Dining For Willowood A Benefit for Willowood Farm - By David Stern

The chef community in the Northwest is very tight knit, and as it turns out Georgie Smith is a big reason for that. Helping connect the top chefs in Seattle with farm fresh produce is just the beginning. Her personality, knowledge, and willingness to work harder than just about anyone else endears her to chefs with similar attributes. But it is the story behind Willowood Farm that connects all of her purchasers and the diners who eat at the restaurants that do business with Georgie. Now, when Georgie needs help, this group of chefs is there for her.

Owners of Roaming Radish, Jess and JP Dowdell
An incredible collaboration in the name of helping Farmer Georgie
Jonathan Sundstrom of Lark putting the finishing touches on his dish
Fresh ricotta being plated ready for prosciutto from Upper Left Catering
Warm Willowood Parsnip & Celery Root Soup Shooter, Urfa Chili & Fennel Oil

Roaming Radish has an absolutely beautiful space where we gathered on April 1st to enjoy a family style dinner prepared by some of the regions best chefs. Willowood produce was highlighted in dishes such as a shaved Willowood black radish & smoked black cod roulade, with horseradish chantilly. There was also a dish of grilled alder springs rabbit, creamy young leeks, Richter Family rhubarb, yellowfoot chanterelles, and fresh thyme made by Chef Roy Breiman. This writers favorite dish was an octopus salad created by Chef Sieb Jurrians, owner of Prima Bistro in Langley, WA.

Chef Jurrians of Prima Bistro prepared grilled wild spanish octopus, chermoula, oil cured olives, belgian endive, cilantro, fleur de sel.
"I sold you Rockwell Beans out of the trunk of my car!" -Farmer Georgie
Nothing but admiration from these chefs towards Farmer Georgie
Packed tables enjoying dinner for a good cause
Upper Left Catering presented their house made prosciutto, ricotta, basil pesto, pickled sweet peppers, miners lettuce, and a rye crisp.
Taylor shellfish clams and Penn Cove Mussels, Creole Rice, Maple Brined Pork Belly, Willowood farms Salsify, Green Onion, and Shaved Radish by Chef JP of Roaming Radish
Chef Jonathon Sundstrom of Lark's Buckwheat polenta dumpling, wild mushrooms, pork bolognese, with agrodolce onions
The beer and wine was flowing

In addition to the dishes prepared by these chefs, each of them also spoke for a moment about their connection to Georgie and there was a common thread between them all. Georgie has the highest quality produce available when other farmers don't. She goes above and beyond to make her buyers happy.

Vincent Nattress (owner of Orchard Kitchen) introducing Georgie Smith
Farmer Georgie Smith. The guest of honor.

It was within hours that the news of the barn fire reached Seattle and chefs began planning meals to benefit Georgie and her family as they rebuild. Jon-Paul Dowdell of Roaming Radish and Roy Breiman from Coastal Hotels spearheaded the Roaming Radish event and spoke so highly of Georgie.

Raspberry blueberry cheesecake lollipops, lemon zeppoles, and vanilla cremeux with citrus vanilla compote. By Bruno Feldeisen of Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine.
Berry Cheescake Pops
A sweet end to a great night

The final tally was $11,000 raised for Willowood Farm on top of the approximately $75,000 that has already been raised since the fire. While the rubble of the barn still remains on site, plans are starting to come together to make sure the cleanup is done safely, but also in a very respectful way. Plans for artists to use salvaged pieces of the barn are in the works and there will be a memorial service for the barn sometime this summer. In the meantime, Georgie and her crew are working hard to get back on their planting schedule and helping make sure Willowood Farm continues to not only operate, but thrive.

Willowood crew Madisun and Melony enjoying the party.
The Smith Family. Charles Arndt, Renee Smith, Bill Smith, and Georgie Smith (left to right)
Georgie and her partner Charles Arndt

Upcoming events to benefit Willowood Farm include:

June 11th at Sherman's Pioneer Farm - Join the community at this tasting event featuring some of the regions best chefs.

July 11 & 12 at Willowood Farm - Outstanding in the Field will once again be hosting a dinner at their massive table. All the proceeds from this event benefit Willowood.

A very special thank you to all the individuals and businesses who supported this event. Roaming Radish, Jess and JP Dowdell, Jeff Boyer & Uncorked, Whidbey Island Winery, Finn River Farm & Cidery, Spoiled Dog Winery, Cedarbrook Lodge, Bill Vingelen, Oyster Bill Whitbeck - Taylor Shellfish, Chef Vincent Nattress - Orchard Kitchen, Chef Shane Ryan - Upper Left Catering, Chef Sieb Jurrians - Prima Bistro, Chef Jon-Paul Dowdell - Roaming Radish, Chef Jonathon Sundstrom - Lark, Chef Roy Breiman - Culinary Director of Coastal Hotels, Chef Mark Bodinet & Chef Kevin Benner - Copperleaf Restaurant, Bruno Feldeisen - Semiahmoo Resort.

To learn about upcoming culinary events that benefit Willowood Farm, sign up for their newsletter.

Copyright 2017. David Stern. Whidbey Custom Photography. All Rights Reserved.

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