While Scott Evans and Michael Richey brainstorm menu ideas over at the Pago kitchen, Pete Rasmussen at Sandhill Farms is nursing the ingredients along. Here is his report:

    • The Land
    With the Summer Solstice just two days away, June 19th at Sandhill Farms feels more like mid-March than nearly-summer. Blustery east winds, thunderstorms and a forecasted high of 49 degrees reminds me that we are farming in the Wasatch Mountains. The gorgeous, wise and deep green Wasatch Mountains. The season's record breaking April and May rainfall amounts have not deterred the migrational wildlife from their cyclical return to the marshlands just steps from the garlic fields. Sandhill Cranes are again soaring over the farm at sunset and sunrise, their hatched babies now big enough to be left alone during the day. Two fuzzy-gray Blue Heron chicks squawk from the cottonwood tree nest, pelicans circle in the morning thermals and beavers smack their tales as warning signs from the willows. The Land is alive with beauty.
    • The Farm
    As a planter of seeds and encourager of healthy crops, few things are more rewarding to a farmer than planting with the natural irrigation system - rain. In dry, arid-land climates and without drip-irrigation or overheard sprinklers, farmers around the world rely on their highly-attuned weather awareness, and planting with the spring or summer rains can mean success or failure for the season. I'm not claiming to be a highly-attuned weather intuitive, but this weekend I got lucky here at Sandhill Farms, planting for 14 hours straight over 10,000 seeds and finishing just hours before the first south winds hinted at the cold front which now brings rain to the fields.

    The Food

    With four more weeks until Sandhill Farms hosts the first Utah Outstanding in the Field Farm Dining event with Mike Richey of Pago Restaurant, this is what's growing on in the fields: Italian Genovese Basil, Heirloom Fava Beans, Fresh Green Garlic, edible nasturtiums, mountain chives, golden chard and more...

    We'll see what Scott and Mike can cook up with this. Their menu will be coming soon...

    Meanwhile, Farmer Pete is now taking 2011 Gourmet Culinary Garlic orders at www.sandhillfarms.org.

    Outstanding in the Field is dedicated to re-connecting diners "to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it." A restaurant without walls, its organizers travel across the country and host dinners in various communities, bringing together local food resources and chefs to showcase a region's best. Long dinner tables have been set up in firlds, barns and orchards. ORder tickets to the Utah event here.