It’s been a few years, but we are excited to return to Mineral Springs Ranch—the scenic home of Soter Vineyards. Tony Soter made a name for himself making wine in Napa, but now produces a range of impressive Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and sparkling wines in the PNW. We’ll have the run of the place when we set the table on our own bucolic hilltop set amongst the vines, which happens to come with one of the most gorgeous views in Oregon. We’ll also enjoy a feast from Heather Kintler of Portland’s Normandie, who will share with us her deep love of Pacific Coast cuisine to pair with Soter Vineyard’s wines.
We’re continuing a longtime love story, setting our table for the tenth time at Monteillet Fromagerie in Dayton, Washington—just down the way from the famed Walla Walla wine country. Peirre-Louis was born and raised in the legendary birthplace of Roquefort cheese: Millau, France. Meanwhile, Joan grew up in Walla Walla as a third generation farmer’s daughter. The two met dancing in the Zocaló Plaza in Mexico City and reunited after Pierre-Louis hitchhiked for three days to start their love affair, which continues today at their farm. Joan and Pierre-Louis raise 50 French Alpine goats and 50 sheep on 32 acres, where they produce French-style cheese focused on the terroir of eastern Washington. They have deep ties in the Walla Walla culinary community, so we’ve created a tradition in which we present a new chef each season. Jose Mesa from TMACS will make his debut in the field kitchen, utilizing the bounty of Washington wine country in midsummer.
Lopez Island is a particularly beautiful place, not only because of the breathtaking ocean views along the craggy coastline or the grasslands stretching to gnarled forests on the horizon; the island’s people add to its unique beauty, earning it the name “Friendly Isle”. Flint Beach Ohana Farms is no exception, so we squeeze our trucks and trailers onto the ferry to get out there whenever we can. Sally and Tom Reeve grow pasture-raised Romney sheep and free-range chickens with a view of famous Iceberg Point. The farm’s flowers should be in full bloom as they walk us through their gardens to the table on a bluff overlooking the water, where Josh Ratza will be putting finishing touches on our dinner. At Setsunai Noodle Bar, Josh artfully blends Japanese influences with his passion for the Lopez Island agricultural community, featuring whatever is best in season. We know he’ll delight in cooking right at the source of the ingredients for the meal we’ll share.
Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center grows organic vegetables, herbs and flowers on 12 of their 240 acres along the Snoqualmie River. The rest they leave as forestland for ecological restoration projects and agricultural research. What they grow they source to local groceries, restaurants, hunger relief agencies and schools—in addition to their vibrant farmstand and CSA. This is a supremely inspiring place, and we are thrilled to return to celebrate their work. We’re also thrilled to invite Victor Steinbrueck back to the field kitchen after cooking one of our crew’s favorite meals last summer. Victor’s family is deeply connected to Seattle – his grandfather (and namesake) is known for fighting to save Pike’s Place Market over 50 years ago. Now, Victor credits the market with giving him a passion for seafood, which he shows off through his locally-focused cuisine at Local Tide.
One night at this inspiring farm simply isn’t enough, so we are sticking around for a second day. Last year, a sprinkle of rain led us to set the table under their romantic pergola. This year we may end up under twining vines, on the beautiful green lawn alongside the treeline, or tucked into their vibrant rows of summer vegetables. We’ll have to see what each day calls for. Either way, we’ll have Mutsuko Soma to delight us with her Japanese cooking in the field kitchen. This may be her first time cooking with us, but this master chef has plenty of accolades already, including the title of “Seattle’s Soba Master” and a spot on the James Beard “Best Chef: Northwest” short list for 2023.
Our good friend and famed Seattle farmer Georgie Smith from Willowood Farm recommended we visit her neighbors on Whidbey Island this year. Alix and Brandon Roos recently took over this historic property, making Alix the fifth generation (and her daughter Zayne the sixth) to farm this land. They’re best known locally for their winter squash and fall pumpkin patch, but we think the views of Ebey’s Landing are worth the visit any season—not to mention their wealth of beautiful summer produce that will be hitting its peak. Georgie will be in attendance, of course, ready to reunite old friends and introduce new ones too.
