When we left AM Solar in Springfield, Deb sketched out a route for us to follow to get over to the Oregon Coast. The route took us into Philomath (the name of the town is derived from two Greek words meaning lover of learning). When Deb was giving me directions, she mentioned that there was an organic bakery in town, so Jim and I drove up and down Main Street looking for it. Not spotting an obvious bakery, Jim ran into the bank and the teller gave us directions to a place called Gathering Together Farm. She said that even if it wasn't the place we were looking for we would love it. That turned out to be the understatement of the day.
As we pulled into the parking lot we began to fall in love with this magical place. The flowers were just exploding with color in front of the entrance to the restaurant. All the windows and wood and greenery was so inviting and warm. As we entered through the looking glass, oops, I mean through the sliding glass door, a smiling face welcomed us and seated us near the window. When we sat down the greenhouse seating area was empty except for another couple, but by the time we left people were outside waiting in the garden area for a seat. The area we had lunch in was filled with flowers, hand hewn wood posts, warm wood tables and a huge wood fired oven at the end of the room. Everything felt inviting and it felt like we had stumbled upon a truly magical place. The sunlight shown through all the windows and filled the dining area with light and warmth.
Little artistic touches appear throughout
Windows and plants surround you -giving you the feeling you are eating outside in the garden
This little green door leads to another dining area and the shop where fresh organic produce is sold and where the absolutely delectable bakery goods are.
We arrived at the perfect time-just prior to a huge rush -tables were already being held for reservations.
Our waitress,Amanda, came over and introduced herself and told us about the menu and how incredible the pork belly appetizer was. Well she had me at pork belly ! Turns out Amanda's father,like Jim's father was a coal miner. Amanda grew up in a West Virginia "holler" ; Jim and I knew exactly what she was talking about. After getting her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Boston and New York she decided she wanted wide open spaces and headed west. The old eeny meeny miney mo routine, got her to Corvallis . She has only been with the restaurant for about 6 months. The farm has been around for 25 years !
Watching our pizza go into the wood fired oven.
We decided on the pork belly and pizza. As we waited for our meal we just couldn't believe how fortunate and blessed we were to stumble upon this place. It's one of those places that is so gracious and welcoming and warm-it's like going to your favorite grandmother's place. But a grandmother who can create the most delicious food we have ever tasted !
The incredible fire roasted pork belly with ceci (chickpeas) and peppers.
Fresh basil, from just outside the front door,on our garlic,basil,tomato and mozzarella pizza .
Jim and I split the pizza,although I would have arm wrestled him for it if necessary-so very good.
Everything was so fresh, it tasted like it does when you pick something out of your own garden. Anything we asked about from the pork belly to the cheese to the flowers was local from a "farm just down the road". The Chef, J.C. Mersmann is a charcuterie enthusiast who previously worked at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse and also is a Michelin recognized chef . Everything he creates is based on the abundance of the farm,a farm-to-fork experience in the most delicious sense.
Farm fresh organic produce from the store
Jim trying to convince me we needed pickled jalapeno peppers. We left with our arms filled with freezer jam,fresh bread,molasses cookies and a lemon cake.
And everything here is cooked and baked with love
I don't know how we didn't devour this bread before we got to our campsite !
Okay, I have to say, the best freezer jam I have ever tasted !
Good bye wonderful,magical,delicious Gathering Together Farm-we will be back
After reading about their Wine Dinners I've put attendance at one of them at the top of my foodie wish list-will it be August or September ? I will let you know ♥ I'll bet you will want to do the same after reading this article that so beautifully describes a recent dinner.
So if you are ever in the area of Corvallis, Oregon I encourage you to make the trip to this wonderful place-it's a journey you will never forget.