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Lassen Land & Trails Trust 2018 Farm to Table Dinner

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

One of the most beautiful places in Lassen County, Five Dot Ranch in the Willow Creek Valley.

By Hannah Tangeman

August 25th marks the third annual Farm to Table dinner, this year generously hosted by the Swickard family at their landmark Five Dot Ranch in Willow Creek Valley. The event has been sold out since early July, having become a memorable evening of remarkable food and venues throughout our agricultural landscape that has created a following of epicurean minded patrons.

Thirty one years ago, Midge Swickard, was one of the founding members of the Lassen Land & Trails Trust organization so this splendid evening will continue their long relationship with the land trust. The Willow Creek valley and Five Dot Ranch are a stunning example of how agriculture connects with the natural world in a symbiotic relationship while creating a sustainable farming system.

Five Dot Ranch is a family business that traces its roots in farming for seven generations in California since 1852 with creating a heritage ranch in Lassen county in 1959. Their vision has grown into a vertically integrated mission that delivers their premium beef from pasture to plate.

Dozens of upscale restaurants feature their beef on menus throughout California. In addition, they have pioneered their own butcher shop and restaurant in the world class Oxbow Market in Napa.

The land trust is honored that Todd and Lori Swickard are making their barn the center of the 2018 fundraising dinner which will showcase local food.

Lassen county native, Tyler Morrish, is the mastermind of the flavorful menu. His passion for food has taken him on a journey as an exchangee at a Belgium culinary school to formal training at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland Oregon with positions at Michelin ranked restaurants, as well as, open fire cooking retreats held in Siskiyou county. Chef Tyler focuses on simple ingredients, while letting their fresh flavors shine.

Last year’s Farm to Table evening at Sierra Cascade Nursery

Tyler’s discerning palate has created a standout menu for the fortunate diners leading off with locally grown Wolf Ranch heirloom tomatoes paired with Sierra Nevada whipped goat cheese, charred corn and jalapeño salsa crowned with fresh Rustic Rancher microgreens served on Nathan’s sourdough baguette crostini. Another appetizer matches the flavors of baked beets with savory herb yogurt spread, pickled mustard seed and baby fennel salad accompanied by handcrafted crackers made with Lassen Ale works spent grains.

These starters will be served in the barnyard fenced with rustic rails overlooking the setting sun across the meadows. The entree of tender, flavorful Five Dot Beef will be smoked over oak with a deep smoky fire roasted chili sauce. Charred baby potatoes, partnered with a rich oyster sauce, will complement the plate, along with grilled carrots in carrot top pesto matching dual flavor bases. These will be artfully plated by Chef Tyler’s creative hand. Both canapés and entree will be matched with delicious Cooper-Garrod estate wine vintages that will be intriguing to the palate.

Locally brewed Lassen Ale Works beers will be proudly poured during the evening.

As a full moon rises, dessert of Sierra Cascade plant sourced strawberry and Felt a Family Farm rhubarb meld in a rustic pastry graced with vanilla ice cream,white chocolate shavings under a lush strawberry purée. This shall be enjoyed with a fine Rose from Wooden Valley winery.

The trek to Willow Creek Valley will be made on a bus thoughtfully provided by Sierra Cascade Nursery who last year headlined the evening. A September date has also been set for a guided
trail hike led by BLM trail designer, Stan Bales, through the Bald Mountain trails.

One hundred diners will feast knowing their evening will be unparalleled, as they listen to music of string musicians Tiffany Russell and Amy Holmen. This classically inspired duo have played at all three farm to table evenings. Once again, food, farms, and culinary wonders will become a lasting memory while helping the Lassen Land and Trails Trust conserve our precious landscapes and enhance our trail system. 

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