Duivenvoorden Farms Article
Spring Tehama Farm Dinner at Duivenvoorden Farms
By Chelsea Connor

On the warm, spring night of May 5 th ,eighty guests gathered around the
horseshoe-shaped farm table on Duivenvoorden Farms in Cottonwood,
California. This dinner concluded the fourth official farm-to-table dinner
successfully hosted by the non-profit organization, known as Tehama
Together, led by one of the organization’s founders, Orle Jackson. The
organization’s Farm Table Dinners (formally known as Field to Fork
Tehama) aim to bring the community together to celebrate local agriculture,
support small farmers, and provide a wonderful event twice a year. The
event enlists local chef to prepare appetizers and a 4-course meal for up
to eighty hungry guests using 70% Tehama County produce and ingredients.
Each dinner is hosted on a local farmstead where guests get to experience
a tour before their meal with plenty of local wine in hand. In the two years
that Tehama Together has hosted this event, there has purely been no
shortage of good food, good wine, new friendships, and good times.
The sun was bright and spring flowers covered the Duivenvoorden farm
as guests trickled in. The Duivenvoorden family graciously welcomed the
festivities onto their 4-generation farm, now operated by Mark and Lori
Duivenvoorden along with their two sons, Seth and Luke Duivenvoorden,
and daughter-in-law, Ali Duivenvoorden. The family maintains a fully raw
dairy farm of grass-fed cows producing California compliant raw milk and
cream available for purchase at local stores and from their “herd share”
membership. Once a conventional dairy farm, Mark and Lori have
transformed their 57acre homestead into a thriving business and one
that’s more sustainable for the animals. Each morning Mark milks 34
cows for a total of about 75 gallons of fresh, raw milk a day. By milking
once a day, their cows experience less stress and still have enough to
tend to their young all day long. Those are some happy cows and if
you’ve been lucky enough to try their delicious milk, you can tell!
Guests were greeted at arrival with a spread of Mexican-inspired small
bites, raw milk for sampling, and locally made beer and wine on the
Cedar Crest Brewing bar cart. The attendees enjoyed small bites such
as, delicately fried zucchini fritters, 3 freshly prepared salsas, seafood
ceviche shooters, and pork carnitas tostadas featuring Rancho Llano
Seco pork butt from Chico, California.

Within the first hour the pasture was buzzing with good conversation
and music by Bruno Lapolli, a Brazilian guitarist and singer hailing from
Chico, while guests claimed their seats at the farm table. Erin Bianchi,
the evening’s MC and committee volunteer, shared a welcome message
and introduced the Corning Ballet Folklorico to center pasture for a
surprise performance. The group, with dancers of all ages, performed a
variety of songs in their traditional folklorico attire of nicely tailored vest
suits and bright, floral skirts for twirling. Up next, Danza Mexica Tonanzin
with head leader Matilda Castillo hit the pasture to perform aceremonial
drum circle with beautifully crafted costumes adorned with traditional
feathered headdresses.

Following the performances, Mark and Ali Duivenvoorden split the guests
into two large groups to bring them along on a short tour of the farm and
their operations. Attendees had the opportunity to ask the family anything
that sparked their curiosity about the daily and technical aspects of dairy
farm life. Mark explained to one group how each cow is given a name and
treated like family. The cows kindly accepted some head massages from
guests as the tour Q and A continued.

Once the groups made it back to their seats, the volunteers began
carrying out the first of four dinner courses, prepared by local Chef
Hobart Vogel, a devoted chef of 30 plus years experience and recent
retiree as Rolling Hills Casino Executive Chef. Hobart now operates
his own business as Hobarts Catering to serve the Tehama County
community, “food from the heart”. The spring menu he spent months
creating, included local ingredients from Brush Arbor Farmstead, Milk
House Cookies, Flying T Ranch, Burlinson’s Fruit Stand, Kitchel Family
Organics, Nickler Acres, Lee’s Produce, Rancho Llano Seco, Williamson
Farms, Duivenvoorden Farms, Nai’s Berries, Orland Farmstead Creamery,
and Red Gate Ranch. Many of which can be found at the Saturday
Market in Red Bluff from 8:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. or at the Chico Famer’s
Market on Saturdays from 7 A.M. to 1 P.M. year-round.

As the sun set and the evening began to wind down, guests went home
with gift bags from the Duivenvoorden family stocked with fresh Milk
House Cookies, a new appreciation for raw milk, many new friendships,
and a full belly.

The spring Farm Table Dinners event was made possible with the support
and donations from Gold Exchange Red Bluff, Walker Printing LLC,
Cornerstone Community Bank, Kleen Kanteen, Hannah Lillian Photography,
Gonzalez Jumpers, and the team of volunteers. To learn more about
Tehama Together and the future Farm Table Dinners updates visit
Tehamatogether.com or follow them at @farmtabledinners on Instagram.
For volunteer opportunities email farmtabledinnersnorcal@gmail.com.

332 Pine Street, Suite M
Red Bluff, CA 96080