Summer's nearly over and it's time for growing season again in South Florida. Jodi Swank of Swank Specialty Produce, is gearing up for the fall. CSA and greemarket customers can expect to see the first yields in about two weeks.
Jodi Swank, who owns the farm with her husband Darrin, says, "we're about four weeks into seeding. We're going into our 12th year and we have an amazing relationship with fabulous chefs."
That relationship translates into Swank Farms' lineup of Swank Table events for 2014-15, which features some of the best names in South Florida's culinary scene, including a host of chefs from Miami, which means people in Palm Beach can get a taste of some of the most talked-about venues in the southernmost part of Florida -- without the drive.
Jodi Swank explains some improvements to the dining series. "This season, we've moved the events to the late afternoon. There's something magical about twilight on the farm." Also new for the season is the appointment of chef Simon Stojanovic as culinary chef liaison for the series. "Basically, he's out executive chef out here. He'll be in charge of making the visiting chefs comfortable and he'll also be in charge of making some dishes. Last April, he created the most gorgeous cheese platter. After I saw that, I thought we have to have him incorporate something into every dinner."
The first event takes place Sunday, December 7 from 4 - 8 p.m. when Miami's 50 Eggs restaurant group hosts a dinner that incorporates dishes from all three of its restaurants. Culinary director Clayton Miller will head the dinner, menu items inspired by Khong River House, Yardbird, and Swine. The dishes will be paired with wines curated by Richard Paladino, advanced sommelier at Virginia Philip Wine Shop & Academy. Cocktails will be served featuring spirits by St. Augustine Distillery.
Jodi Swank explains the dinner. "Chef Miller is in charge, and the food will be an incredible mix of Southern and Asian. When you arrive, you're greeted by a welcome cocktail and bites by Whole Foods. Following the appetizers, there's a tour of the farm.
Dinner is served at the pole barn, where each restaurant will be in charge of a dish, each served family style. The dinner lives up to its "Swank" name, with meals served on white China plates. As Swank says, "the meal is basically seven courses with dessert. We're feeding you from the moment you get to our farm. The amount of food is amazing, and the chefs really come out here to represent themselves and to interact with the guests. These dinners are really special."
The first dinner, by the way, is also open to groups, making it an ideal one-stop-shop for a holiday gathering for small companies.
There are a host of other events, all themed, like the Hot Pink Tomato event on February 8. The dinner, which benefits the Palm Beach County Food Bank, pays tribute to the tomato with chefs Aaron Brooks (Edge Steak & Bar, Miami); Conor Hanlon (The Dutch, Miami Beach); Roy Villacrusis (Aah Loi, Jupiter); and Huma Nagi (3030 Ocean, Fort Lauderdale) collaborating on a dinner that, we imagine, incorporates the fruit/vegetable in unique ways.
In total, there are seven events planned for the season. Each dinner costs $155 per person and the dinners are held rain or shine. There are also discounts for groups, and when multiple events are purchased at the same time. For a complete lineup of the events, and to order tickets, visit swankspecialtyproduce.com.