September 14th, 2014
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Tote to Table Dinner

Every week from the early spring to the late fall, Jackie and Dev load up “totes” (the aerated boxes you see below) with that day’s harvest and send them in a truck to all of the Tom Douglas Restaurant chefs in Seattle. 

Sous chef Kyle Johnson of Dahlia Lounge was inspired by the beautiful produce delivered in these totes each week. He created a menu that played with the farm’s variety—from shishito kimchee to apricot semifreddo. Prosser Farm produce is often used throughout Dahlia’s daily menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but what made this dinner unique was the way it honored and showcased all of the produce that the Prosser Farm team has been working hard to achieve all year. Moreover, diners got the chance to hear from Kyle about his process of creating each dish and Jackie’s insights about how each item was grown.

See pictures of the dinner and the beautiful food below!

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Chinook Winery is our neighbors in Prosser and Kay and Clay are good friends. We poured bottles of their red, white, and rose.

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First course: farm melons with miso cured tuna

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Kyle and Jackie discuss the first course with their guests.

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Spot prawn crudo and fried prawn heads with fried farm okra and grits. (The tomato sauce was also made with Prosser Farm tomatoes and made a delicious dipping sauce for the crispy fried prawn heads).

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Neah Bay salmon pastrami made at least 5 days before the dinner so that it could cure. It was paired with sour farm cucumbers, creme fraiche, and rye croutons.

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Kyle preparing the salmon “pastrami” course

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Tasmanian pepperberry cured lamb, sweet pea butter, dill capers, on sourdough. (That pea butter was so good you could eat it straight with a spoon.)

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Jim (the sous for the evening) quickly sautes the farm’s garlic long beans along with Prosser eggplant. They were then added to the duck crepinette with Prosser shishito kimchee. thai bird chili crisps, and fish sauce caramel.

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For dessert: Prosser Apricot semifreddo, crunchy cake, and rainier cherry. (Fun fact: the kernels* of an apricot, when broken open and brewed like tea, resemble the flavor of amaretto. Kyle made a syrup out of it and added some of the crunchy kernels to the crunchy cake bits.

*Be sure to roast or cook the apricot kernels before you eat them. Raw apricot kernels have a tiny bit of cyanide—but not enough to kill you. Once cooked though, it is entirely edible.

These dinners provide a rare opportunity for chefs, farmers, and consumers to connect. We also love to see what the chefs create from all of the beautiful produce! Our next farm dinner will be hosted at Prosser Farm in late October. We can’t wait to see what Dev will create next!

September 3rd, 2014
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We celebrate our late summer harvest in our 2nd Prosser Farm Dinner!

We hosted our 2nd Prosser Farm Dinner this past Saturday, among our late summer harvest, we featured our Ping Tung eggplants, Star of David okra, La Ratte potatoes, Rattlesnake beans, multiple varieties of tomatoes, and more. Chef and farmer Dev Patel created an incredible feast, with the help of Brett and long-time friend (and one of our past farmers), Zach. Jackie and Maggie hosted, served, and poured wines. Check out the menu below!

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Some of the highlights of the meal include eating from the beautiful handmade wooden bowls made by Dev’s friend Ryota Naka here in Seattle, the flight of tomato water, Arava melon water, and the cucumber water palette cleansers before dessert. There was also a sunset walk towards the river and through the garden and the farm. All in all, it was wonderful meeting the guests and sharing the bountiful late summer harvest with them. See pictures below!image

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 The next dinner will be in October and feature our late harvest produce!

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Next week, Prosser Farm will be coming to Seattle! At the Dahlia Lounge, sous chef Kyle Johnson is putting on a “Tote to Table” Prosser Farm Dinner featuring 6 courses paired with our friends and neighbors, Chinook Wines. 

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Take a peek at the menu and purchase tickets here!

August 27th, 2014
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Summer’s Last Streaks of Color

Ah, summer. As the days get shorter, the nights a bit colder, tomatoes feel like the last bridge between the hot days of July and the oncoming cooler days of September. Our favorite and most abundant crop during this time each year are our varieties of heirloom tomatoes: Copia, Landis, Brandywine, and Goldie. They seem to come in every shape, size, and color and add beautiful streaks of color to our plates.

