Greenhouse Gardens Chandler

Greenhouse Gardens in Chandler hosted its first dinner in March and won plaudits from everyone who attended. The evening included soft music, a cocktail hour and a gourmet menu.

The farm-to-table philosophy takes on a literal meaning when Greenhouse Gardens serves up its own produce for a five-course dinner party on Nov. 17. 

After selling out its first event in March, the Chandler farm is hosting another dinner inside its vintage barn with a new menu to match its seasonal shift in vegetables.  

Fifty guests will be able to sample appetizers, entrees and desserts prepared by a professional chef and made with ingredients grown on the farm.

Patrons will sit along a long table beneath strings of lights and surrounded by shelves of old gardening tools. 

Cameron McChesney, co-owner of Greenhouse Gardens, said the event is intended to show guests how his farm’s carrots and cucumbers can be fancily transformed into high-end meals. 

“I hope that they see that our produce can be crafted into some amazing dishes – not just the steamed vegetables we all grew up with,” he said. 

McChesney and his wife, Jeannine, bought the historic farm property, located between Gilbert and Cooper roads, a couple of years ago and hold a farmers market every Saturday. 

They grow up to eight vegetables at any given time, McChesney said, averaging about 80 sales per week. The farm also supplies produce to restaurants in Chandler and Scottsdale. 

The McChesneys are in the process of harvesting the last of their zucchinis, peppers and eggplants for the season. Concurrently, they are starting to plant the next round of lettuce, spinach and radishes.  

The upcoming dinner event will find ways to incorporate sweet potato, roasted garlic and squash into the menu. 

Appetizers will consist of chorizo meatballs with pickled veggies. The five courses will include bisque with a French-styled cream, risotto with eggplant and lobster and a sweet-corn buttermilk pie. 

One course is being kept a secret as a special surprise. 

Chris Castro, an executive outlet chef of the Scott Resort in Scottsdale, is partnering with the McChesneys to prepare the event. 

He was intrigued by the opportunity to experiment with his culinary skills outside of the kitchen and cook a meal based mostly on what’s available at the farm. 

“Sometimes (the farm) has specialty things they’re growing that you don’t even know and it just makes it more fun,” Castro said. 

Castro was classically trained to use French techniques around the kitchen. But he now calls himself a “global” chef – one that can adapt to any type of cuisine. 

Serving five courses to 50 guests on a farm can be challenging, Castro added, but he’s learned some tips after the March event that will make the operation a bit smoother.

Aside from being a unique night out with friends, the event helps to better inform patrons on how their food is grown and prepared, Castro said. 

“People get to understand more of where their food comes from,” Castro said. “It’s very important.”

McChesney agrees a visit to his farm can be quite educational. He and his wife try not to be preachy, but he’s quick to point out that his vegetables can go weeks in the refrigerator before rotting. 

The couple plans to host dinner parties more regularly throughout the year. The first event turned out to be such a success, McChesney said, and they’re hopeful the next one will have similar results.  

“If we could recreate that again,” he said, “we’ll be doing quite well.”

Tickets cost $119 and can be bought by searching “Greenhouse Gardens” on eventbrite.com.

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