About an hour west of Del Ray atop Catocin Mountain you’ll find the enchanting Glenfiddich Farm. I went there last weekend to celebrate my sister’s bachelorette party at the farm’s Cookery School — my sister loves food and wine, so it seemed like a fun way to toast her upcoming wedding. But behind the doors of this 170-year-old former dairy barn, we found so much more.
Cookbook author and food writer Olwen Woodier opened the cooking school in 2005 in the home she shares with her husband Richard Busch. Our hostess was warm and welcoming and spent the first couple of minutes making sure she knew the names of all ten of us. She even offered her own stash of wine in case we didn’t bring enough chilled (you’re welcome to bring your own with no corkage fee).
The home oozes rustic charm and elegance with its vaulted ceilings, stone walls and cozy furniture. The beams of the old barn still hold it all together. I can speak for everyone when I say we all wanted to move in.
Opposite the living area is the gourmet kitchen with a huge prep island, professional grade appliances, and plentiful cast iron pans and cooking equipment. Truely a chef’s dream and a refreshing treat from small-space cooking.
Olwen passed around aprons and shared the menu and some cooking tips to get us started.
Everyone quickly joined in sauting vegetables for the appetizer, mixing sauces, and chopping and dicing with eager enthusiasm.
A long hallway around the corner held the first of many surprises – a gallery of historic black and white photography by Olwen’s husband.
Look closely and you’ll see photos of Tina Turner and Jimi Hendrix.
Hundreds of Richard’s incredible photographs are a permanent part of the Granger Collection,
The puff pastry tart with red onions, yellow peppers, zucchini and cheese was soon ready to be devoured.
Tema sliced it up with a pizza cutter.
This is definitely something I will be making again.
With the gang working on other parts of the menu, I took a quick peek outside where I was met by some feline friends. One displayed her plush coat.
And another enjoyed a good stretch after a long nap.
Most impressive was the fabulous view of the garden below (three acres in all). Deer grazed in the distance. The farm’s name, Glenfiddich, is a Celtic word meaning “valley of the deer.”
Back inside, the latest edition of Poultry magazine was a hint of what else we would find on the grounds…
This resident family of chickens and roosters provide the eggs for this working farm.
After some more cooking, lunch was ready to be served.
We enjoyed salmon with pesto and coconut milk and basmati rice with dried cranberries and zest of lemon.
Moist and delicious chicken with a sesame soy sauce and noodles with sesame peanut sauce.
And, not pictured, green beans and a salad with beets, tomatoes, feta cheese and balsamic dressing.
Wine was the perfect accompaniment to this farm-fresh organic home-cooked meal.
And for dessert, utterly delightful caramelized nectarines with creme fraiche, cream cheese and fresh mint. Best meal I’ve had this summer.
Notice a trend here? All the food was served on pottery — handmade by Richard in his DIY salt-fired kiln and studio at the farm. The talent of this family has no bounds.
Richard has been a potter since the 1980s — his work is inspired by Japanese and English styles. In his shop, we found wine chillers, coffee mugs, bowls, plates, platters, garlic bowls, and these adorable bird houses.
Several ladies purchased pottery, while others toured the picture-perfect grounds.
Everyone left with a bottle of honey, also made on the farm by the resident beekeeper.
We stayed for over five hours, in complete awe of every little thing we saw — the rustic charm of the home’s original beams and stonework, the chicken house and gorgeous gardens out back, and the studio filled with original works of art. It was a pure delight to meet and learn from Olwen — her love and knowledge of home-grown food and generous hospitality was a joy to experience.
Olwen’s been cooking professionally since 1972 and offers private cooking classes and demonstrations for groups of 8 to 24. I can’t wait to come back. Learn more about Glenfiddich Farm at www.glenfarmcookery.com and www.glenfarmpottery.com.