In honor of the last vestiges of summer cookouts and vibrant pink sunsets, we dedicate this post to everything tomatoes!

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Serious Pie’s double dose: an appetizer with Prosser tomatoes, black truffle caviar, and fried basil (top); Prosser tomato pizza with salsa verde and pine nuts (bottom)

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Godzilla and his tomato and radish salad at TanakaSan

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A Prosser-abundant salad at Dahlia Bakery featuring Prosser Farm peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil (in the vinaigrette), and the potatoes.

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The Prosser Farm goat cheese & ricotta sandwich at Home Remedy complete with with Prosser tomatoes, pesto, and arugula.

We’ll also be using our tomatoes in our upcoming Prosser Farm Dinner, hosted this Saturday, August 30th at the farm!

August 8th, 2014
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We love our Spartans!

We are chalk-full of blueberries right now and we’re using them in everything: cocktails, pastries, pies…even a sangria slushie!

The blueberries are coming from our neighbors in Prosser, Crawford Farms (where we also get some of our asparagus from in the spring). Last year, the whole chef team visited Crawford Farms to learn about their blueberries, riesling grapes, asparagus, and chickens.

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The farm is run by Connie Crawford and her family. Currently, she’s sending us 3-4 varieties of blueberries (right now our favorite variety is the Spartan variety).

One of our favorite drinks this season is a blueberry shrub—it’s a refreshing drinking vinegar sweetened and flavored with fresh fruit. We’re serving a variation of it at Seatown and Dahlia Lounge. We’ve provided a step-by-step guide for how to make your own Blueberry Shrub cocktail!

Sonja’s Boozeberry Shrub Cocktail

(Makes one cocktail)

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  1. Make your blueberry shrub. This will take at least 2 days. Sonja, the Dahlia Lounge beverage director makes all of the shrubs in-house, but here is a basic blueberry shrub recipe
  2. In a cocktail shaker or pint glass, muddle 3 blueberries, 1 wedge of lime, 1 wedge of lemon, and a sprig of mint.
  3. Pour in 1 oz. of vodka, 3/4 oz triple sec, and 1 oz. of your blueberry shrub.
  4. Add ice to your shaker and shake until it feels cold to the touch. Strain into your martini glass. 
  5. Add a splash of prosecco at the top. Garnish with blueberries, and serve up.

See below for what all of our other restaurants are doing with Crawford blueberries as well!

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Breakfast fruit cup at Lola

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Above: Blueberry shrub mocktail at Seatown (just blueberry shrub and soda water)

Below: Blueberry Sangria at Etta’s

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All the various pastries at Dahlia Bakery: tarts, eclairs and blueberry pie!

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The Blueberry Sangria Slushie at Brave Horse Tavern

July 25th, 2014
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Sorghum- Cover Crop or Our Next Meal?

Even though we’re in the midst of the harvest season—now bringing over two truckfuls of produce to the restaurants each week—farmers always have to think 1 or 2 seasons in advance. In the fallow plot at Prosser Farm, they’ve begun testing a new summer cover crop: sorghum. 

In continuing to grow a more sustainable food system, Dev and Jackie drew inspiration from a lecture given by Mary-Howell, Klaas Martens, and Dan Barber regarding growing a variety of cover crops to re-fertilize the soil and that can also eaten by humans. The 300 feet of sorghum just planted at Prosser Farm practices the same concept, adding efficiency, productivity, and a high yield of nutritious food in a small amount of space. 

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Our sorghum after just 3 weeks.

In India, where Dev originally grew up, he ate a lot of jowar, which is the Indian word for sorghum. He recalls eating the sorghum in a variety of ways. The young green berries can be harvested and eaten fresh. They have a sweet earthy flavor that can be turned into porridge or for snacking on. Once the berries are dried, the grain can be ground into flour or popped like popcorn. In the US, the most common application is a sorghum syrup, similar to molasses, and is most often found in Southern cooking.

