Spring is a thriving time on a farm - the days are getting longer, the sun is starting to shine, buds are beginning to sprout, and the chickens (or ducks) are laying almost every night. Our visit to Sea Breeze Farm happened during this ideal time and George Page (Owner/Farmer) and Rose Allred (Marketing Director/Butcher) were kind enough to show us around.
We first met Rose at La Boucherie, their charming farm-to-table restaurant located in Vashon Village. Rose showed us their new walk-in cold storage, where they age and store their meat. We then helped unload more than a dozen crates of duck eggs, which will eventually make their way to the market or restaurant plates. Chris Koerber, Head Chef, was busy cooking what would be our dinner in a few hours. Koerber also crafts the ever-changing seasonal restaurant menu inspired by French cuisine. It was here at the restaurant where Sea Breeze experienced a fire a little over a year ago that destroyed their smoker and walk-in storage, resulting in $50,000 worth of damage. The Neighborhood Farmers Markets were able to provide them with $3,000 through our Good Farmer Fund to help offset some of the damage. They also received help from private donations and other investors and now sell at 4 different farmers markets every week.
Sea Breeze Farm utilizes multiple land plots around Vashon Island to ensure their animals receive a constant supply of fresh pasture. However, in order to get the full 'Farm Experience Dinner' this evening, all of their cows, pigs, sheep, ducks, and chickens were at their farm house located on the North end of the island. As we made our way onto the farm, George explained how he selects different animal breeds for specific traits. He then asked the guests to begin herding the cows in for milking. After George demonstrated the proper milking technique, guests were invited to try for themselves on Chocolate Soup - a 14 year old Jersey cow who has been a farm favorite for years. Those lucky enough to milk a few ounces got to try a taste of this warm, creamy, flavorful milk that was simply delightful.
We continued on to see the rest of the farm, which included pigs, chickens, baby ducklings, and sheep, as well as a wine cellar and cheese aging room in the basement of the farmhouse. George described his role on the farm as being a "shepherd of organisms" which might explain why they are able to do so many diverse things so well.
After the tour, we made our way into the beautiful farm house where the sunset and warm light filtering through the windows made everything glow. The other 12 guests, George, Rose and ourselves sat around a long cedar table, where we were greeted again by the Head Chef and Head Butcher. This decadent 8 course meal and wine pairing started out with duck liver mousse, and continued with asparagus soup, beef tartare, golden beet salad, duck egg tagliatelle, pork belly with polenta and corona beans, pan-roasted duck breast and finished with a chocolate pave with spring cherries and freshly whipped cream.
There is no doubt that farm life is incredibly hard work - but this impeccable meal and experience left us feeling ripe with rewards. Knowing where your food comes from and about all of the hard work that went into it makes you feel that much more grateful for the land, the environment and the people doing the hard work.
For more information about Sea Breeze Farm or to make reservations for one of their Farm Experience Dinners - visit their website