Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Farm Dinner

On Sunday our son and his wife, our talented daughter-in-law, invited us to go out to a farm dinner, served right in the barn!  The place was 'Burdock Grove Farm' (I presume this says something about the weeds they found when they bought the farm), where the farmer is also a chef.  He likes doing a dinner for 50 people in his barn.  We assume many of the diners were also their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) customers

This is a typical old Grey County farm, with a big bank barn and some outbuildings.  Like several others we know of, this couple has developed an organic farm business growing veggies in polytunnels, and raising geese, ducks and chickens for their CSA or the local market.  They are part of the remarkable Eat Local Grey-Bruce food network too.

They let us park quite close and I only had to find my way across this grassy bumpy slope, then into the barn.

It was all set out for a big dinner, though I am glad Mrs. F.G. was there to look out for hazards like loose floorboards and sudden drops!

The barn had been well cleaned, though I wondered what old equipment had just been stored behind this screen.

It was the barn that fascinated me, and reminded me of my uncle's barn which I had been in as a child.  I once got to ride along on the hay wagon in the days when health and safety was not an issue - and when hay was raked and stored loose, not in bales, so I could picture this hay mow stored full to the rafters.

You probably canèt tell from the picture, but that big beam must have been about 30 feet long, and about 12x18 inches in size!  Where did they find trees like that?

 I do remember climbing the ladder to the top of the pile of hay, but I donèt know how you'd easily climb further to the top of the rafters.

 At our last house I had the chance to watch the neighbour's old barn being partly dismantled and reroofed, and it was fascinating.

 At a quick glance you would not recognize all the pegged mortise and tenon joints that keep these barns standing upright for over 100 years.  Every place a horizontal or diagonal beam meets a vertical one there is an invisible tenon that extends inside the mortise cavity and then it gets pegged to stay in place.  All you see on the outside is the ends of the pegs.  Here's a little diagram without the pegs if youère not making sense of this.  I think it's amazing.

Mortise                       Tenon

Soon enough it was time to turn to the menu.  Since it was a bit cool they has a warm cup of soup broth before you had the choice of going on aa farm tour.

The meal was served in serving bowls, each for 8 people, and it worked out well for all further 4 courses.

Here's the main course, duck with beets, greens and potatoes.  Desert was delicious too.  If you wonder why I didn't heap my plate up, I'm in the groove of eating half portions, since only half my body gets any exercise.

 It did drag out a bit, but we thoroughly enjoyed it and had a great visit with our son and daughter-in-law.  One of the more memorable meals we've ever had.


  1. From your description of size of the barn's main beams they were probably eastern white pine. In Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River watershed the prime grade white pine for sailing ship masts was said to be 90 feet long and 36 inches in diameter at the small end. What trees those must have been!

  2. I think those barn dinner themes are great. I attended one at Hurd Orchards near Spencerport New York about 4 years ago and I, like you, found the barn interior very fascinating. Food was good too but can't remember what I had. And yes I have heard about the huge trees found in this land hundreds of years ago.

  3. Those builders surely knew how to build, tenon joints, made to last.I wonder if that huge tree was felled by hand, a 2-man saw maybe, what a grand event.Looks like the food was so enjoyable as well.

  4. Hello, the farm dinner looks like a fun evening. A neat setting, I love the barn. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy weekend!

  5. I always learn something about barns when you write posts, it seems. I was glad you provided that diagram so I could "get it." :-)

  6. What an awesome idea! I love the memories that came flooding back from Daddy's old barns too. The meal looks wonderful and I haven't had duck since I was a young girl. Don't know what 'quark' is, I'll have to Google it. :) Right to the poached pears for dessert, yummy.
    Nice to enjoy a meal in different surroundings.

  7. What a magnificent setting for a meal. I'm always amazed at the size of timbers in old buildings and wonder how they managed to manhandle them into position.

  8. Oh, that looks like so much fun! I immediately recognized the way the joints were made. Such workmanship.

    I played in our family's hay loft as a child. It was hay bales. My BFF and I would find eggs that the hens had left. Great fun to watch them hit the ground from the loft door. The smell was less than great. We were next to the hog pen so smells didn't much matter to two 8 year old tom boy girls exploring the barn. Sliding in the grain bins was pretty fun, too.

  9. I think the farm dinner looks and sounds great.

    All the best Jan

  10. Great setting for a dinner. I've never had duck!
    Fantastic pictures of the inside of the barn.
    Once was went to a wedding in a barn.

  11. oooh i just LOVE this, what an awesome idea and the perfect spot to enjoy a meal!! and this would be one time i would not have cared about what i ate, although the food looks great, that barn is fascinating!!