It’s one of those “perfect storm” grains; it’s a natural weed suppressant, uses 3-times less water as corn, provides excellent organic matter as a cover crop, and the harvest (if it yields enough) has the potential to be cooked in really diverse ways.

When the green berries and the dried grains get harvested, the Prosser Farm team will collaborate with the Bread Lab, where Steve Jones and his team who will conduct recipe testing for sorghum and whole wheat bread. Dev would like to bring the cultural traditions of Indian grain rotation: harvesting millet in the spring, corn in the summer, and sorghum in the fall, and making bread from each during their respective seasons. (Keep an eye out on the menu for next year’s Prosser Farm dinners!).

For now, Prosser Farm will experiment with the best practices of planting and harvesting sorghum, and explore ways to use sorghum in our restaurants. Last year, Chef Nate Crave at TanakaSan used popped sorghum berries as a delicious topping on a salad.

We’re all excited to see what the other chefs come up with—stay tuned!

July 18th, 2014
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A Prosser Restaurant Crawl

Prosser Farm is cropping up everywhere in the Tom Douglas Restaurants—in cocktails, appetizers, entrees, and desserts! To show off some of the bounty and variety this season, below is a little “TD Prosser Crawl” to some of the restaurants!

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Start off with Dahlia Lounge’s lunch appetizer with a layer of country ham, chunks of watermelon, blistered Prosser Farm shishito peppers, and sweet sicily.

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Order an appetizer or a side of “our farm’s adolescent carrots,” at Palace Kitchen topped with “overgrown crimini,” fennel pollen, chili, and reggiano.

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Next make the most of salmon season with this Salmon entree at TanakaSan featuring Prosser sweet onion tofu and english peas, fava beans, and lap cheong vinaigrette.

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Stay for a refreshing break with the Yuzu Misu at TanakaSan, complete with yuzu juice, Prosser shiso syrup, and soda water—garnished with a fresh shiso leaf. (If you’re feeling really thirsty add a shot of shoju into the drink).

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Finish your meal with the brown betty at Lola, stuffed with ripe Prosser apricots and topped with toasted crumbs and Dahlia Workshop’s vanilla bean ice cream.

July 11th, 2014
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Walla Walla Sweets ~ Onions So Nice We Named ‘Em Twice!

By planting the Walla Walla’s early this year, our onions grew larger than in previous years, and we were finally able to achieve the size normally associated with this sweet onion variety!

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The Walla Walla sweets will run for about a month, with an expected 1500-1600 pound yield brought to the Tom Douglas Restaurants. We are delivering them fresh—not cured as you’ll see in the grocery store-so they’ll be put on the menu immediately!

Chef Nate at TanakaSan has put them with his new salmon special, and Dahlia has placed them with squash blossoms for the season! See what some of the other restaurants are doing with the Walla Walla onions:

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Prosser Vegetable Appetizer at Serious Pie Virginia ~ Prosser peas, carrots, and Walla Walla sweets dressed in bagna cauda and topped with a soft egg.

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Branzino lunch plate at Trattoria Cuoco with fregola, peas, Walla Wallas, and fresh herbs.

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The special pizza at Serious Pie Westlake with lamb sausage, zucchini, Walla Wallas, and asiago cheese.

Once the Walla Wallas are done, we’ll start to pick the cipollinis and shallots. In the fall, we’ll plant the Walla Walla’s again to over-winter so that we have some for the spring. Our goal is to have a long season of onions for our restaurants!

July 3rd, 2014
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Spring Cleaning for Summer!

June in Prosser was spectacular—not too hot, no big storms, no pests, no late freezes (that hurt the tomato plants). 

In the month of June alone, Prosser Farm sent over 3,350 pounds of produce to all of the Tom Douglas Restaurants. The last of our spring harvest—beets, carrots, peas, and spring onions—are making their final appearance on our menus this week.

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The seared halibut at Etta’s is a perfect spring medley on a bed of Prosser peas and fava beans, with a chorizo-clam butter broth and topped with fresh herbs. 

