Monday, October 20, 2008

Farm-to-Table celebrating at Janos

Last night we ate slow and local with the farmers. I’m not being cute – just stating the facts as we enjoyed a feast in honor of Sonoran Region farms, vineyards and breweries. So refreshing to put aside other discussions and focus on a core element of community sustainability -- our local foods. The Tucson evening was made even more special through the kitchen of Janos, a favorite local chef and leader in our food community.

Local growers from our Sonoran region came to the dinner to be honored and to share their crops. It was an experience full of flavor and celebration. The gathering included a four-course wine-tasting dinner, with a front-end reception that allowed us to gather informally, to talk community, sustainability, and how culture and food play an important part of place-making in the region. Local growers brought their beautiful bounty for display, and also supplied the meats and produce for the event. Our own Nimbus Brewery and Callaghan Vineyard provided the spirits.

Yum – fresh tiny turnips and fig compote wafers to start with refreshing Nimbus beer. I saw a gorgeous sweet and spicy popcorn display too pretty to taste as well as other fresh tidbits passed around on the Janos patio. For dinner, there were four adventures. We had delectable preparations of tartare and hearty dishes of flavorful meats, poultry and fish. The native garnishes included stuffed pumpkin blossoms, saguaro syrup, chipotle spices piloncillo. There were pickled local produce and ajo rojo garlic so sweet. An incredible dessert of almond-lemon-basil pound cake and cinnamon ice cream – should I continue? Such wonderful full wines from Callaghan to accompany each serving.

I frequent our local farmers markets, and I was happy to spend a few dollars to be part of this tribute to Tucson’s food artisans. Janos, as always, provided an interesting cultural and culinary perspective to the evening, and encouraged us all to learn more about the sustaining edible treasures of our Sonoran Desert. The experience of eating such delicious cuisine prepared so beautifully was made even more special by knowing where the food came from, and by sharing our table with the producers of such bounty.

Thanks to our friends Peggy and Mike for sharing a table with us. Thanks to our great local producers (including the chicken ladies and Native Seed Search). And thanks to Janos, for his creativity and unswerving enthusiasm for the cultural, agricultural and foods heritage so part of Tucson’s unique, precious flavor. I’m proud to support this special place called the Sonoran Desert.


Peggy said...

Yum! Monica, you described the evening beautifully! It was a delicious opportunity to share in last night's event honoring our local food producers. It was so perfect that part of the event's purpose was for us to meet and mingle with the people who are growing and raising and bringing to market healthy food (non industrially-produced) for us, demonstrating in a real way that as a community we are creating a healthy LOCAL quality of life. As Janos encouraged us last night, we all should read Michael Pollan's letter to the next president published in the NY Times! It will make it abundantly clear why we need our local food producers.

Leigh said...

Yes, it was a really enjoyable evening, due in no small part to our dinner companions and the excellent food and prep.
The weather was one of those "soft" post summer evenings and time spent on Janos' outdoor terrace mingling with the food vendors was both informative and comforting.

Peggy, were any of your eggs from the egg ladies green eggs?

Power to the Local Farmers!