Jodi and Darrin Swank are the couple behind the hydroponic farm based in Loxahatchee Groves that's become regionally famous for supplying over 350 varieties of vegetables, edible flowers, and micro-greens for the area’s top restaurants.
Today, they're equally famous for their fancy farm dinners, an idea that took shape after several pleas from local customers who visited Jodi's stand at the West Palm Beach Green Market eight years ago.
During the first lunch-style Swank meal, just over 60 diners gathered under the full sun to attend the farm's first official lunch. Today, guests revel under a massive 8,500-square foot pole barn that is often decorated in the style of a garden ball, a venue that can accommodate up to 240 guests.
The second season saw three lunches, all bringing between 65 to 100 guests. The duo switched to today's Sunday dinners by demand. And this season will see the most dinners — a total of 18 — including the fourth annual White Party, an idea suggested by cookbook author Judith Olney and fashioned after white parties in Paris. The first took place in 2015, with white candles set at every table and guests dressed head to toe in white. The event is capped at 260 and is almost sold out for 2019.
It was successful and the couple decided to continue. They looked to the local chef community to cook at the farm using the same Swank Farm ingredients they featured in kitchens across the tri-county area. Each dinner features local sponsors that help with everything from meat and dairy to fruit and beverages.
What began as just a handful of intimate dinners in 2011 has grown into 18 unique signature events. Last month, Swank Farms announced its seventh season schedule, the latest series of dinner and brunch-style events that will bring together more than 80 celebrated chefs to spotlight the farm's annual harvest season. While the seventh season officially kicked off November 18, with just one brunch and one dinner under its belt, there's still plenty more to go, including the next "Farm Market" themed dinner on Sunday, January 6.
A Swank Dinner evening begins with an opening reception cocktail and passed hors d'oeuvres. They're generous portions, and mingling is akin to happy hour at your favorite outdoor bar. If you're still hungry, there's more to come: as you move down the dirt path towards the barn you'll be greeted by the chefs of the evening for an amuse bouche — several small tasting plates from each served up with a toast of champagne or rosé — before moving on to dinner.
By now, you're fully engrossed with the evening's grand finale: the four-course, seated dinner with specialty wine and beer pairings. Don't be afraid to ask for seconds, thirds, or fourths when it comes to the bubbly, beer, and wine. It's bottomless, as long as you keep it paced appropriately.
Last, don't forget to call Uber. They know how to find the farm down dark dirt roads, and it helps to have a chauffeured ride for all that bottomless drinking.
Swank Table Dinner at Swank Specialty Produce. 14311 N. Rd., Loxahatchee; 561-202-5648; swankspecialtyproduce.com.