This will be our 9th year setting the table in the gorgeous golden grasslands at Monteillet Fromagerie. Farmers and cheesemakers Pierre Louis and Joan are longtime friends of OITF and our farm dinner tour wouldn’t be the same without them. Joan grew up on her family wheat farm in Eastern Washington and Pierre Louis was raised near Roquefort, France. The pair met and fell in love while they were both traveling in Mexico and Pierre Louis hitchhiked to Walla Walla all the way from El Paso Texas to surprise Joan after the trip. As they say, the rest was history. Now they raise 50 goats and 50 sheep on their beautiful 32-acre farmstead in Dayton and make many delectable sheep and goat cheeses in their on-site fromagerie. We’ll get a tour of their impressive cheesemaking operation before we sit down to our meal in the field. Guest chef Maximillian Petty of Kinglet will bring a playful style to our four-course meal, featuring a sampling of Pierre Louis and Joan’s artisanal cheeses and perfectly paired Walla Walla wines.
When you have the chance to slurp on wildly delicious oysters along the sparkling Puget Sound, it’s good to stay a second night. Oyster farming is an absolute labor of love, and Taylor Shellfish has been growing some of the West Coast’s best since 1890. At the table, we’ll get to learn all about the oyster farming process from the Taylor family themselves, all while slurping on oysters, quaffing Washington wines, and feasting on a meal by guest chef Victor Steinbrueck. Victor was born in Seattle and Local Tide is his ode to the Pacific Northwest. The restaurant’s menu features a bounty of locally grown produce and sustainably caught PNW fish and shellfish in the form of rockfish banh mis, hand-cracked Dungeness crab rolls, cured salmon sandwiches and many more delicious things. Just about the perfect match for our meal amongst the oyster beds.
This stunning orchard on the famed Hood River Fruit Loop is a seriously breathtaking venue for an open-air meal. From the table, you’ll get spectacular views of Mt. Hood, the sparkling Columbia River, and rolling hills dotted with evergreens and wildflowers. Not to mention the lingering scent of ripening apples and pears and a particularly gorgeous sunset. We first came to Pear Ridge last year after an introduction from Jim’s brother Bill — an organic pioneer who’s consulted with orchardists around the world including our host Jason Mann. Guest chef Ryley Eckersley has worked in countless restaurants around the world, from New York to London to Belize to Barcelona, before joining the team at Quaintrelle. Since settling in Portland, he’s made close connections with the region’s plethora of local farms and producers, which inspire his inventive seasonal menus at Quaintrelle. We first worked with Ryley last year at Ayers Creek — and we are thrilled to have him back in the field kitchen for our meal between the trees.
The very old Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines at Cooper Mountain were planted by Dr. Bob Gross and his wife Corinne back in 1978. At first, the family sold grapes from the Old Vines Vineyard to other wineries. They began making their own Cooper Mountain wines in 1987 and were early adopters of organic and biodynamic farming practices, earning certificates from Oregon Tilth and Demeter. Today the family farms five estate vineyards and daughter Barbara is at the helm. We’ll gather at the long table to dine in the splendor of the Willamette Valley and savor wines that reflect the family’s deep commitment to the soil. Meanwhile, guest chef Heather Kintler will craft the evening’s meal in the field kitchen. Before opening Normandie, Heather spent 16 years as Executive Sous Chef at The Veritable Quandary (or VQ), one of Portland’s oldest and most beloved restaurants. She also spent time as Sous Chef & Co-Farm Manager at Side Yard Farm & Kitchen, where she developed an even deeper appreciation for thoughtfully grown produce and root-to-stem vegetable cooking. Normandie is a seafood-centric bistro that celebrates the abundance of the PNW — combining simple ingredients with bold flavors and elevated techniques. We can’t wait to see what she cooks up between the vines for us.