Max's Chef to Farm Dinner: Crop Up Pop Up

There's a small restaurant chain of fine dining restaurants in the Greater Hartford area known as the Max Restaurant Group. One thing they are particularly known for are their summertime "Chef to Farm" dinners, a series of events that take place on the grounds of local farms. As far as the locavore movement, it can't get any more local than that, right? The chef designs a menu around the freshest produce available from that farm's current harvest and adds ingredients also sourced locally, such as meat, dairy and seafood. Diners enjoy their meal under a large tent set up with communal tables covered in white linen, with candlelight and music to add to the ambience.

Chickens roam around the barn


We went to one a few years ago at Rosedale Farms in Simsbury (read about that experience here). It was their usual format - a tour of the farm followed by a tasting menu of several courses with accompanying wines. Which was wonderful! Again...read about it here.

But the one we attended last week was different, experimental, a pop up restaurant on Sub Edge Farm in Farmington (hence the "Crop Up Pop Up" theme). Not a tasting, but a menu of three courses with options chosen by each diner on site and a cash bar. Yes, Chef Scott Miller is an ambitious guy.

Chilled Nectarine Bisque
pickled cherries, fried ginger, creme fraiche

GourmAvian Farms Confit Chicken Wings
celeriac hummus, red hot carrots

The farm began in the 1920's and as such, is quite charming. The current owners are growing five acres of certified organic vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs. They also raise pigs, hens and grass-fed beef. They sell their own items and other local food goods in an on-site farm shop as well. 

Smoked Pineland Beef Strip Loan
duck fat poached potatoes, sorrel, braised beef cheeks, marrow bordelaise

Grilled North Atlantic Lobster
poached mussel and sun gold tomato salad, lemony greens, tomalley vinaigrette

We were seated at table #6 and met some super fun people, which is a definite bonus of the community table seating. We had a great time chatting, eating with, and getting to know our new friends from Hartford and Coventry, and especially Elise (to whom we send a special shout-out). And, Chef Miller, kudos. It was a great meal and a memorable experience that we thoroughly enjoyed. 

Peaches and Anise Cream
olive oil-poppy seed cake, chartreuse

The Band

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