When Caitlin and Peter decided to host their wedding at East Lynn Farm, they were looking for more than just a scenic location. The couple knew they wanted to get married in the DC area because Virginia and DC were important places at pivotal points in their lives. But Caitlin, who works in finance for Danaher, and Peter, a consultant at Bain & Company, were looking for something more specific.
Peter had previously worked for a farm-to-table restaurant chain that emphasized the value of good, quality ingredients freshly delivered and prepared every morning. This was an idea that Caitlin had grown up with in the Mid-West—one that had become an important aspect of their lives together. So as the couple planned their wedding, it made sense to find a venue that would let them share the farm-to-table experience with their friends and family.
When the couple began telling friends and colleagues that they were engaged, a former coworker of Peter’s, who was also planning a wedding at East Lynn Farm, told them about the venue and the option to design their own wedding menu from food grown in the farm’s gardens and pastures.
Soon after, they connected with Michael Kozich of Bluewater Kitchen, a caterer specializing in field-to-plate weddings. According to Kozich, a lot of big catering companies claim to be farm-to-table, but they often only source less than 5 percent of their products from local farms. “We are small and passionate about supporting local farms and showcasing the Shenandoah’s bounty,” he said. “Not only is the quality of the product so much better, we also want to reconnect people to where their food is coming from – something our society has lost over the years.”
When asked about the trend toward farm-to-table weddings, Kozich thinks it’s driven in part by couples sourcing wedding ideas on Pinterest and other social sites. However, he added, “I also think young people have reignited a movement to getting back to the things that matter most – like really good food–and would rather spend their money on those things.”
Kozich and his wife, a wedding planner, advise couples to make a detailed list of what everything costs before selecting a venue. “When couples look closely, they often find that there’s a lot that is NOT included with their venues, such as chairs and the labor to set them up. You don’t want all of your budget to be spoken for by the time you start thinking about food.” (Note: Weddings at East Lynn Farm come with everything you’ll need to make your celebration run smoothly, with no hidden charges. Couples enjoy full use of the farm’s barns, hayloft, gardens, field grounds, furnishings, and décor throughout their event).
According to Kozich, developing weddings menus based on locally sourced ingredients can sometimes be challenging. “You basically have to go with what’s in season at the time of your wedding, and it’s sometimes difficult to know in advance exactly when certain crops will be ready,” he said. But we work with you to design a custom menu based on the combination of your taste and what is seasonally available.”
The weather can also be a factor. “If there are droughts, crops might not come in hardy enough or there may be insufficient yield to make a particular dish,” Kozich explained. He encourages wedding couples to be flexible when planning their menus and open to last-minute changes.
For couples like Caitlin and Peter who understand the value of good food, flexibility is a small sacrifice. Although the menu for their wedding has not yet been finalized, the couple, who will marry in June, was willing to offer a sneak preview.
“We’ll be using a host of dishes from the farm, including Virginia Rock Fish with East Lynn’s succotash, potatoes, and pea tendrils and East Lynn Farm’s Spring Salad, made of baby carrots, radish, cucumber, asparagus and lemon vinaigrette,” Peter said.
Schedule a tour of East Lynn Farm today to learn how you can design your menu from our large, sustainably-grown vegetable garden and use our own pasture-raised beef, lamb, and poultry. More information about Bluewater Kitchen is available at http://www.bwkitchen.com/.