Friday, August 21, 2009

dinner in the field

For a couple of years now I have listened to my sister Katie talk about these AMAZING dinners "in the field" that she had been too. I saw the pictures of her sitting at a beautiful long table in the middle of a farm, eating an outstanding meal, touring the farm, drinking wine, it looked fabulous. I looked into the event and dreamed of attending a dinner. Finally, this past weekend, I was lucky enough.

Outstanding in the Field. It all begin with Farmer Jim, aka cute California Surfer /Chef/Artist/Farmer Jim. Jim is a chef and he was so inspired by his brother who was a farmer. Jim saw the hours his brother put into the farm, the relationship between the farmer and the chef, and he understood the love his brother had for it all at the beginning of the organic farming phenomena. Farmer Jim begin setting up small dinners in farmers field and in the natural environment of the dinner (fish was the main course, dinner was on the beach!) and had local chefs prepare the menus with the farmers themselves. Soon it grew to dinners across the country. They packed up their airstream trailer and created dinners nationwide. I was so excited to attend the 147th Outstanding in the Field in Burlington at Half Pint Farms.

It started out as a HOT night. We arrived at the farm at 3pm, but after a few glass of nice chilled white wine, it cooled us off a bit (ok, I was still sweating, but wine in hand, maybe mentally I was cooler). Farmer Jim and Katy (who is the event planner. hello! planning these dinners across the country sounds SO FUN!) gave us a little speech about the history and behind the scenes notes on some dinners. OSITF usually contacts a local restaurant and the chefs recommend the farms, then OSITF contacts the farmer, location set. We got a nice tour of the small "petite" farm from one of the owners (cute husband and wife team). They grow a lot of interesting produce on the farm and this year just had started their first live hen. Yes, we had game hen at dinner, and.....they were amazing.

After the tour, we sat down at the amazing long kings table by the field and begin dinner. Brandi and I were on the younger side of diners, but it was ok. The mix was interesting, it was nice actually. It was nice to sit by people who were all there because they had heard of it through friends or had been dying to go reading about it and most of all LOVED food. Here is how dinner went....


1. Cherry Tomato, Cucumber Salad with Feta- these tomatoes were AMAZING!

2. Heirloom Baby Lettuces, Radishes, Sherry Vinaigrette

3. Grilled Game Hen, Braised Chard, Sweet Corn, Tomato Succotash. Warm Tomato-Tarragon Vinaigrette.- um, I could have eaten the WHOLE BOWL!

4. Grilled Pork Loin, Red Wine Reduction, New Potatoes, French Beans, Colorful Carrots & Baby Squash, Tomato Potato Salad, Tomato Reduction - OK, really. These carrots and potatoes had just been picked at the farm. They were so fresh and so fabulous. I yet again, wanted the whole bowl.

5. Cream Cheese Pound cake, Summer Berries, Vanilla Bean Cream

Every course was paired with a wine. The winemakers/distributors walked around the table and discussed the wines, as well as the chefs did on the food. After 5 hours of talking about food and dining on an amazing dinner I left with a full belly and a whole new respect to the farmers. The amazing organic fine dining meal is not there without them. I completely appreciated the experience and would go back in a heart beat!!!! It was a night to remember. Thanks Farmer Jim for thinking of the concept!

Above are a few pics, including the stacks of plates that all guests ,must bring on their own;) I hope you get to attend a Field Dinner SOON! Thank you Katie for introducing me to the Farmer Jim/Outstanding in the Filed experience!


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