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Brave Horse Tavern’s chop salad with Prosser Farm carrots and peas, and leafy greens from Newaukum Valley Farm. The salad is dressed with Jackie’s favorite green goddess dressing with Prosser Farm herbs.

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Last but not least, Dahlia Lounge is putting out a beautiful roasted beet appetizer utilizing Prosser Farm beets, sweet peas in the ricotta, and spring onions which they pickled. (The little crumbs of thyme shortbread and fresh pea shoots make this dish so unusual and delicious!).

The rows in which the spring vegetables were grown have been turned and re-seeded for the summer harvest. The peas became two varieties of beans, the carrots turned into cucumbers and melons, the onions into carrots for the fall, and the beets turn into summer greens of chard and rainbow lacinato kale. We’ve staggered our seeding every few weeks so that we get constant and consistent harvest throughout the summer—these recent seedings will become our late summer harvest.

Saying adios to spring (we all know summer doesn’t really start in Seattle until after July 4th!) and hello to our summer harvest! 

June 26th, 2014
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Check out the First Prosser Farm Dinner celebrating the best of the first spring harvest!

June 21st marked the first day of summer, the longest (and maybe prettiest) day of the year, and the first of our Prosser Farm Dinner series!

The dinner was multiple courses, starting with a poached rhubarb salad and finishing with sheep milk panna cotta and perfect cherries. The chef and farm manager, Dev Patel along with his pal Brett Jennings prepared dinner for all 16 guests while Jackie and Katherine Ferl poured wine and served dinner. It was a still, warm evening that started with a special lovage cocktail and snacks at the red table overlooking the Yakima River. After introductions everyone sat down around the family table inside and enjoyed the first four courses and the lovely wines paired with each of the dishes. We took a seventh inning stretch with a stroll around the upper farm beds and a visit to the chickens before returning to finish the last four courses. Our guests were up and down throughout the evening watching the cooking action and even helping to plate a course.

Although everyone came from different parts of the state they all left as great friends with each other and especially to us! See some of the beautiful dishes from the dinner below!

THE DINNER MENU:

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The next two dinners are in August and October and we are excited that they are both full! We look forward to seeing what Dev cooks up next based on our farm fresh produce.

May 28th, 2014
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Our Chefs Visit the Farm (and tell stories of their favorite meals)

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Every year, the Tom Douglas chefs visit the farm, help plant and transplant for the summer and fall season, and then relax, eat, and drink together around the communal wood table in the main house. The evening of Chef Plant was a memorable one this year, and the stories told have been transcribed and shared below by our Farm Manager, Dev Patel…

They have always been exceptional but this one felt special. Tom Douglas took a trip out to Fiesta Foods in Sunnyside, WA earlier that afternoon and brought back to the farm lamb, squid and other fixings along with a Spanish cazuela to cook a one-pot meal in the farm’s wood fire oven. We sat around the table drinking delicious beverages and had an intense game of bocce. During our dinner we talked about Jackie’s favorite question “how did we get to Tom Douglas Restaurants?” Each of our chefs wowed us with their tales ranging from “ET (aka Eric Tanaka) found me on the couch” to “I knew about the restaurants and Tom before I moved to Seattle” It was great to hear how our chefs became who they are now. But then Eric Tanaka asked the question: “[What’s your] most memorable meal?” The following is what each of us had to say:

Brock Johnson (chef at Dahlia Lounge)- it was the first time at Gramercy Tavern.  “Incredible experience.” Brock and his guest opted for a seven course dinner with wine flight paring.  At the pork belly course something amazing happened, the server brought Brock a small pour of Brooklyn Pale beer instead of a wine.  He said that “the beer would work better with the smokiness of the belly than a wine.”  He went on to say that “he saw me drinking beer at the bar while we were waiting for our table and thought I might like it.”  Brock was blown away since he did not bring his beer to the table once they were seated— so it was clear that the server had been scoping them out/sizing them up before they even sat down.  Brock tells us he will never forget that small but significant act of graciousness.  It opened his eyes to how thoughtful service can be and how greatly it can impact a dining experience.

