Monday, February 23, 2009

Kurtwood Farms

Kurtwood Farms is the kind of thing that you hear talked about on the edges of conversations, like the secret roving dinners you can never quite pin down. It’s for people who really appreciate food, they say, and who value the shortest distance between the land and what’s served at the table.

Yesterday I joined three dear friends and made the long-anticipated journey to Vashon Island to experience Kurtwood Farms for myself. Kurtwood is the work of Kurt Timmermeister, formerly of Café Septieme and a much more urban existence. These days Kurt can be found on his working farm on Vashon, turning out extraordinary all-Jersey milk products, and inviting guests to join him at his long wooden table on select Sunday evenings.

Having come with a veteran diner, we arrived in plenty of time to walk the farm and say hello to the pigs and cows, and return just as the hand-made pizzas were coming directly from the outdoor oven. This is just the start of an extraordinary meal, to which I won’t do justice by listing the components. Because as my friend so accurately pointed out, it is the simplicity of the food that makes it so compelling. Kurt explains at the beginning of the evening that everything he serves comes from the farm save a miniscule list of staples like flour, salt, and pepper, and you taste that with every bite. Ingredients that couldn’t be any fresher and clearly produced with great care, prepared by two skilled guest chefs in town from Lummi Island, and served by the host himself… Let’s just say this is a hard act to follow.

Once you’ve dined with Kurt you are on the list to receive his monthly email about the upcoming set of dinners. Limber up your typing fingers and get your essay responses ready because there is stiff competition to get a seat at this particular table. I assure you, though, it’s a task well worth the effort.

[Photos courtesy of Andrew van Leeuwen and Aaron Nelson]

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