Our Barn Dinner at Sunset

 Photos by  Chelsea Mitchell

If ever there was a day I fantasized about living on a farm it was our afternoon spent at Heartstone Ranch. Chickens clucked, a horse talked to me curiously as he poked his head in to see what we were doing as we decorated our Autumn table. That evening in early October, we had our harvest dinner in a big ol' beautiful, wood barn. It was a night I'll never forget! A warm Santa Barbara evening, with that gorgeous dusk light of fall, sweet melody in the air and a lovely balmy breeze enticing us to slow down.

I've always wanted to attend a barn dinner at sunset. I imagined hay bale seating, wood plank tables, fall evoking melody wafting in the air and a feast to behold. Well, the amazing venue and the good people of Heartstone Ranch made recreating a childhood dream easy. Harvesting fall leaves, folding forty napkins in twine and twigs with love, dusting off my favorite old pewter roosters, platters and woven baskets. We set out to try to make that dream a reality.

In the end however it was Nicole and David's gorgeous spread of organic, farm fresh foods, all artfully infused with chocolate notes.... and Maya's chocolate ganache wafting in the air, thick and rich with rosemary oils that made the night. I loved the giggles you got from the guests as they rolled truffles in their palms. Good, messy fun… sneaking bites as they worked. Reminded me of that old I love Lucy episode at the chocolate factory were she shoved the candies in her mouth like a chipmunk collecting acorns, packing them in her cheeks. Too charming!

If there is one thing that these events have taught us at Fruitful Collaborations, it's to not loose that childlike sense of wonder for learning we've enjoyed during our workshops… or how important it is to slow down and enjoy the simple things! Cook together, share a good meal and break bread with friends. Drink a glass of wine and look up from maddening pace of life once in a while and just breath it all in. At least for me, that day with all you beautiful souls I felt thankful. Thankful for great friends, for delicious food, for art and for nature that day... in all its barn life wonder. So we thought to share it a bit with you here. I hope you enjoy it like we did. Happy fall to each of you, our lovely friends.

Have a look at the rest of Chelsea's beautiful images from the evening in the gallery section.