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Fresh from the Farm
Area ranch stakes claim in farm to table fine dinningBy TERESA HAMMOND

It is a setting befitting a fine Home and Garden magazine as guests of Bloomingcamp Ranch gather for the seasonal Farm to Table dining experience hosted monthly by the husband and wife team of Matt and Courtney Smith, along with Bake Shop Manager Vicki Thompson.

Summer 2016 marks the second year the trio will present the unique yet ever popular opportunity to food lovers throughout the Central Valley.

“We had talked about something like this for close to five years,” Courtney said, noting its popularity in coastal and wine regions. “We love food and love watching cooking shows. When we took over the bake shop last year, we knew this was the perfect platform for it.”

And ‘perfect’ it is.

Rustic custom made oblong tables are placed end to end in the large grassy area of the east Oakdale ranch. Surrounded by orchards, a pond and waterfall, it is a tranquil setting which can take the diner well beyond a handful of miles from the small valley town.

“It’s a dining experience,” Courtney said. “It’s more than just food and drinks. It’s the ambiance of it all.

“We want to bring as many cuisines out here as possible,” Courtney added of their ongoing events and teaming with area chefs as well as wineries and breweries.

Lucky #19 Ranch is the couple’s other business venture, which is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) division offering the CSA “Farm Share” box, which is an assortment of seasonal produce that can be ordered and picked up at varying locations.

“My husband and I first go out and visit the chefs,” she said of their unique approach to the dining experience. “We provide the list of produce that we have available at Lucky 19 Ranch to the chef and they build the menu around that. We incorporate the other items to go with it, the protein and the cheese. We ask them (the chef) if there is a winery or brewery they’d like to be paired with and then we try to accommodate them.”

The trio began the 2016 season in late May and has hopes of continuing through October with monthly dining opportunities. Farm to Table events are traditionally hosted on a Friday night beginning with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. and dinner service at 6:30 p.m. The all-inclusive price of $75 per person or $125 a couple includes adult beverage service, a multi-course dining experience as well as dessert.

“My husband and I use ourselves as a benchmark for establishing pricing,” Courtney said. “If we went out for a nice dinner with beverage (wine and or beer) we’d easily spend that amount or more.”

And it’s something the couple hopes to expand in the future.

“Ideally we’d like to be booked out so we can do more than one a month,” Courtney confided. “We want to bring the experience of fine dining to Bloomingcamp Ranch.”

The business owner stated the Farm to Table events may accommodate as few as 40 and as many as 70, depending on the chef.

“It’s their opportunity to showcase their creativity,” she said. “This gives them a chance to do something they can’t normally do in a large quantity.”

In addition to their traditional Farm to Table dining experiences the couple has teamed with the Stanislaus Grown Campaign and will host a fundraising event on Sept. 16. Proceeds from this one-time event will aid the campaign with promotion of Stanislaus-grown products.

“Quality is our number one priority with the experience. That’s what we want for people to come away with,” Courtney continued. “An experience right in their own backyard. Great food, great people, great conversation and just experience nature.”

For information on upcoming Farm to Table dinners or to sign-up for e-mail notifications visit