It’s been a wee bit like Groundhog Day here at The Good Earth as we move from one great event to another. Just this evening as Patrick and I bid each other adieu he uttered the ridiculous phrase, “Have a great weekend. See you tomorrow!” It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Our weekends this summer at The Good Earth really only amount to a few solid hours of sleep until the next day of activity. We’re not complaining! It’s great having what we do so well received!!
This weekend started off as most this summer with a cooking class lead by our Pit Boss Mike McColl. This past Saturday we hosted Smoke Signals. Our guests at the winery had the added sensory pleasure of smelling all those aromatic woods we were burning in our smoker, on our grill and in our fire pit. I was particularly popular with my pets when I came in.
Immediately after our class, Mike and I switched into “cookbook launch” mode as we joined our fellow Food Alchemists Patrick, Isa and Amanda as we prepared to unveil The Good Book. We are proud as punch of our first self-published collection of recipes. It’s a beautiful book, complete with excellent photography by our own Pit Boss. Mike is a very accomplished food photographer — a regular Bruce Weber of the food photography world. He has been behind the lens of many of Ted Reader’s grilling cookbooks. Later this year, his work will be featured again in our very own Lori Elstone’s cookbook published by Whitecap. Many of you will remember Lori’s tenure at The Good Earth as our “Jill of all Trades”. But I digress. We’ll talk about her book later.
Jennifer Elliotson, (known as “Flower Girl” in my world) of Vintage Design Company created the most spectacular arrangements combining flowers with garden fruits and vegetables! The flowers were the subject of many “oohs” and “ahs” throughout the weekend. In fact I could have paid off my winery had I charged everyone for taking pictures of the flowers!! Our favourite “resident” photographer Nataschia captured the arrangements for posterity.
Chef Patrick stoked the pizza oven and Isa stirred the grits. I grilled the shrimp and Pit Boss Mike made his wine planked bruschetta. As more “earthlings” than we expected arrived, we let The Good Wine flow and feverishly tried to feed the masses. It was a great evening for us all. I am so proud of what this spectacular team of mine created. The recipes are awesome and work (having been tested by average day to day “earthlings”)! Our dear friends Chris Alderson and Krista Capes of Alderson and Company did an absolutely amazing design job. We are all bursting with pride! The team happily signed autographs and revelled in the limelight for a moment. It was a wee bit like being a Hollywood star… All the food was consumed and books flew off the shelf. We picked up the remnants of the day and dragged ourselves home…”Have a great weekend…see you tomorrow!”
Off to bed and…we started all over again. This time we were hosting our annual Seafood Supper. The menu was amazing as always starting off with killer oysters…we’ll almost killer as our Chef Patrick managed to lose a battle with a particularly gnarly west coast oyster. Luckily one of our regulars, Judy Acheson had popped in. She is a good old-fashioned no nonsense nurse. She examined Patrick’s wound and pronounced him “good to continue”. Fifty eager souls descended on the back lawn of the winery as the sun began to set. Dish after dish disappeared into to happy tummies. This year we could chase all that yummy food with equally yummy wine…The Good Wine of course. The final surrender was to the upside down peach cake with blueberry sauce and chantilly cream! My mother, a non dessert type actually told me that it was unbelievably delicious! As the darkness of a perfect summer night descended, our guests scattered to their respective beds. My incredible team of Krista, Anna, Loni and Amanda kept going, cleaning up everything in preparation of the next day’s event…”Have a great weekend…see you tomorrow!”
Today a weary but still smiling crew of Chef Patrick, Pit Boss Mike, Chef Isa (at her final event), our ever gracious Amanda and the smiling threesome of Anna, Krista and Loni, our Tastebud Temptresses helped Annette set up the bocce courts for our first annual “Baby Mortadella” Bocce Tournament! Annette (who some of you will know from our winery retail store) organized the teams and provided all the balls. Patrick had the requisite leather belt for measuring the distance of the balls from the “paolino” and some very keen contestants arrived. We started the tourney with a glass of wine …out of a traditional juice style bicchiere, and a plate of food. You can’t play bocce on an empty stomach. There was very stiff and serious competition as newcomers to the game Lori and Peter knocked out team after team of more seasoned opponents. An audible hush came over the crowd as none other than our beloved Chef “Frac” — Roberto Fracchioni arrived to participate in the tournament with the beautiful Janine on his arm and his Versace bocce balls slung over his shoulder. In the end, Smithville locals Rob Rapiti and Jen Hart took the trophy in a very spirited final match against newcomers Lori and Peter Gibson. It was quickly decided that bocce is to be adopted as the official game of The Good Earth!
Plans are already in the works for an autumn bocce round robin! As the clouds moved in and a few drops of rain began to fall, the weary team at The Good Earth put everything away again and shuffled off home…”Have a great weekend…see you tomorrow!
And on it goes…Chef Patrick will be cooking on CH Morning Live sharing the deconstructed BLT recipe from The Good Book. Krista will be back in the garden to weed and make certain that all is pretty and flourishing. Our Tastebud Temptresses Anna and Loni will be setting up the patio to great hungry guests and…”Have a great weekend…see you tomorrow!”
It may be a bit like Groundhog Day but with a dedicated and enthusiastic team like the one we have at The Good Earth, we keep smiling, working and laughing as we spread the news about all that is good at The Good Earth. I’m off to bed now. My weekend ends in eight hours…