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Farm-To-Table Stories: Cast Iron Times | Episode One ~ Squash Blossoms

Introducing Cast Iron Times

Cast Iron Times.

Appalachian Farm-to-Table Story Series

Featuring The Dancing Bear Gardens, the Bistro Culinary Team & the Local Purveyors behind the Award-Winning Appalachian Cuisine.

From the Garden...

“The Garden is taking its sweet time this year…” Says Sharon Oldham as she guides me around the vegetable and herb plots. Despite the slow start to the growing season, the spring produce is coming in healthy and strong. Sharon’s daily, early morning toils before the heat, include pruning, watering, supporting, harvesting and more. Resulting from her passion and diligence, this organic garden will soon be producing basket loads of heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, peppers and much more! All to be showcased on the Bistro’s Farm-to-Table menu.

Today, she harvests some Squash Blossoms…

Blooms get a Bath...

Once harvested, the large basket filled with the plump, bright blossoms head up to the Bistro’s Kitchen. The culinary team hurries to peep inside at what gifts have arrived from the garden. A thorough wash is in order to remove debris or any ants that may have hitched a ride or hid inside. Then, on to a rack and refrigeration to preserve freshness.

The best is yet to come for these delicate blooms…

To the Culinary Team

Chef Jeff Carter and the Bistro culinary team waste no time in curating a beautiful dish to spotlight these freshly-picked blossoms. Chef talks me through an idea for an Appalachian play on Ham, Beans & Cornbread.

The Dish - "Country Ham & Bean Blossoms"

I watch as Chef Jeff meticulously opens each Squash Blossom and stuffs them one-by-one with shredded Benton’s Ham Hock that’s been whipped up with Mascarpone & Goat Cheeses, Lemon & Herbs. He then deep fries each one that he has dredged in a Light Tempura coating. Placing the blossoms atop Pinto Bean Hummus & Crumbled Cornbread, Chef artfully finishes the dish with a drizzle of Sorghum, Aleppo Red Chili Pepper & Micro Greens from Special Growers Farm. The aroma fills the kitchen and I can’t wait to sample this masterpiece for myself.

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