Virginia Local Flower Barn Dinner: Hope Flower Farm: Grown and Designed by Holly Chapple
If I had to pick a favorite activity, it would be dining outdoors. And if this isn't dining outdoors with flair I don't know what is. We headed over to Holly Chapple's flower farm (Hope) for a huge dinner she was hosting to bring attention to flowers that are US grown. You guys know from our many projects with Holly, she's a floral designer, but she also grows flowers. What Loudoun County, Virginia produces gives her pieces a really special look that's hard to reproduce and respects the seasonality of our region. Now the nice thing about American flower farms is because of the diversity of weather, you CAN get peonies in October from Alaska. Or ferns from Florida. Teamwork. Just like seasonality of food.
Holly and her team decorated the barn for 125 people, a second barn for a band and cocktail party and brought in the chef from a local restaurant team to cook Virginia heritage meats. Also: local Virginia wine and cocktails (yep we even have a cocktail distillery called Catoctin Creek that has won several awards). If you're ever looking for event space, you can actually rent out the farm by the way!
If you ever see an outdoor dinner series pop up near you, look into it and consider supporting local food and agriculture...but do your research. While this event was great, many are not. These days it seems like everyone does a supper club or pop up dinner, so I'm sure there are some nearby. Look at the collaborators for the event to see if it's worth your money (tickets to these types of events are pricy- in this region $125-175 is normal). I say this because last year we went to a dinner hosted in a goat barn where the chef made the most unbalanced menu I have ever eaten in the middle of hot, humid, Virginia June that was all fatty foods and a ton of protein (oysters, pork skin noodles with an egg yolk....rabbit...I honestly don't remember seeing any fruits or vegetables or anything acidic to cut through the menu). And on top of the expensive ticket price, once you were on=site the coordinator had everyone pay an additional unannounced $25 per person as a service fee (come on).
Side note: this might be the most Carlene picture ever. Two drinks, a cell phone...I'm just missing a cat.
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