A promise of Gazpacho Shooters under the Hackberry tree fetched us to Owl Valley farm last night, thanks to Laura of Punk Rock Gardens and her husband Sean. Our friends Christine and Holly made for a genial party of six — so long as we kept the conversation away from the dying newspaper industry. (We all have some sort of P-N connection.)
The evening was a progressive dinner through native woodland put on by Slow Food York. Called a Full Moon Walk, it turned out to be a sweet ramble through Judy and Richard Bono’s place on the Kreutz Creek, east of York. Since buying the six acres 20 years ago, the Bonos have weeded out invasive species and encouraged spectacular local growth. (Full story and great photos here.)
We began by getting lost, and then … well, here’s Dee:
“We saw a sign to MoonWalk Parking and a man sitting beside it on a tractor. He directed us to neighbor’s side yard across the road from him. We stopped to talk to Richard, who is the owner. Then we began the walk in, past a gorgeous restored farmhouse and grounds. I couldn’t see any other houses for the trees, but I did hear the creek.
“The path meandered up to the first food station. Each spot had long tables with white tablecloths and ice buckets with bottles of wine and food with colorful plates, napkins, cups. I had cucumber lemonade to drink. It was delicious but a little disconcerting to chew your drink!
I didn’t have very much and then switched to the champagne that Pat brought. I had mock crab cakes, and eggplant caviar. Good.”
The mock crab was made with zucchini. (It was National Zucchini Day!) The eggplant was served on crostini as a bruschetta.
The Soup station was just a meander away. We all had the Chilled Red Bell Pepper Gazpacho Shooters and cleared our palates with champagne. I went for the Chilled Cucumber Soup. Cold soup is always a gamble; seasoned perfectly, it works. This was good, and though I tried the Spicy Fresh Corn Salad I went back to the cucumber soup twice. (See photo. They were small cups.)
Here’s Dee again:
“The third food station was set up on the porch of Judy’s house and was the Main Course. The house was like a sophisticated cottage along the creek. The woods were deep; we could catch glimpses of the sky overhead, but we were in our own world with glittering natural lights and fireflies lighting our way.”
And Judy Bono lighting candles along the way ahead of us, as night spread out overhead.
We found chairs and benches on the porch and relaxed with a ratatouille and Chicken Caesar — wish I had a picture, but it was too dark by then for the iphone — served as chunks of grilled chicken on a single romaine leaf with dressing. Good textures, good taste, great simple presentation.
It was a chance to sit and talk and we did, sort of breaking naturally into word people and picture people. Photographers are so cliquey. (Okay, not a word. But if you know any, you know how they get in a bunch and start talking f-stops.)
Desserts. Wow. Blueberry ice cream made on the spot by Patrice and Tom of Stone River Farm at Long Level, and exploding in my mouth with frozen blueberries on Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Patrice served it with Lavender Sugar Cookies.
We walked through the woods back to the cars with just enough light from the fireflies to start some ghost stories. (People in the Victorian house across the road apparently captured one. A ghost. Yeah.) It was a lovely summer night.