The setting was picture perfect, our creature comforts tended to; from the tarps above, festooned with twinkle lights, the photo op gorgeous press back chair bundled with blankets, the table setting charming chic, sporting mismatched china. ‘Twas simply fairyland in the field.
Melissa and Nathan McCosker of 10fold farms know how to throw a feast!
The seed of inspiration started small but has grown strong.
As Melissa shared with me they were disappointed with the lack of access to good food in the grocery stores. They had the desire to feed their family organic chicken, good pork, beef and veggies. Their solution was to grow what they needed, thereby ensuring that the farming methods and quality of the food would be consistent with their beliefs. This is sustainable farming, healthy for the land and body. They bought their property in 2009, animals were added in 2010, and their specialty is Berkshire Pork.
They raise happy healthy animals in this woodland setting. Veggies of all types are grown, including mushroom logs. These beauties are available to purchase allowing you to harvest your own crop of Shiitake mushrooms. The property hosts a greenhouse in the geodesic dome style, allowing them to extend the growing season.
Nathan grew up on a cattle and sheep farm in Australia and has vast experience with animal husbandry, growing crops using natural methods and cooking; having travelled to many “delicious places”. Nathan often develops the menu and cooks the feasts that he and Melissa will serve, but on this evening, Chef André Sanche, decided to “come out and play”. Chef André was the inaugural chef for their “feasts” and the three work well together. For the “Feast on Summer”, Nathan led the guests on a tour of the farm before dinner; a wonderful walking aperitif. This stimulated conversation, educated us to their farming principals and allowed ample time for photography.
As gloaming settled, candlelight welcomed us to the table and the feast began.
Dinner was divine; we started with a small glass of craft beer, with our 1st; Sticky Portuguese Style Berkshire Braised Pork Belly on onion and roasted garlic compote with sautéed sweet peppers. Moving to our 2nd, with white wine; Smoked Georgian Bay Whitefish with Shredded Kale Slaw, Basil scented Say Cheese Yogurt, pickled yellow cucumbers and spicy smoked pepper salsa verde. Red Wine with our 3rd; Thyme Roasted Berkshire Pork Shoulder Roast, 10fold farms Vegetable Medley, Lemon Verbena Polenta, with C’est Bon Goat Cheese.
Our 4th; tea or coffee and Warm Berkshire Lard Beignets with Maple Whiskey Carmel and Whipped Goat Cream. Guests lingered near the bonfire as the embers waned, it was hard to say goodnight. Feasts are offered throughout the season, each has its own theme, details are sent out to those on the email list. Do sign up, these are must attend events.
The relationship between Chef André Sanche and 10fold farms is symbiotic. The Berkshire pork is available to purchase at Ciboulette et Cie and is the pork of choice for Chef André in his restaurant. Nearing Christmas, 10fold farms will have their mushroom logs available for purchase at Ciboulette et Cie. These spore injected logs make great gifts; we purchased one last year and my young nephew found the sprouting fungi enchanting.
Chef André Sanche has been featured previously on Simcoe Dining; I was privileged to experience his talents at the Georgian College Chef Series, and I reviewed his restaurant, Ciboulette et Cie in June 2013. Growth and accolades continue for Chef André Sanche; the restaurant has acquired a liquor license and is now open for Thursday night dinners, with a communal flair. Ciboulette et Cie has been designated a “FEAST ON” Member with the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance. This prestigious honour recognizes a minimum use of 25% local foods, and a gorgeous wooden spoon is presented to members!
10fold farms flourishes; this has been the first year they had a booth at the Orillia Farmers Market and they will be there until Christmas; selling their frozen pork products and a plethora of seasonal delights all grown and baked fresh on the farm. Jams and jellies, hand pies in seasonal flavours; rhubarb, strawberry and soon to arrive will be apple. They sell pulled pork sandwiches on homemade bread each week, jars of lard they have rendered themselves for your own baking, and some amazing flavoured and herbed butters made in collaboration with Stirling Creamery, barrel churned butter. Post feast, I purchased a pound of Berkshire bacon and a jar of the lemon butter to take home with me for breakfast treats!
Berkshire pork to purchase from 10fold farms is available by email marketing with direct delivery, contact 10fold farms for details.
There are folk, squeamish about thinking where their food comes from; but by supporting local we become educated about our food sources and the people that are growing and producing the very sustenance we require.
When I asked Melissa what message she would like me to share with my readers, her reply was direct. “Reinforce as a meat eater it is really a brave thing to be conscious about what you are putting on your fork. Getting to know your farmer is vastly important in this day and age, especially not knowing where all that grocery store food comes from. The more relationships you develop with the farmers the better off you are health wise and ethically, it’s a good thing all together”. Need I say more?
Written by: Penelope Morrow
Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and local food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets @penelopejmorrow
Photos by Celeste Morrow-Bailie – CMB Photography