Garden Lunch at Rose Story Farm

rose story farm

rose story farm

It was an honor to team up with Dani Hahn of Rose Story Farm last week for a luncheon benefitting the Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program.  A team of faithful Flower Empower volunteers gathers each week at the farmers market to arrange beautiful bouquets that are delivered with love all over town to those in need — from hospitals, to hospice centers, to retirement homes they bring the simple joy of love and fresh flowers.

rose story farm

I was happy for this opportunity to give the way I know best, one plate at a time! Rose Story Farm hosted twenty lovely ladies for lunch (say that ten times fast) where I prepared lunch from my garden bounty —okay, my garden, the farmers market and a few stops at Whole Foods.

valerie  rice

I’m a wanderer, even if it’s only in my mind. I knew I wanted to do something special that reflected the beauty of the location. Rose Story Farm nurtures over 25,000 roses and a collection of absolutely charming outbuildings. The farm setting had me wandering back to a special outing in the Louberon Valley during our trip to Provence.


We took a horse drawn carriage from a farm out to a picnic site near the ochre mines. We were served the most beautiful picnic lunch, all made from the farm’s crops. We feasted on an assortment of delicious and fresh salads without meat or cheese in sight and all were satisfied. As I watched my kids devour raw beet salad and spinach hands pies I filed away everything on my plate to recreate back home someday.

santa barbara

There was my menu inspiration. This luncheon was the perfect opportunity to showcase the abundant bounty of Santa Barbara produce. We are in that seasonal mix, moving towards fall but still feeling the heat of summer. I love this time of year because it makes for juicy creations, like the peach and fig tarts we made for dessert.

peach and fig tarts

Here is a peek at the menu and links for a few of the recipes:

Roasted gazpacho with avocado, cucumber and garden flowers

Grilled crostini (I used this recipe for the bread) rubbed with garden tomatoes and sea salt

Rainbow quinoa with wild arugula, pomegranate seeds, toasted pistachios and Meyer lemon vinaigrette (recipe later this week on the blog)

Avocado with lime and sea salt

Roasted carrots with yogurt sauce

Roasted beets with shallots and horseradish

Fig and peach rustic tartlets

fresh bread

rose story farm

Thank you to my friend Cynthia, author of The Water is Smiling, for this photo from the luncheon.

I was pleased with how it all came together beautifully on the plate. The setting was just gorgeous. Dani filled the table completely with roses. There was even a huge bucket of roses suspended in a rickshaw above the table. Dani was recently named the 2014 Great Rosarian for her beautiful roses and focus on organic farming. You can feel her love and excitement around every corner of the farm.

rose story farm

rose story farm

My hope is that my excitement and love for the Dream Foundation, memories of France, the flavors of Santa Barbara and the desire to bring a little joy to those in need — whether around a table or a hospital bed matched the beauty of Rose Story Farm and those gathered there that day.

rose story farm