Every now and then life throws you a treat. The Universe spins an experience into reality that appeals to all the hallowed human senses. Such an experience unfolded serendipitously and its name is Farmacie. Farmacie is a longtable dining experience designed to bring people together in new and interesting environments to enjoy mouth-watering food, tastebud tingling beverages, scintillating ear candy and, to top it all off, raise awareness and money for local foundations and charities. The ticket isn’t cheap, for $150 you can elevate your sense while feeling all warm inside because you’ve made a difference with your hard-earned duckets.
Close your eyes and imagine an idyllic farm setting, Southlands Heritage Farm to be specific. You are surrounded by the glow of a slowly setting warm sun; gentle breeze carries you through the threshold of brambles past a grassy cul-de-sac with a tire swing and a wandering garden ahead. The Shire-esque landscape invites you past a 150-chair longtable beautifully arranged with natural tones and settings – think Reggio Emilia inspired classroom – and the melancholy sweet voice of Sophia Danai carving melodic ribbons with her voice and guitar. Glide a few steps further and slake from the flowing river of craft beer offered by Strange Fellow Brewing and vino from Le Vieux Pin Winery.
Wait, keep your eyes closed. That’s just the beginning and it gets better.
Horses galloping laps just off the main bar and soft little chickens flitted about bring giggles and smiles to a few parents brave enough to bring a couple cherubic children to this Eden. As the population of guests crested around 100 or so, you could almost hear the nourishing connections forming. Humans are social creatures by nature and are too often disconnected by texting and Facebooking and selfie stickery. It went almost unnoticed that no one was clawed away by convention – everyone appeared to actually look at each other and talk. It didn’t hurt that most were dressed to the nines and looking rather divine.
Let’s get to the food. Gastown’s Nelson the Seagull, Kits Kitchen, The Fish Counter, and Ello Foods all conspired to bring rock star Chef Marika Richoz and vegetarian veteran Chef Brian Skinner of Acorn fame together to satiate the by now slightly tipsy guests. The meal started with Dandelion Greens, Peas, Radishes with a Tarragon and Chive Ricotta served family-style for sharing. The guests tried their best to be share-bears (a few growls were heard though). The Grilled Sockeye Salmon was cooked perfectly. Our table neighbour wonder out loud how 300 plus pieces of Salmon could be cooked with such precision. Hats off grill master Brian Skinner. Dessert was a Citrus Posset, which tasted like a mellowed out gourmet lemon meringue pie – minus the crust and meringue – plus a pistachio and fennel biscotti.
And now the feels. Backpack Buddies is a program that helps kids help kids. A large number of Vancouver’s inner city children rely heavily on subsidized breakfast and lunch programs to get them through the day. Many don’t have any food at home and the food subsidy programs don’t cover the weekends. That’s where Backpack Buddies comes in: Children hold food drives that fill up the backpacks so those that would normally go without can take a back pack packed with food home for the weekend. Makes sense. The hashtag (because every good cause should have a hashtag) is #KIDSHELPINGKIDS.
The goodie bags. Everyone in attendance got to take home a hand printed grab bag featuring a free juice card from The Juicery Co., a discount code for The Float House, and print material from the many sponsors that donated generously to bring this whole thing to fruition. We had the pleasure of sitting beside the owner of Southlands Heritage Farms who offered up a heavily discounted rate to the Farmacie team, and met a handsome young fella who just kicked off a back pack brand called Nocturnal Workshops.
We couldn’t help but wonder how the team at Farmacie managed to get such an incredibly perfect evening together as it was pure sensorial magic. Perhaps someone on the team has an in with the Universe?