Happy first day of fall—my favorite time of the year!
This September, we hosted a Fall Harvest Moon Dinner Party at our home, Blue Moon Farms. It was a beautiful late summer evening where the vibrant colors of the sky with the full moon glowing above ensured it would be a magical night. The event was a charity benefit to raise funds for our local school district, and began with a garden tour and cocktails before dinner.
We all gathered at The Organic Gardener, where Jeanne and Verd Nolan gave us a VIP tour of their gorgeous garden and farm. Delectable hors d’oeuvres made by our cohosts Margaret and Adelbert Spaan were served to start off our culinary journey: everyone loved the chilled avocado soup, and gravlax adorned with eggs fresh from their chicken coop on Jim’s homemade sourdough bread. The “servers” were all the hosts’ kids! Tomatoes that were harvested just before guests arrived were a special treat for all.
If you want to know more about Jeanne Nolan’s amazing story from working on a communal farm to her journey of growing food organically for over 30 years, you can buy her book here.
The group then travelled down the road to Blue Moon Farms, where we served a generous charcuterie from Publican Quality Meats (and more of Jim’s sourdough!) in our barn. Guests mingled with the horses, Charlie and Jackie, while sipping wine and watching the sun begin to set on summer.
Next up was a butchering demo by Rob Levitt, the Chef de Cuisine and Head Butcher of Publican Quality Meats. Alongside the butchering demo, our dinner was being roasted, a pig from Slagel Family Farms, a small fifth generation family farm in Central Illinois that focuses on quality over mass production.
As the full moon rose above, we all sat down to a horseshoe shaped table in the courtyard. The table wrapped around the cozy firepit as evenings in September have been chilly in the Midwest! Under a canopy of Napa lights, the table was aglow with candles, and bountiful with seasonal gourds and decor from local nursery Chalet. Everyone enjoyed the pig roast accompanied by just harvested grilled vegetables and roasted potatoes from The Organic Gardener, who also donated the wine from their family vineyard in Sonoma.
The place cards doubled as “full moon intention” cards—each guest wrote down something they want to release on one side of the card and something they want to invoke on the other side. The cards were then placed back in the envelopes and burned (in a cast iron Challenger Bread Pan of course!) to spark the intention under the light of the full moon.
With such a feast it was hard to save room for dessert…but check out this pie bar! It was easy to squeeze in a piece (or two) of these pies from Sweet Mandy B’s, Floriole, and First Slice. Many thanks to our other cohosts Cecilia and John Hagist for all their research into “Chicago’s best pies”—a tough job but someone had to do it! They also created this lovely harvest inspired display that was bursting with yummy seasonal treats!
While everyone left satiated and feeling inspired by the energy of the full moon, they didn’t leave empty handed! Our friends at Orglamix created individual bottles of “Moon Water Sleep Elixir” for guests to spray on their pillow cases before they went to sleep… a little extra insurance their wishes would come true! Each guest also took home a Blue Moon Farms glow in the dark moon stress ball, and The Organic Gardener provided each couple with a bottle of wine from their families’ vineyard in Sonoma County.
Thank you to all those who hosted and donated, it was an evening to remember!