On an unseasonably cloudy, post Labor Day evening in San Diego’s North County, the latest in the series of Waterbill dinners was an all-star chef studded event attended by about 30 more guests than were actually on “the list.” Chef Kat Humphus, beloved by any who’ve ever received one of her warm embraces or a morsel of her cooking, brought her insane cheffing chops, quick smile and warm graciousness to dinner as she bid hasta la vista to the madness of the left coast for Copenhagen, which hangs to the right in, at least, a cartographic sense.
Conceived by Farmer Luke Girling as a way of involving the community in his and their collective success, educating his neighbors and paying his ridiculous watering costs every month, Waterbill dinners, over the course of the last couple years, have evolved into a fellowship of sweet and savory dusty elegance. The sum total of urban farms that enjoy the kind of rabid, almost manic, support of their community, from chefs to neighbors, that Luke and Cyclops Farms commands numbers about the same as those sitting on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean…and they’re one and the same.
Luke’s intense marketing efforts for the dinners consist of a frazzled, if not tattered, sign up sheet, located wherever he last placed it at his Saturday farmstand. “The list” contains the entirety of the attendees for the Waterbill dinners plus or minus 30% or so, since party crashers have been rumored to actually emerge from the soil at dinner time. Dinners are usually held about once a month…less if the water company forgets to send a bill, *insert eye roll here*. The only way to get on the list is to go to the farmstand, hunt for the list (check Luke’s pockets) and use a pointy stick dipped in coal dust to make your mark. High tech, heady stuff, there.
As long as you’re in the neighborhood, you might wanna think about getting some of the flowers, fruits and veggies. If you peer down the hand hewn rows of plants, you may catch a glimpse of Luke or one of any number of volunteer neighbors shaking or blowing magic farm and fairy dust off your next dinner.
The rest of us, well, we didn’t even seem to miss what is usually the most brilliant ocean sunset ever to grace a farm. Chalk it up to the inevitable and perpetual warmth and glow that can only be generated by eating food. With friends. Cheers, my friends!
1448 Avocado Rd., Oceanside, CA