Cloud Mountain Farm

A Fall Fruit Festival Dinner

I still believe there is some magic left in this world.  If magic for children involves fairies, kingdoms, rainbows and potions, then for me it manifested as a group of community-minded folks gathered in a candlelit greenhouse, settled in an apple orchard, with rain bouncing off the plastic roof like a one-man percussion section and the smell of local food in the air.  Such was the set for our Fall Fruit Festival Dinner at Cloud Mountain Farm Center on October 2nd, 2011.

We came out to setup the greenhouse the day before the dinner.  I could hardly contain myself--beautiful trees, shrubs and plants filled the greenhouse like a landscaper’s dream. Our crew spent the morning making room for tables, chairs, and a mobile kitchen.  Then, I played decorator, using the plants to build a layered flora backdrop around the perimeter of the greenhouse.  It quickly became clear we needed candles--lots of them! I called local wedding designer extraordinaire, Steven Moore, and asked to raid his amazing prop rooms.  When I got to his store rooms I was like a chef in a kitchen store.  Shawn, our sous chef, and I filled the Sprinter with candlesticks, lanterns and candles and headed back to the farm.  We stayed up past midnight hanging lanterns by headlamp and setting the stage for an enchanted evening. 

As guests started to filter in the next afternoon, they were greeted with champagne and appetizers in the orchard; it was as if the energy of the kitchen inside the greenhouse had created a force field outside.  Folks only ventured as far as the door to take a peek, sensing the spell might be broken if they entered too early.  When the guests were invited in, there was an air of excitement as they took in their surroundings.  Local music sensation Rattletrap Ruckus played the musical equivalent of the palpable energy in the air. Folks slowly took their seats and Ciao Thyme took its position at the head of the tables. 

We prepared course after course, stopping only to take notice of the fairy-like twinkling of the candles as the dusk set-in or the music the rain offered at the precise moment the band was exiting out the back door or the moment of ecstasy on a diner’s face upon their first taste of pear-chanterelle lasagna.  At the end of the evening we were left with a single thought--what happened here tonight will never be duplicated, because what we just witnessed is the stuff of fairytales--MAGIC!