Continuing in my series of blog posts about my research (see Part 1 and Part 2), the above photo is of me mixing homemade pesto with just grilled zucchini that came right off the farm for what turned out to be a fun and informative cooking class at Jones Family Farm in Shelton, CT.
Jones Farm was on my “agritourism” itinerary this month because this picturesque farm, which has been in the Jones family for generations, not only provides the community with bountiful crops in the summer, pumpkins in the fall and Christmas trees in the winter but also offers weekly cooking classes and wine tastings. Check it out here.
We showed up on what promised to be a stormy Wednesday night for our cooking class but the skies stayed lightning and rain free until it was time to leave. Whew. Our first task was to get out into the pasture and see what looked dinner worthy.
(Yes, I’m the one who’s dressed all in black on a hot summer’s night. Crazy, but I’m always cold, what can I say.)
We came back inside the kitchen and, lead by Jean Jones, a member of the farm family and registered dietician, and Sherry Swanson, a chef in and around CT, we were split off into groups, each assigned a different preparation of the meal, which consisted of roasted herbed chicken for the main course and a blueberry and strawberry cobbler for dessert, plus a glass of Jones’ own wine. For the side dishes, we made…
…a bulgur wheat cabbage salad with blueberries
…a kale salad with goat cheese, tomatoes and a strawberry vinaigrette.
… and grilled zucchini with the pesto I mixed.
When it was all done, the 12 of us sat down and enjoyed the fruits of our labors. It was fun getting to know the other guests who’d signed up for the class as well as the instructors and learning more about life on a working farm. Just as we were tasting our last bites of food, the thunder came and we took that as our cue to run for our car. The drive back to our rental house was precarious in the heavy rain (we got lost a couple of times), but it was worth it. A good time was had by us and I took copious notes for my novel, which was, after all, the point.