Come Graze on the Prairie with Me

Posted in Community, Culinary, Feature, More Stories

August 12, 2014

The Friends of Ebey’s will hold a fundraising dinner this Saturday, August 16 at the picturesque Historic Smith Barn at Willowood Farm on Ebey’s Prairie.  Proceeds will benefit Whidbey’s own Ebey’s Landing Historic Reserve.

Willowood Farm on Ebey's Prairie (photo credit David Welton)

Willowood Farm on Ebey’s Prairie (photo credit David Welton)

Donating her efforts for this fabulous affair is Renee Erickson. The Renee Erickson. The James Beard-nominated chef and devotee of fresh, local food.

Because I’m providing the cheese for the event (insider tip: our Little Brown Farm Caprine Cream Chevre will be there along with copious amounts of Ugly Butter), I had the perfect excuse to call Renee.

“This is a great opportunity for people to support the fantastic things going on at the Prairie,” Renee said.

Renee already supports agriculture on Ebey’s Prairie, using tons (literally) of produce grown on the Prairie at her restaurants and hundreds of pounds of dairy products made from animals thriving on a diet of prairie hay.

Chef Renee has quite the culinary feast planned for the lucky supporters of the fundraiser. She mentioned braised and grilled short ribs prepared with compound (Ugly) butter from Little Brown Farm and garlic and thyme from Willowood Farm.

There will be potatoes—also from Ebey’s Prairie—flavored with, you guessed it, garlic!

A crop of garlic hangs at Willowood Farm (photo courtesy of Willowood Farm)

A crop of garlic hangs at Willowood Farm (photo courtesy of Willowood Farm)

I can guarantee there will be no vampires on the Prairie this Saturday.

If you think I will be spilling all the beans (ooh, like Rockwell beans and mussel salad, dang it!), I won’t.

Just as I won’t hint at the appearance of a special private reserve aged goat cheese or a special item from Willowood that Renee mysteriously refers to as similar to a “seabean.”

I may be lousy at keeping secrets, but I promise there are still plenty of surprises left for the evening.


This meal, prepared especially to raise funds for Ebey’s Prairie, will include many of the fresh foods grown right in the soil of the Prairie; the idea warms my heart. As a “milkmaid” who uses hay harvested on Ebey’s Prairie to feed my goats, I’m honored to be a part of this feast, both as a diner and a producer.

The tickets are limited to 100; at the time of this post, only a few remained.  The cost of a ticket is $200; because so much of the food and talent is being donated, a large portion of the ticket price will go directly to the Friends of Ebey’s fund.

If you can’t attend, please consider making a donation to this worthy cause.  If you are able, consider treating yourself to an exquisite meal while supporting a fabulous cause.

Renee Erickson, chef and owner of The Whale Wins (photo courtesy of Renee Erickson)

Renee Erickson, chef and owner of The Whale Wins (photo courtesy of The Whale Wins)

Your local farmers, and anyone who loves the open spaces and wide skies of the prairie, will thank you.

World-class chef Renee Erickson is responsible for the culinary delights of

She is also now a published author with “A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories” available in September at this Amazon link.  

Vicky Brown, Chief Milkmaid at the Little Brown Farm, puts her passions on the page writing about food, agriculture and the tender web of community. blogger_v_brown

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