IF YOU GO
Fresh from the Field
WHEN: Saturday, March 7. Cocktail reception begins at 5:30 p.m.; dinner follows at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Tucker Ranch, 100 Avalon Road, Winter Garden
TICKETS: $165 ($105 tax-deductible)
WINTER GARDEN — Although soft-shell crab rolls, shrimp cocktails and yellowfin ahi tuna are more often associated with coastal areas, they will be among the myriad dishes served at a farm-to-table dinner at one of Winter Garden’s newest farms Saturday, March 7.
At 5:30 that evening, Shula’s American Steakhouse’s cocktail reception will begin with those appetizers as part of the annual Fresh from the Field dinner to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis, hosted by the Florida Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to which all proceeds will go.
“The event will be held at Tucker Ranch in Winter Garden,” Executive Director Lisa Murphy said. “This future site of a 20-acre, state-of-the-art working farm will be a perfect setting for an unforgettable and original dining experience.”
Guests will dine at one exaggeratedly long table for a four-course meal made by Robert J. Ciborowski, executive chef for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.
Course one features short rib “en cartoccio,” Tuscan kale, potato gnocchi and English peas. The second course includes chilled Maine lobster, king crab, spring truffle and compressed fruit.
The third course will be served family-style, with a cornucopia of comestibles: “Cib’s Smokehouse,” Texas pit brisket, barbecued Bell and Evans chicken, Carolina pulled pork, hand-crafted bacon, Anson Mills white cheddar grits, creamed corn, Fregola sarda pasta salad, savoy cabbage coleslaw, traditional potato salad, pickles, scallion cornbread, mini buttermilk biscuits and honey butter.
As if that were not enough for several meals, the final course — dessert, of course — will showcase the trio of Laurent Branlard, executive pastry chef for the Walt Disney Wold Swan and Dolphin Resort: vanilla creme and raspberry compote-filled marshmallow with mandarin diplomat cream and fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce; lime panacotta and lime gelee with lemongrass coconut and pineapple soup and lime madeleine; and Earl Grey tea ganache fried truffles with milk chocolate pudding cream and dark chocolate sauce.
This premier Cystic Fibrosis Foundation event also will feature a fine selection of wines and local craft beers, as well, Murphy said.
“A special tasting by Palm Ridge Reserve will also be offered for all guests.” she said.
Crooked Can Brewing Co. from the new Plant Street Market will offer an exclusive sampling of its craft beers, too.
Tucker Ranch, about 209 acres on the west side of Avalon Road (County Road 545) and the northeast side of John’s Lake, has an extensive history of around 100 years, including World War II military research on radar systems and development of mosquito repellant.
The Tucker family purchased the property in the 1940s, built a farmhouse in 1964 and used the land for cattle grazing and citrus groves until the freezes in the early 1980s. Since that time, it has been a grazing area, although a campground was operational from 1969-2003.
Winter Garden purchased Tucker Ranch in 2011 for $2.1 million and received a state grant to preserve and develop it as a legacy park with a historic site designation. Camping, a canoe and kayak launch, walking trails, gathering space and the working farm have been aspects of the park in the works. Among developments on the site will be a community and teaching farm, a greenhouse, a retail store, a commercial kitchen and cold storage. New farming technology using permaculture and a sustainable food hub will be among the showcases at the ranch, which will sell all of its food to local vendors, schools and the Winter Garden Farmers Market.
This year, Winter Garden will continue Phase II of the site: farm development and restoration of native vegetation.
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].