Yaks and chickens and pigs (oh my)
WELCH — It doesn't get more local than Dinner on the Farm, a unique dining experience catered and created by Bleu Dog Cafe.
This chef-driven, locally sourced restaurant nestled along the Cannon River in Welch is normally open for just breakfast and lunch. But after crafting some nighttime five-course dinner experiences for food lovers, the owners are taking their next meal a step further and going directly to the source.
At Dinner on the Farm, diners will be able to meet their ingredients and enjoy the rolling hills at Clear Spring Farm in Welch. This yak farm, one of a handful in the state, will provide much of the protein for the evening and all of the charming atmosphere. Chicken and other ingredients all hail from close within the Welch area, including vegetables from Belle Creek Gardens, which is just down the road.
Diners will enjoy drinks, appetizers, dessert and a special buffet-style meal of fresh, local vegetables and meats. Alexis Bailey Vineyard in Hastings provides the wines and the newly opened Tilion Brewery in Cannon Falls provides the beer.
"We wanted to do something that gets our community excited about eating local," said Jenny Reiman-Good, restaurant manager. "Ideally, everyone coming to Dinner on the Farm would be from Goodhue County."
Chef Britton Good is committed to high-quality ingredients and experiences for people of all incomes. The regular Bleu Dog menu features most items, delicious and perfectly executed, for under $10. They also offer walk-up service with hot dogs and ice cream.
Specifically, Dinner on the Farm was designed with locals in mind to help celebrate the local food economy. As such, they've worked to keep the price point manageable.
Outstanding in a Field, a similar outdoor dining experience which travels from state to state, hosted a meal on Clear Spring Farm in 2015 which farmer and owner Melodee Smith said cost $250 per person.
"Mostly, it was people traveling in from the cities," she said. "Which is great, but I'm hoping more locals can come to Dinner on the Farm."
Smith is also raising Berkshire pigs for a pig-in-the-ground meal Clear Spring Farm will host with Bleu Dog Cafe this fall.
"I really love having people come to the farm and meet the animals," Smith said. "The yaks are so docile and kind — you can go right up and pet them — and they really make wonderful meat. Dark meat and lean like bison, but not gamey."
Dinner on the Farm will take place Saturday, July 21, starting at 5 p.m. with live music, drinks and yard games. Tickets cost $100 per person and seating is limited to 150. Diners will have a chance to walk around the farm and see chickens, yak, pigs, sheep, goats and a horse. Tickets can be purchased online: https://www.thebleudogcafe.com/farm-tickets/