Fresh Food Featured at Farmers Dinners

Farmers and chefs achieve a delicious collaboration in Southern California.

| March/April 2009

  • Fresh heirloom tomatoes
    SideCar Restaurant takes fresh vegetables from farmers and farmers' markets and uses them in seasonal recipes.

  • Fresh heirloom tomatoes

“I bit into a Babcock peach. It dripped all over me and the delicious flavor kicked off memories,” says SideCar Restaurant (Ventura, California) Chef Tim Kilcoyne of a recent farm visit. “I remember, when I was really little, sneaking out and taking apples off the tree or peaches or pomegranates, and how wonderful they tasted.

“I want to give everyone else that same flavor experience,” he says. “That’s why I buy directly from farmers.”

In 2007, Tim took his fresh food passion one step further using a model that many eateries use to honor select wineries. Tim’s so-called farmer’s dinners would be similar to a wine maker’s dinner in which a winery is honored and the dinner courses are paired with the guest wines. For his restaurant, Tim suggested dinners honoring popular farms instead.

Fresh food showcase

Tim’s farmer’s dinners began in February 2008 and continue monthly, except for the holiday months of November and December. The events feature a favorite local farm and highlight the farm’s produce at its peak. In January, it’s blood oranges, February/March tangerines, and so on.

In May, SideCar’s menu honored Oxnard’s Tamai Family Farms with fresh menu selections from the fourth-generation operation’s 35 acres. Tim met the Tamai family while searching for produce at Santa Monica’s well known Farmers’ Market. They have been in a food-borne partnership for years.

Guests at this particular SideCar’s farmer’s dinner ate in the historic 1910 Pullman dining car turned restaurant, while listening to Daisy Tamai’s stories about the family, farmers’ markets and the farm.

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