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Elegant Farm-to-Table Dining at Just Right Farm

Farm to Table dinners

The Summer House at Just Right Farm

It’s hard to think of the South Shore without conjuring endless beaches. But a bit inland and south the area opens into vast fields, bogs, and woods that stretch into deep countryside.

How surprising to find fine dining in an area like this, then again, how appropriate to eat where food is grown.

This is the idea behind Kimberly and Mark Russo’s new farm-to-table dinners – staged at their Plympton farm in an elegant, screened-in summerhouse 20 paces from their kitchen.

In case you’ve missed this phenomenon, family farms across the country have been hosting dinners in their fields, barns, and kitchens for a while now. The meals are prix fixe, single seating events that feature locally sourced foods, many of which are grown on the farm.

Since buying the 10-acre Just Right Farm in 2004, the Russo’s have been restoring the old place to reflect their belief in weaving simple rural ways back into contemporary life. They’ve built a large organic garden; a workshop where Kimberly makes furniture; a labyrinth for contemplative walking where Mark holds retreats; a restaurant caliber kitchen; and most recently, the stand-alone screen house.

Mark, a veterinarian, helps host the Friday and Saturday evening dinners but they are clearly Kimberly’s baby. Working with one other cook – caterer Elaine Murphy who this year closed her True Blue BBQ stand in Kingston — Kim devises each week’s menu from her garden and what’s available from area – and regional – farms.

“We don’t go to the grocery store,” says Kimberly, who has owned two small restaurants and worked in the industry all her adult life.

There is nothing in the screened-in dining room that is not both utilitarian and beautiful. Kimberly built the three, 10-foot wooden tables that seat a total of 24 guests for each five-course dinner ($100 per person). Made from ash, they are stained black and set with tall sparkling gas lanterns, flowers, small salt and pepper cellers, and simple white porcelain plate ware. Three handmade sideboards of rough-hewn wood and iron pipe — left over from the kitchen renovation — easily hold towering flower arrangements and various family-style side dishes. Ceiling fans keep the air moving and a rich mahogany floor shines darkly. Only the billowing white drapes gathered in the corners are for show alone: Who would want to block out the surrounding woods?

Main course at Just Right Farm

One side is better than the next

Eating vegetables that Kimberly grew – and cooked – at a table she made, in a building she designed, makes a statement.

Sitting eight to a table promotes a fun communal experience, but the seating is so spacious it’s perfectly comfortable to be private if you’d prefer. The service is marked by a similar balance of availability and reserve. Kimberly greets guests before dinner with a quick talk about the place, introduces the servers thoughtfully, then retreats to her kitchen. Throughout the meal, either a server or Mark introduces every dish, explaining where the foods were sourced.

In this the inaugural season of 16 weekends, Kimberly and company have their act together. Minutes after the 7 p.m. start time and Kimberly’s welcome, the servers deliver a taste from the chef – the tiniest, exquisite amuse bouche: a square of feta cheese (Falls Village, Conn.) from goats at a farm the couple knows well and tiny bites of roasted cherry tomato and eggplant from the garden.

The first course follows effortlessly despite a torrential downpour that only makes things cozier: delicious briny wild blue mussels (Jonesboro, Maine) atop a lovely linguini in cream sauce.

A vividly scarlet chilled beet soup with a dollop of crème fraiche comes next: beautiful and delicious.

It’s a homey touch to offer a pristine white bowl of brightly colored pickled veggies on the sideboard next to loaves of bread from Plymouth’s wood-fired Hearth bakery. I take spoonfuls of sweet onion, uncoiling in small bites, and my neighbor takes turnips. And the simplest thing is to die for: rosemary-flavored butter!

Course three is a composed salad on a narrow plate that makes the most of Just Right’s farm garden: There are long, thin ribbons of cucumber arranged in curls; red, yellow, and roasted tomatoes in all their ripe glory; fingerling potatoes, as small as grapes, sitting on a smear of aioli, and the babiest of carrots, cut lengthwise, looking like perfect candies in the soft light.

“Intermezzo,” says our server, as she comes around with an unexpected scoop of perfumey green tea and mint sorbet to refresh the palate.

The main course is bountiful. A pan seared pork rib chop (Radham, N.Y.), topped with slices of grilled rosemary peaches (Plympton), lies over a pile of outstanding grits with feta that has people who say they don’t like grits swooning. The plate is full of sides, one better than the next: slices of heirloom tomatoes; a fabulous kale and cabbage slaw dressed with a bit of smoky bacon fat; and sweet corn cut from the cob.

Guests linger over a fluffy, perfectly sweet and sour round of lemon mascarpone topped with candied orange rind and sided with some syrupy blueberries (Dummerston, Vt.) and two of the best shortcake cookies ever. Coffee (Newton) in French presses appears on the sideboards as Kimberly comes into the dining room again. After introducing Murphy as the woman “to blame if you liked the cooking,” she goes from person to person offering slivers of a second dessert: a wonderful dark chocolate tart. Too much!

Don’t miss this place.

140 Palmer Rd., Plympton
Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m., from June 15 to Sept. 29, by reservations only
781 936-5330
Accessible to the handicapped
Major credit cards accepted