Matt Fortner (chef at Cuoco)- the public market in Valparaiso, Chile. Muchos mariscos (a lot of seafood)

Stacy Fortner (pastry head honcho)- she starts to tell us about her worst memorable meal— a toss-up between a tejon (a fierce badger) or an armadillo both eaten on trips to Mexico. These taste memories are far more memorable and interesting than the 20 course dinner at Per Se that she shared with her husband.

Dezi Bonow (chef at Palace Kitchen)- landing in Hanoi, Vietnam for the first time and after waiting for a few hours at the airport he realizes his friend is not coming to pick him up. Dezi eventually gets sick of waiting and heads into the city with an empty belly and no idea where to eat. He finds a stall in the city center serving vermicelli with cured pork liver or something….he admits he doesn’t know what it was and goes onto say “so memorable that I don’t even remember.” But being in a new city and wandering by himself and open to explore the flavors of the cuisine is something that he remembers the most.

Joe Labatt (chef at Brave Horse Tavern)- Barria de chivo en consommé, tortillas de mano, oregano de Mexico, cebolla, cilantro, mucho chile y 3 Modelo Especiales bien frios. All eaten and drunken at a hole in the wall in Southern California, whose name is a mystery!

Jackie Cross (Owner, Prosser Farm Farmer-in-Chief)- eating at Castello di Ama, Italy after being lost for hours on the road which ends up taking them to a goat trail. Finally after some navigational changes they made it to the winery and ate a perfect chicken spit-roasted in the fireplace with pasta and butter made by the resident grandmother, who did not speak a lick of English. The meal was silent yet memorable.

Dev Patel (Farm Manager and transcriber of these stories)- eating at Coi in San Francisco. The flavors put together dish after dish were harmonious and playful. The restaurant is an exploration, and they are awesome guides. After the “amuse” courses, the server appreciated and acknowledged Dev’s love and interest in the food, so she had the kitchen send out additional courses throughout the meal. Who could refuse an offer to eat more? Coi is an exception in fine dining places—there is that attention to every detail but what sets them apart is they strive to make their service and food feel relaxed and easy to approach— all of these things make a great restaurant, and that is memorable.

Eric Tanaka (Owner, Executive Chef)- Lafayette, Jean George’s first restaurant in the US. He was doing juice reductions and less fat focused items for flavor.

Kerri Eckels (chef badass of Catering)- Steak frites at Le Relais de L’Entrecôte, France. “I wanted to drink the sauce.”  Kerri along with her father, mother, brother and sister drank a ton of red wine and their server was hilarious and chewed gum the entire time. Kerri also points out that “how can we have one memorable meal when we like a lot of different types of food and have been to so many good places? It really all depends on who you’re with or where you are.”

A big thank you to the chefs for your hard work on the farm and for making this Chef Plant so fun and to Jackie and Tom for hosting! 

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About Prosser Farm

In 2006, Tom Douglas and his wife and business partner, Jackie Cross, bought a house with a little acreage in Prosser, Washington, in the lower Yakima Valley. They converted 3 of the 20 acres into a vegetable garden, and the dream of a truly farm to table experience began to take shape.

Each week, we drive the fresh produce 2 ½ hours into Seattle and the chefs eagerly grab beet greens, mint, baby rainbow chard, lolla rossa, radishes, spicy peppers, eggplants, and thousands of pounds of tomatoes right out of the truck! On average, 2,400 pounds of produce a week is trucked in from the farm for distribution to all the Tom Douglas Restaurants. To see what’s coming to our restaurants each week, follow this blog!

Jackie runs the roost as Farmer-in-Chief, with indispensable help from her Dad, Jim, who built all the raised beds, and her Dad’s wife, Sharon who work along a stellar team of women from the Prosser area. The farm is managed by the ever-creative and zealous chef and farmer, Dev Patel. Dev and Jackie work closely with the chefs when choosing which crops to plant each year, adapting the field to produce what works best for each menu.

Prosser Farm represents a commitment to narrowing the gap between the land, its producers, and the restaurants, all the while continuing to educate our chefs about the effort dedicated to creating the best—from seed to table. Let’s eat!

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