Taylor Morgan

Gorgeous Field-to-Vase Dinner Celebrates Local Flowers, Food, and Farmers

A few years ago, while procrastinating on Pinterest, I came across an image of a woman standing on a tractor with flowers nearly engulfing her. Below there was a comment that read, “Someday I will have a picnic in a field of flowers. Then I will watch the sun set.” I mentally affirmed this stranger’s wish as it simultaneously became my own– and recently, this dream became my reality when I attended the Field to Vase Dinner at the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

Field to Vase is a pop-up dinner series organized by American Grown Flowers, which is hosted at farms across the U.S. A seasonal, local, and sustainable farm-to-fork dinner is served as bouquets of locally-grown flowers also have their moment in the spotlight, lining the center of the table. Before attendees claimed their seats, at the dinner I attended in Carlsbad, Flower Duet lead a floral demonstration. Soon, the experts transformed gerbera daisy, kangaroo flower, spray roses, leafy ruscus, and protea into a plush bouquet.

With wood chips beneath my feet and the vibration of laughter navigating in my ears, I ran to the DIY flower crown station. I designed a floral necklace, simply because I’m an apprentice to the crown, and to my surprise I snagged a cup of Good Land Organics coffee while saying hello to Jay Ruskey (an old GC pal).

Afterwards, I took my seat and began to devour Opah belly bacon lettuce and tomato sliders with sriracha aioli; smoked Carlsbad mussel crostini with heirloom tomato marmalade; burrata and micro basil; and avocado and sweet pea gazpacho with micro watercress. Chef Jeff Rossman of Terra Catering kept the dishes coming as the sun began to set over the Pacific Ocean before us…venus clam chowder with uni, burdock root, and smoked marble potatoes; Dukkah crusted local fish with preserved lemon; fennel orzo, brown butter, navel orange, and green garlic dust were among the sensuous delights.

Bonnie Jo Manion, co-author of Gardening with Free-Range Chickens for Dummies, sat to my left and was dazzled by the experience even as a second-year attendee. Soon, Mike Mellano of Mellano & Company grabbed the microphone to share his passion for sustainable farming, and the evening meandered towards dessert (a roasted strawberry tart with house-made ricotta-thyme cream and white balsamic syrup). At the end of the evening, over 100 attendees dispersed, bidding farewell to the rolling sea of ranunculus brought to their attention by American Flower Growers.

You, too, can watch the sun set in a field of flowers. Visit the event website to find out about upcoming Field to Vase happenings near you.

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