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Farm Dinners Get Fresh

Farms in California and Oregon invite diners to eat at the source: the farm. Enjoy a view of the fields that grew the food on the plate.

  • diners seated inside a barn at Cow Track Ranch, image
    Photo caption
    Diners enjoy a fine meal at Cow Track Ranch, part of West Marin Food & Farm Tours.
  • long table of diners in an outside setting put on by Full Belly Kitchen, image
    Photo caption
    Full Belly Farm brings fine food and good company to a bucolic setting.

Farm-to-table has become a familiar phrase on menus, but how about table to farm? This summer, chefs around the West are luring diners right to the source to enjoy the season’s long days, warm evenings, and fresh bounty of produce at idyllic meals complete with views of the veggie beds.

Lemon verbena tea and an open-air tractor tour welcome guests to Full Belly Farms in Guinda, Calif. Then diners gather on a lawn next to the fields for a multicourse meal which may include pork, lamb, tomatoes, melons, green beans, eggplant, peaches, plums, and peppers. The owners encourage camping out for the night. June 7, July 5, Aug. 9. (530) 796-2214,

Ten miles from downtown Portland on the western slope of Forest Park at Phantom Rabbit Farm, dinner begins with a tour, then moves to picnic tables by the greenhouse. The meals feature spring-into-summer ingredients such as peas, fava beans, different varieties of lettuce, new potatoes, garlic scapes, and foraged mushrooms. June 29, July 27, Aug. 24.

Guests at monthly suppers by West Marin Food & Farm Tours, held at various spots in Marin County, Calif., mingle over drinks such as sparkling mead mojitos, then sit down to four courses that incorporate early summer produce from Table Top Farm—think Armenian cucumbers and red Cherokee tomatoes—and meats from Marin Sun Farms. June 15, July 13, Aug. 10.

Oregon’s Plate & Pitchfork matches seasoned chefs with farmers and ranchers, bringing white-tablecloth service to cattle pastures, apple orchards, and fields across the state. Diners wander the fields on a tour before sitting down to multicourse meals paired with Oregon wines and, sometimes, live music. July 12–Sept. 6.

On a lawn bordered by a creek at Everett Family Farm in Soquel, Calif., guests dine around a single communal table overlooking an apple orchard, crop fields, and grazing goats. The four-course meals make use of pizzaiolo Roland Konicke’s mobile wood-fired oven. June 1, Aug. 10, Sept. 21, and October 19.

Photography by Ashley Muir Bruhn/Hither & Thither (Full Belly diners); courtesy of West Marin Food & Farm Tours (dining in barn)

This article was first published in April 2014. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.