A Farm To Table Experience; Faial, Azores.
Scenic views, great company, and delicious plates from freshly harvested produce - a date to remember.
Imagine you meet a group of other cars in a high school parking lot, you follow them through the green hills of Faial, pass some hungry cows and still, you have no idea what has been planned for the rest of your day - this is how my surprise date started. But little did I know it would be one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
We pull up to a farm on a beautiful hilltop with a view of the ocean, some volcanic craters and the majestic Pico mountain greeted by smiling faces.
This is when I realized we were about to indulge in the Farm to Table experience that Granja Fazenda offers!
I’d heard about them from a fellow Instagram friend and had been wanting to check them out but completely forgot about it until my mom mentioned it again. However Nathan, who so cleverly planned out this surprise told me that it was sold out for the next two weeks which were basically the last couple of weekends we could go, so I sadly dismissed it as a possibility and was eager to try it next year instead… and then came the surprise.
At the farm, we joined the group and were greeted by Manny and Margo the two bright souls behind the farm and the whole experience. My Instagram friend who had initially recommended the experience was actually there that same day with her family so meeting her in person was really nice!
The grounds are actually passed down from Margo’s grandfather who used to have her out there as a child helping around the grounds. A diploma in horticulture and a few decades later, Margo and her partner Manny now use the farm to plant fruits and vegetables of all sorts of varieties - some varieties are so unique that the seeds were engineered by a man who worked with Michelin star restaurants!
We started off with a tour of the grounds, which was well accompanied by complimentary umbrellas because it was really hot out at 4 pm that Sunday.
We walked through their “test garden” where they are testing different varieties of vegetables and different growing methods to see what works, what doesn’t, and what they will continue doing for next year.
We then sat down on complimentary throw blankets to enjoy the plates that were being prepared fresh from that morning's harvest.
We began with plates like carrots slow roasted in honey and bread cake with carrot purée and purple flowers … they were divine. The carrot was so soft you could hardly tell it was a carrot and the cornbread cake ... well I get the kiddos who said it was their favourite because I too wished there was more!
We progressed to a cold pesto pasta made with herbs fresh from the garden and garnished with thin slices of São Jorge cheese which was delicious. We trWe then went on to try an array of sourdough toasts - sourdough bread was handmade by Manny!
The toppings varied from tuna and lemon cucumber with spice (cayenne maybe?), homemade sun-dried tomato paste with pesto, and creamy corn.
Dessert was homemade donuts with a strawberry jelly filling which, I won’t lie, I had 3 of.
We enjoyed the tasting menu amongst great company, great white wine from Pico and incredible views.
Overall, I would 200% recommend the experience because Fazenda Granja has got something going on! Their plans for the future are really exciting with workshops, chefs cooking table and much more to look forward to! Their passion was undeniable and I can’t wait to go back in another season to try the different produce and learn more about the farm.
Thank you Manny and Margo and we wish you success and joy in your endeavours.