September 14th, and are looking forward to the bigger turnout (50 people) this coming Sunday.
We look forward to this and many more events on the farm!
Taylors, BellaVita partner for unique dinner event
William Sokolic, Courier-Post 8:59 p.m. EDT September 16, 2014
Linda Vendome of Bellavita speaks with guests at a Farm to Fork dinner, in which most of the ingredients used come from the farm. Cafe Bellavita has partnered with Taylor’s River Side Farm, the next event is Sept 21 at the Cinnaminson farm.
(Photo: Scott Anderson, Courier-Post)
Taylor River Side Farm grows more than two dozen varieties of tomatoes on its Cinnaminson grounds. Among them: fuzzy peach tomatoes, striped Roma tomatoes and blue tomatoes.
Is there anything to light up an Italian chef’s eyes with delight than so many different kinds of tomatoes?
Chef Carlo Finazzo of Merchantville’s Café BellaVita savored the opportunity to create a meal around Taylor’s tomatoes and other veggies and fruits.
But not just any meal. He will prepare a Sunday dinner at the farm itself.
Chef Carlo Finazzo of Merchantville’s Café BellaVita will serve his filet (right) with roasted vegetables, garnished with blackberry mix, vegetable puree and ginger crumbs at a Farm to Fork dinner at Taylor’s River Side Farm Sept. 21. (Photo: Photos by Scott Anderson/For the Courier-Post )
“We want to show you can eat meals prepared with ingredients from the farm,” said Linda Vendome, co-owner of the café with her husband, Finazzo. “Chef Carlo is an awesome cook who does wonderful things with ingredients.”
Farm co-owner Lily Taylor is anticipating the farm-to-fork event with enthusiasm.
“This is our first foray into this. We’re really excited about it. The chef saw what we had available and created the menu from that. He uses a Sicilian flare to his cooking, so this is a nice way to go.”
Guests will gather at 4 p.m. Sunday for an hour-long stroll around the farm and along the Delaware River.
If time permits, participants might get a chance to tour a portion of the wildlife preserve that is part of the land. The preserve attracts organized bird walks where as many as 50 varieties of birds have been identified.
“Come to an event like this, get down on the farm and appreciate it first-hand,” explained Lily Taylor, who operates the farm with husband, Peter.
“And the venue itself is beautiful, a mini-oasis on the river. That the meal is cooked by a great chef is amazing.”
While guests meander, Finazzo will put the finishing touches on the traditional Sicilian menu in one of the farm houses on the 11th generation farm that dates to 1720.
“Most of the offerings include ingredients from the Taylor Farm except for the meat,” the chef notes.
Adds Vendome, “Some final touches to the dinner will be done outside.”
Various types of tomatoes used during a unique event called a Farm to Fork dinner, in which most of the ingredients used come from the farm. Cafe Bellavita has partnered with Taylor’s River Side Farm, the next event is Sept 21 at the Cinnaminson farm.(Photo: Scott Anderson, Courier-Post)
When the Taylors ran into Vendome and Finazzo at a farmers market, the idea for such a partnership came up and both sides were receptive.
“Like us, Taylor is small and family-oriented. Like us, they are passionate about eating healthy, pure foods,” Vendome said.
Chef Finazzo visited the farm in advance of the dinner, walking through the different fields.
“He felt the dirt and took in the smells which helps him get creative over what he sees coming out of the location. His eyes were dancing everywhere. He became one with the farm,” described Vendome.
Taylor has focused on variety. In addition to tomatoes, “we have different varieties of squash and peppers and beans. Lima beans have been a Taylor heritage since the 1800s,” Lily Taylor says.
Some of the items on the menu may end up in the BellaVita restaurant at some point, Vendome notes.
“Some ingredients are specific to certain times of year like zucchini flowers,” she says.
While crops differ somewhat in the spring, like the addition of micro-greens, the Taylors farm still grows its tomatoes.
Both sides expect to do more of this, perhaps with other restaurants. The pairing seems so natural, Vendome says.
Filet with fresh veggies and five purees at a Farm to Fork dinner, in which most of the ingredients used come from the farm. Cafe Bellavita has partnered with Taylor’s River Side Farm, the next event is Sept 21 at the Cinaminson farm.(Photo: Scott Anderson, Courier-Post)
Taylor Farm has provided all the crops for dinners held at other restaurants such as District Riverton Bistro and Pearls Oyster Bar in the Reading Terminal Market.
But this takes it to another level, Lily Taylor says.
“We want to keep doing it for the future with different restaurants. It’s a neat experience for people to come to.
“It’s not something set in stone. We’re working on it.”
Reach William Sokolic at (856) 486-2437 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @WilliamSokolic
The Farm to Fork Menu
Pasta Fagioli shooter
Arancina (rice ball) with zucchini and fontina cheese
Fresh green salad
Risotto, zucchini flowers and squashes with creamy saffron
Filet served with roasted vegetables, garnished with blackberry mix, vegetable puree and ginger crumbs
If you go
The Farm to Fork dinner takes place Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Taylor River Side Farm, 5 Taylors Lane, Cinnaminson. Rain date is Sept. 28. Cost is $55 a person. For reservations, call Cafe BellaVita at (856) 665-8388.
For more details, visit cafebellavita.com or taylorsfarm.org