The Venue Report - Farm Featured Feasts in the California Desert

Originally published by The Venue Report - promoting the age-old tradition of gathering and exploration by connecting a collective audience of travelers, celebrators, destinations & correspondents in over 90 countries. 

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Head out to the high desert of California’s Central Coast and you never know what you’ll find. With any luck (and possibly a tip-off), you might stumble upon Blue Sky Center, a gorgeous collection of cool eco huts and unique accommodations tucked away under the starry desert sky. This special spot is doing all kinds of great work in their Cuyama community, boosting up local farmers and artists alike.

Our friends over at Moonrise Standard recently hosted a farm-forward feast at the desert digs and filled us in on all the details. Here’s the scoop from Moonrise Standard co-founder, Alana Tivnan.

hotography by Jesus Frayre

Tell us how this gathering came about and how you became involved?

Moonrise Standard is a brand new company working to create events that connect people with their food, the farmers who grow it and educate about the importance of sustainable food practices and small farms. Our Feasts are traveling pop-up 7-course engagements hosted at a myriad of beautiful and unique venues across the country, and we work hard to source as many local ingredients as possible, with the goal of creating menus that feature 100% sustainable, seasonal ingredients.

Why did Moonrise Standard choose Blue Sky Center as the venue for this event?

We found Blue Sky Center on Instagram and immediately fell in love with their amazing Shelton Huts and their vision for regenerative projects in the Cuyama Valley. Their goals for sustainability and accessible food practices align perfectly with ours, and they have a great group of folks working there.

What made each venue/backdrop ideal for what you wanted to capture on that day?

Blue Sky Center's space in the open high desert was ideal for a gorgeous al fresco gathering celebrating California agriculture. Their variety of unique, adventurous and affordable lodging options were perfect for guests who wanted to stay up around the campfire with their room just steps away. We picked The Plant at Kyle for our upcoming January dinner because it's a gorgeous, photo-worthy home built by sustainably-focused architecture firm Lake | Flato from the bones of the historic Alamo Cement Plant. We love both the history and the aesthetics of the property, and it's nestled amongst farmland!

Is there anything special you incorporated from the surrounding area into the day/weekend?

Our entire menu was sourced from local farms in the region - including Windrose FarmThe Jolly OysterJJ Lone Daughter RanchProspect CoffeeWatkins Cattle CoCookbook LAMilliken Farm, and many more. It was a perfect snapshot of a seasonal California Fall meal!

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Any fun stories or moments that stand out from the day?

The end of the night was by far our favorite. Everyone was a stranger to each other at the start of the event, but by the time dessert was passed and coffee was poured, everyone was chatting like old friends - and almost everyone stayed up late laughing and talking around the campfire. Connecting with new and interesting people is one of our favorite things about this business, and we love seeing the friendships that develop around a shared table. 

Derek Christensen