When I arrive at Enright Cattle Company‘s property, I am greeted by Kara and Darold Enright’s 9-year-old son, Corben, “If you’d like to head over to those three ladies, they will help you get ready for a tour,” he instructs politely with a smile. This is farm life. Everyone, no matter how young, plays a role in the magic that happens here.
I am arriving with friends for the Crop Circle dinner event. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a dinner hosted in a crop circle on the farm. After a tour of the farm, an explanation of how the cattle is raised, a glimpse (and feel) of their leather bags made from their hide (in an effort to not waste any of the animal), we are escorted through the tunnels of corn and met with boards of charcuterie featuring the classic Enright summer sausage and bresola (marinated in red wine) on our way. Once we turn the final corner the beautiful dinner setting is unveiled, long tables dressed with fresh flowers, hay bales covered in handmade quilts for seating. It’s the perfect farm dinner setting.
This event is special for a number of reasons, it’s a chance to showcase the beautiful ingredients, grown and raised ethically and locally. It’s an opportunity for the Enrights to feature not only their incredible food product but also the leather bags they have handmade and by a Canadian designer. They also make an effort to highlight local businesses like Fête Beach, a linen wear company (leather and linen, great match), Kingston’s favourite Mackinnon Brothers Brewing Company and Huff Estates Winery from the county. I would say the stars of the evening – besides the Enrights, of course – were the chefs who prepared an amazing, locally sourced meal on open fire right in front of us while we watched a fashion show (styled by Jesse Louise of ClosettCandyy). Francois and Will of Bayview Farm, Clarke Day’s restaurant (another family-owned business). They were enthusiastically firing up rib eyes and plating an amazing meal while engaging all of the guests with their charm.
Francois has been with Clarke since the beginning of Bayview Farm, three years ago, and remembers choosing Enright from the start. Francois shares, “We drove up to Tweed to go see the farm. We were looking to carry some of the product. We saw the farm, we saw the cattle and we saw the process by which it was being raised and it was very ethical. And they have amazing product. The filet mignon has been one of the best dishes since the beginning and people want to give us credit. And I’ll take it. But at the end of the day it’s the ingredients that make the difference. And you witnessed that on the weekend.”
Will makes a great observation that explains what makes having dinner right at the farm our local restaurants by their product from so appealing. “As chefs, it’s been very hand in hand with what we do. It’s always been that we want to know where our food comes from and that we go right to the farms. But now we see that the customers also want to do the same thing. It’s become a big movement not only amongst chefs but in society.” And the Enright’s are feeding the local consumer’s curiosity by literally inviting us to their home.
Will adds of the initial Crop Circle Dinner planning, “Kara [Enright] sat down with us and talked about her vision and we were like, ‘yeah, this sounds like this is us. We are a farm, you’re a farm. This sounds like us.’”Adding, “It was about sitting down with Kara and finding out what she wanted. It wasn’t anything crazy fancy. It was meant to be like, ‘Hey you’re coming out to the farm. Let’s have a farm dinner and that’s what it was. It really came down to the quality of the farming. We wanted it to be about her and celebrating what the family has done.”
And that’s exactly what it was. A celebration of family and community. It made me proud to live in a community that celebrates this quality of food – cattle that is ethically raised, produce that is grown locally and family-run businesses that are passionate about what they do.
If you’re in the Kingston area, make a reservation at Bayview Farm and pay a visit to the young chefs, Francois and Will, they’d love to see you!