Clifton Felsted, owner of Lay Nay Ferme
“I’m not a real farmer.”
Those are the first words out of Clinton Felsted’s mouth when asked about his small Utah County farm, La Nay Ferme.
“But I do love food,” he adds.
Felsted studied computer science at BYU and started a software company the day he graduated. After a few years, he retired and turned his attention to his passion.
“I started by volunteering at a farm in Orem. I gained confidence that I could do it.” In the summer of 2011, Felsted found the land. He started La Nay on April 12 of last year.
Right now, La Nay is a mere five acres. Felsted says he plans to focus on the small plot until it’s perfect. “Then I have access to another seven acres.” His dreams are bigger than his acreage: He planted 60 fruit trees last year and started a CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) group that works by selling customers shares of a farm’s produce.
His goal is to support 200 shares; right now he has 50 shareholders, but he dreams big. “I want a boutique hotel with a restaurant supplied by the farm. “This dinner came about because I wanted people to be there on my farm to eat. I want it to be a destination. “
The Big Idea
Chefs built the fire pit themselves from cinder blocks
Clinton Felsted had no specific ideas in mind when he asked Josh and Becky Rosenthal to plan an event at his farm, La Nay Ferme. “I just wanted to share my dream with others,” he says. Impressed by Felsted’s story of leaving the business world to concentrate on Utah farming, Josh and Becky conceived a gathering of similarly inspired people. “All these immensely talented people, who could live anywhere they liked, chose to live in Utah because they love it,” says Josh. He and his wife Becky have also chosen a life in Utah and have made it their business to celebrate the bounty of the Beehive via Becky’s food blog, Vintage Mixer, and their event company SLCMixers
Guests sipped homemade mead and toured the farm and greenhouses before sitting down to dinner
No plumbing. No electricity. No gas. No fireplace. It sounds like the downfall of a dinner party, a setting so daunting most hosts would skip it. Instead, party-givers rented a trailer to haul in 16 cinder blocks for the fire pit, bags of charcoal briquettes, a table that could seat 20, plus chairs, kerosene, lanterns and candles. Viet Pham and Bowman Brown—virtuoso chef-owners of Utah's most cutting-edge restaurant, Forage—and the chef de cuisine, Luke Fowles, were invited to cook. “We didn't have to bring in plates,” says Becky, “because we asked each guest to bring their own, preferably one with a story behind it.”
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