Pearle Hospitality's Earth to Table: The Farm in Flamborough (just outside of Hamilton) was alive with mirth and merriment on Friday, October 20th. Playing host to the first of many in a farm dinner series, Pearle's inaugural Fall Frolic had special reason to celebrate ~ namely the company's first-ever harvest! With freshness and seasonality at the forefront of Pearle's food philosophy, planting the very crops that would be utilized at each of its restaurants was a logical next step. So too was implementing an agricultural education centre on site.
The evening's festivities kicked off with an incredible outdoor cocktail and canapé hour in the theme of The Butcher, The Baker and The Farmer. Set against a breathtaking backdrop of The Farm's acreage, guests were treated to chef-manned food stations and custom beverage tastings. Live acoustic music rode a mild evening breeze as squash soup shooters, vegetable tempura and roast Craft Cut meats were devoured by guests. West Avenue Cider and Inniskillin Wines were on hand to ensure thirsts were quenched, and Wellington Brewery's Beet Beer was certainly a topic of discussion. Using the very beets grown and harvested at The Farm, the uniquely-hued saison spoke to Pearle's mission to collaborate with local vendors.
Inside the restored barn, ambience was set by Fresh Look Designs, who showcased a perfect balance of rustic charm, whimsy and elegance. Ancaster Mill's Chef Moto and his team prepared a five-course meal that would not soon be forgotten. Complete with tailored wine pairings, each course showcased obvious respect for quality ingredients and was proudly served by a member of Pearle's management team. Happiness resonated through the barn as Fall Frolic guests mingled, laughed and offered congratulatory toasts. Bread Bar Owner Jeff Crump recalled in his speech the day Pearle Hospitality's President Aaron Ciancone approached him with an idea. “I was in the middle of scrubbing potatoes,” he told the room, “and Aaron said, 'I think I want to buy a farm!'” A smiling Ciancone admitted, “It's been more work than I could have imagined, and this season had some trials and tribulations.” But perseverance, he maintained, is what ultimately yielded an incredible bounty and created a community.
Fall Frolic was also hugely important to Pearle Hospitality, as the proceeds raised from the evening were in support of YMCA's Beyond the Bell. A program directed at providing hands-on holistic opportunities to children, Beyond the Bell partnered with Pearle to teach them the importance of farming and nutrition. This direct involvement, according to Bread Bar Co-Owner Bettina Schormann, addresses “that complete disconnect that your food is grown. It comes from the earth, it's made with...people and water and sunshine and soil, not a pre-display at the grocery store.” Dozens of kids who visited The Farm in the spring to plant peppers, onions and tomatoes eagerly returned in October to harvest their crops and turn them into delicious pizzas. To watch a video on the experience, click here.
Once a dessert of harvest pies, tarts and Ontario cheese was consumed, it was time to dance to the live musical stylings of 586 Trio! Clad in plaid, fringe, silk overalls, frilly blouses, skirts with crinolines, cowboy hats and even sheriff badges, guests proved they could use their imaginations by keeping with a farm chic dress code. Boots made for stompin' soon found their way to the dance floor and hours of line-dancing, two-stepping fun was had by all! In the true spirit of a harvest worth celebrating, guests were sent home with jarred preserves, jams and spreads to put under their pillows.
Join us at our next harvest gathering for even more fun, food and dancing!