Chive: Back to the Rind!

Ahh…there’s nothing like the Chive Sustainable Sunday Suppers. These events get me every time. Working with Chive, I’ve been lucky enough to attend or volunteer at all of these suppers, except one, which they host each season to bring the community together around a common goal: to share delicious local food and drink, raise money for organizations on the North Shore and beyond, and chat about issues relating to food, sustainability, and equality.

It feels like the summer supper just happened, but already the trees at Valley View Farm in Topsfield are turning a rich golden hue, with crunchy leaves falling everywhere and seriously tempting me to jump in a pile of leaves…

This dinner was particularly special. Chive limited ticket sales to 60, so it was a more intimate dinner, and guests were able to reunite with old friends, while meeting new ones. This season, the Chive girls raised money for Valley View Farm to build a cheese cave – the only in the area – to help the farm store and age their goat cheese, and partner with other local cheese producers. It was really special to be at the farm we were benefiting, and I love the idea of raising money specifically for a farm. Farming – the right way, which is what they do at Valley View – is a really noble profession and deserves the recognition and respect that this dinner allowed.As always, the food was incredible, and the conversation warm, interesting, and funny. The hors d’oeuvres centered around the farm’s goat cheese, from any herbed or spiced chevre you could think of, to a “honeycomb” of chevre with roasted garlic, lavender, and local honey, and even some aged, hard goat cheese with fruit. The “three course” dinner was deliciously much more: between hors d’oeuvres, homemade pretzels, palate cleansers, and two desserts, it was more like 8 courses, with wine and beer from the Ipswich Ale beer truck. The dinner focused on fresh veggies and a pig raised by the Valley View farmers, Liz and Peter. So so good!!! And of course dessert was insanely good: rustic apple crostata with Berkshire brown sugar bourbon glaze (I had two), and rich Taza chocolate tart with sea salt (and two of these!) Holy indulgence.

Besides being such a fun party for the community to attend, these events are really great for staff, too. We have more time to talk to friends in the Chive community and enjoy the food, atmosphere, and conversation. In between serving courses, we were able to spread out and sit amongst guests and enjoy dinner side by side. Just perfect. It’s a bit early to be saying this, but that is exactly how I envision my ideal Thanksgiving to be.I have a thing for goats. I think they’re hilariously cute, curious creatures and I have a strange desire to hug them, or just play with them like you would a dog. I don’t know…but when they turn their head to the side and look at you inquisitively with their funky little alien eyes, my heart melts a little. And when the goat kids laugh and giggle – I know you know what I’m talking about – I lose it. These goats are such loving, happy little guys, who all came out of the barn to greet me when I stopped by.

How can you not help but fall in love with those faces?!Sights, smells, and sounds of autumn. I wish I had a photo of this, but Julia, one of the Chive owners, stood on the hill overlooking the party. Looking to the field across the street, she watched in amazement a beautiful white stallion gallop across the field, just as the lighting reached that perfect, brighten golden hue right before setting. The horse stopped and swayed its tail in the light wind for a moment before continuing on. All in a day that started out cold, damp, and grey. Must be some good juju around Chive and its friends!

To check out more of my photos from this supper, visit my flikr page!

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