South Pond Farms owner Danielle French opened her doors to Harrowsmith and shared a farm tradition—dining under the glow of the full flower moon of May. From the scenery to the food to the company kept, it was magical. We hope you’ll be inspired to gather your loved ones together and make merry au claire de la lune. Moon dance, anyone?
Every month throughout the summer, we host a full moon supper outside, under the full moon sky. It’s one of my favourite dining experiences offered here at South Pond Farms. There’s something magical about this celebration—food is prepared over an open fire, with guests sitting at a long table in the field, almost part of the earth. I feel deeply connected to my community, as we all sit together, strangers at the table, breaking bread, and eating the ingredients grown at that time of year. For me, the full moon sets the tone of the month and inspires me in both planting and harvesting, as well as in creating delicious menus to serve our guests.
First Nations and pioneers gave names to the moons to help track the seasons. The moon in May is often called the flower moon because in May, flowers and greens begin to appear in gardens and in the forests. So many flowers are edible, and we incorporate them into each of the courses served at our dinners: chèvretruffles festooned with Johnny-jump-ups; chive blossoms are a spicy surprise in a salad; and early sweet woodruff-infused white wine. There are wild leeks in the forest, and edible leaves and flowers are in abundance—such possibilities! I use seasonal flowers to decorate the tables, too, such as ferns from the forest and chives in full bloom, as well as purple alliums. I adorn the table with lots of candles so guests are bathed in a warm, glowing light when the sun goes down.
But it’s the people who make these dinners so very special. Someone who often joins us at our full moon table is Kim Wheatly. Kim is an Anishinabe(Ojibway) band member of Shawanaga First Nation. She is Turtle Clan, a proud mother of three daughters, and a grandmother of two granddaughters. She teaches us about the land, her traditions and the significance of the full moon. She is a storyteller, singer and musician, and it’s through her music and storytelling that she educates and helps to create a deeper understanding of the First Nations perspective. Her love of hand drumming, singing and Anishinabe traditional teachings shape her worldview and define her life journey. She is deeply committed to creating and promoting awareness of the First Nations traditions and realities, and it’s an honour to share our table with her.
Then, as the full moon rises in the east, with the fire crackling nearby, we finish our meal, and, listening to the stories being told, we are grateful for all that we have. This is a time of celebration, a time to pay respect to the harvests we enjoy throughout the year. And at the time of the full moon, we have one more reason to celebrate.
You don’t have to have a farm or an event space in a restored barn to host a full moon feast. You can do it in a tiny urban backyard for friends, or even at a table in your apartment. It’s all about the celebration of the full moon, which occurs no matter where you live. It’s also all about creating the right ambience and bringing together people who add to your sense of community, joy and gratitude.
Our menu for the full flower moon supper features early greens and edible flowers from the gardens. It’s not hard to find them, but if you are without a garden, specialty grocery stores or farmers’ markets will have seasonal greens and maybe even some early florals to add to your menu to make it special.
We served canapéson a long board beneath our beautiful elm tree. To start your night, find a spot in your garden or home that acts as a focal point or gathering spot. Serve some delicious finger foods and offer a welcoming glass of wine or special spring cocktail. Ours was an Elderflower Collins garnished with a sprig of mint in bloom.
Prepare your full moon feast with whatever works for your guests and your home—have fun with decor and finding fresh greens and flowers to work with—but no matter where your celebration is, candles, flowers and greenery are always a beautiful addition to the meal. A full moon celebration is a time to connect with our earth, abundance, all that we have. Enjoy this evening and the process of preparing a delicious meal for your guests.
I’m Danielle French, founder and owner of South Pond Farms. South Pond was founded in 2008 as a small food delivery business. I would grow food in my garden, make prepared meals and deliver them all over the GTA. Since then, the farm has been slowly restored and converted into a culinary destination, offering special events, weddings, workshops and corporate retreats all set in our restored century barn in the rolling hills of rural Ontario. My vision is to create a connection to the land, the food we grow and prepare in our kitchen to bringing people together.