Ashten’s Annual Farmer’s Dinner at Riley’s Ranch!

Riley’s Ranch was honored to be chosen as this year’s location for the Annual Farmer’s Dinner

  by Ashten’s Restaurant of Southern Pines, NC !


Every year, Ashten’s owner/Chef Ashley Van Camp caters a gourmet dinner to honor all the local farmers who provide the delicious produce, meats, seafood and eggs for her restaurant in Southern Pines, NC, that make dining at Ashten’s an amazing culinary experience.


Ashley Van Camp, Owner/Chef of Ashten’s Restaurant and Ashten’s A’Field of Southern Pines, NC


Over the past year, we have forged a great relationship with Ashley and Chef Hannon as one of their local sources for heritage, whey-fed pork and heritage free range eggs, with regular orders for our Large Black hogs and weekly orders for Riley’s Ranch heritage eggs.  Riley’s Ranch Cowboy pork chops are featured on the specials menu when available. Chef Hannon does all the expert butchering himself, curing and smoking his own bacon from our hogs, and making his own sausage with our tasty whey-fed, pasture raised heritage pork without added hormones or antibiotics.

Here are Chef Matt Hannon and Chef Jimi Ardinger braving the rigors of cooking outdoors with David’s big wood fired grill with our heritage chickens grazing underfoot without a single complaint.


Chef Hannon and Chef Ardinger of Ashten’s Restaurant


They served up a wonderful fall menu of delicious smoked brisket rubbed with several mystery ingredients (including lots of coffee, I learned!), tender pulled pork, roasted chicken, fresh baked bread with homemade apple butter, bourbon collards, fall salad, roasted butternut squash, guinea terrine—-all sourced locally, from many of the farmers attending the dinner.

It was an enchanted evening under the Riley’s Ranch pines, the long table set up right behind the barn next to the cattle pastures, with heritage chickens for dining companions and our Shorthorn cattle, Large Black and Tamworth hogs and “Blackworth” piglets close by.



FarmDinnerHayRide             David gave us a fun (and slightly scary) hayride  before dinner through the pastures to meet the cattle and through the woods of the farm as night fell, and when we returned we headed back behind the barn to the long dinner table decorated with wildflowers and glowing with votive candles and lanterns.  Music filled the night air, provided by our favorite local acoustic guitarist and vocalist, Allen Ashdown.



We hosted more than 50 people: Ashten’s farmers and their spouses, local foodies, leaders of the growing local farm to table movement, and many loyal Ashten’s fans. We enjoyed delicious gourmet food, fresh air, good company, moonlight and perfect fall weather—what a perfect combination.


After dinner some folks followed the path lined with garden lights down to the new bonfire pit set into the slope overlooking our two ponds.  David finished building the retaining wall and bonfire pit in the nick of time for the party, bringing load after load of huge creek stones up from our creek. One of the stones was about 4,000 lbs!DavidStone

Look for an article about  Ashten’s Farmer’s Dinner at Riley’s Ranch with great photos in the November edition of Pinestraw Magazine.

More info about Ashten’s Restaurant of Southern Pines, NC here:

farm dinnerMelandDavid

David and Melanie Riley, owners of Riley’s Ranch, with one of Melanie’s favorite heritage Buff Orpington hens.