The Ecology Center’s Spring 2023 Community Table Dinners
The Ecology Center, a 28-acre Regenerative Organic Certified™ farm and education center located in San Juan Capistrano, is pleased to present a full schedule of Community Table dinners for the Spring 2023 season.
Every Friday from March through May, guests will be able to enjoy a multicourse dinner under the stars featuring a rotating roster of renowned guest chefs who will design an ecological meal utilizing ingredients from the farm cooked over fire for an intimate, family-style feast.
“As one of the country's only Regenerative Organic Certified™ farms, we aim to create a partnership between food, our farm, and the community. We allow the culinary artists that we collaborate with to go back to the source. They get to connect with beautiful fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients, finding inspiration and discovering the rewards of building a relationship with the land,” said Evan Marks, Founder and Executive Director of The Ecology Center. “Our guests get to enjoy sitting with new friends at a table while sharing a family-style meal and learning about the bounty that our bioregion provides.”
Capped at 72 guests per dinner, the intimate gatherings are designed to provide an authentic taste of the farm. Held in an open-air setting with sprawling views of the historic agricultural property, Community Table isn’t just a culinary experience; it’s also educational and an opportunity to connect on a deeper level with the community and the land. Each Community Table dinner starts with a happy hour in The Ecology Center’s courtyard followed by educational storytelling of the farm’s mission and a tour of the farm where guests can pick produce off of the vine. The main event features a thoughtful, multicourse meal prepared by the region’s most celebrated chefs who utilize freshly harvested, regenerative organic ingredients sourced from just 250 feet away.
Each dinner is a unique expression of the chef’s background and interpretation of the seasonal produce available. A few of the chefs slated to helm dinners this spring include Chef Drew Bent of Papalo, Chef Willie Eick of Matsu and Chef Brian Bornemann of Crudo e Nudo.
More than organic, ingredients used throughout each dinner are also regenerative, utilizing The Ecology Center’s guiding concept of agroecology to steward the earth through farming practices that give more than they take by focusing on soil health, animal welfare and social fairness. Each ecologically chef-designed Community Table dinner menu encompasses ingredients from four categories of produce grown on the farm based on the four seasonal rotations of the land.
- “Market Garden” includes herbs, vegetables, lettuce and flowers.
- “Milpa” encompasses corn, heirloom beans and squash grown on the land.
- “Fruit Forest” includes fruit, seeds and berries grown on the farm.
- “Cover Crop” is derived from plants that restore nutrients and structure to the soil such as grains and legumes.
“We allow the chef to connect with the land in a way that they typically don't get to do. In a traditional restaurant setting, they usually have their produce supplied, instead of picking it directly themselves. A farmer’s market just can’t compare,” says Evan Marks. “The closer the relationship that you can have with how your ingredients were sourced, the more in-tune you then become with the produce and products that you can create with.”
Each dinner is $160 per person with a fixed course, family-style menu. Dinners will commence at 6 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. To learn more about participating chefs and to purchase tickets for upcoming Community Table dinners visit TheEcologyCenter.org/Community-Table.
For more information about The Ecology Center and to be the first to know when the Summer 2023 Community Table dinners go on sale, follow @TheEcologyCenter or visit TheEcologyCenter.org and subscribe to the newsletter. To experience the superior quality of hyper-local ingredients harvested on-site and purchase goods from 100 small artisan makers throughout the region, visit The Ecology Center’s Farm Stand, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.