Community / Wineries

Impressions of Field to the Fork

Fantastic Turnout at Sunday’s Field to the Fork event which was held for the third year running at Leonesse Cellars. Every year all involved seem to hit higher levels of performance. This time round, it was supremely well organized with a massive turnout of culinary talent.

By massive I am talking about a sea of white chef jackets. You could not turn around without running into a chef or a young culinarian. For the first time Riverside Community College Culinary students–about 20 strong–offered their assistance to established chefs, artisan vendors, and basically anyone who they could lend a hand too. It was a fantastic way for the budding chefs to meet many of the prominent chefs from Riverside and San Diego Counties. Also present, in Whites, was the recently resurrected Riverside Chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

This year marked a banner of sorts–two local brewers were also present. Stone of Escondido, and Temecula’s own Black Market Brewing’s Andrew Marshall poured his signature Brown Ale and Hefewitzen.

Temecula School Garden Program

Slow Food Temecula Valley provides support and academic resources for agricultural education through the creation of edible, organic gardens at our local schools. The Temecula Slow Food “convivium” provides manpower to start gardens, and works with educators and local farmers to create garden curriculum, assist in grant writing, and raise funds to keep the gardens growing.

Temecula Slow Food

Chef Clay Blake, and a nonstop line at his table. Photo by Crispin Courtenay.

Ponte’s new Executive Chef Clay Blake was in full swing with an extremely busy table. He prepared Berkshire Pork loin with sweet onions and mustard greens from Crows’s Pass Farm. They served the pork with Ponte’s Sangiovese.

Crows Pass goodies. Previously only avilable to top Chefs, now open to the public. Photo by Crispin Courtenay

Speaking of Crow’s Pass, unless you are a chef, you have probably not heard of this farm. Until this week they were strictly commercial, delivering only to the finest restaurants in Southern California. Often they would just show up at the back door with the day’s harvest in hand and see if the Chef was interested, always something cool and wonderful to try. Husband and wife team, David and Tina Barnes, finally acquiesced to the pressure of everyone asking them if they are ever going to sell to the public, and are opening the farm to local consumers Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please call ahead at 951-676-8099 ( as they are often in the fields, or on deliveries.

One of the most active booths of the Field to Fork was Temecula Valley Slow Food’s President and owner of

Loquat 'caviar'. Photo by Crispin Courtenay.

DeLyte’s Catering, Leah DeBernardo. Visitors crammed into a tight spot, offering an entire meal. Thanks to Slow Food, Molecular Gastronomy made it’s entrance into the Temecula Valley in spectacular style.

Chef de Cusine, Daragh Matheson was overseeing the circus when I stopped by. They offered: Brandt Beef, Nueske Pork Belly, Duxell en Croute with Loquot Foam – Loquat Caviar, Shot of Loquot and Leonesse Viogner, Mountain Meadows Mushroom ‘ceviche’.

Perhaps no dish at Field to Fork better typified the rational behind this event better than the finale School Garden Salad, produced from one the school gardens that is the beneficiary from this event. A closed-loop production cycle…how cool is that?

E.A.T. Extraordinary Artisan Takeaway. Delyte’s Catering offers high-end, local take home meals available for pickup on Monday and Wednesday. See the website for this weeks current meals. (

Inland Empire CSA member Sage Mountain Farms presented an awesome sampler of their current produce, applications to join the Community Supported Agriculture and some freshly made jam off the farm.

Nick Palumbo, owner of Palumbo Winery. Photo by Crispin Courtenay

Nick Palumbo, proprietor of Palumbo Family Vineyards, poured a two of his wines, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Viogner. For whatever reason, I managed to once again forget to try the Viogner, which is about the fourth time. Nick Palumbo only produces wine that grows on his twelve acres, and takes a small batch-artesianal approach, producing very high quality wines at a value-conscience price point.

Freshly brewed coffee

Amidst the crush of people trying to get food from the lower court food stalls, emanated the fantastic aroma of coffee. I really needed one, but knowing coffee is a palate destroyer, one cup would have wiped out my taste buds for at least an hour. I wish I took a second to jot down the name of who was brewing up this coffee, to be sure and try some later.

Photo by Crispin Courtenay.

Weins was present, with the impeccably dressed David, pouring an eclectic selection of Orange Muscat, Tempranillo, and a few other new releases.

Photo by Crispin Courtenay.

Habanero-laced fudge–served by John of Chili Gourmet in Old Town–was the unexpected treat of the day. A perfect fudge combined with hauntingly hot capsicum notes. Awesome!

Leonesse Cellars website shows Block 5 Restaurant ready to reopen for weekend service starting June 5th.

The Sweet Life. Photo by Crispin Courtenay.

The sweet life, a line of cosmetics and skin care that evolved from a honey balm, created from the Temecula Honey. The owner, Rebbecca, offers a line of skin care products originally derived from honey and now branching out into other natural ingredients. The Temecula Honey Company offers an outstanding range of honey flavors, and then there is a citrus farm offering a great array of produce. See ( for more information.

Musicians abound.

The scale of the event was so large this year that there were three different musical acts playing at the same time, yet did not interfere or overlap at all.

Photo by Crispin Courtenay.

Tim Moyer played classic rock in front of DeLyte Catering’s Loquot Emporium. There was Dixieland on the main stage, and Acoustic guitar in the lower garden.

They are already talking about next years event at the Temecula Slow Food…and the topic revolves around what could top this year?

Should be fun, whatever they dream up.

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