Tonight we had the most incredible super fun experience: we participated in an Outstanding in the Field dinner.
Can I just say: WOW? After a week of being poked, prodded, stretched and contorted, the timing to relax in a beautiful environment, with delicious food and amazing people was impeccable.
Outstanding in the Field is simply that: Outstanding!
The mission of Outstanding in the Field is to reconnect diners to the land and the origins of their food as well as to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it…all at the same table.
Jim Denevan began Outstanding in the Field in 1999 after he coordinated a series of farmers’ dinners at Gabriella Cafe, a small restaurant in Santa Cruz, California, where he once worked as a chef.
Outstanding in the Field was begun as a way to provide a forum for farmers to come together for dialogue. “Farmers who were shy and generally didn’t want to talk really loved it when people were listening to them,” he has said.
The dinners grew. Over the years, more and more chefs and farmers started coming together to host alfresco meals to showcase local fare.
Outstanding in the Field describes itself as:
A roving culinary adventure – literally a restaurant without walls. Wherever the location, the consistent theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table. Long tables have been set at farms or in gardens, on mountain tops or in sea caves, on islands or at ranches.
Outstanding in the Field holds dinners from California to the tip of Long Island. From Alaska to the middle of New York City (literally). This year, they will be hosting dinners in Europe…including Ireland. Can you imagine how fun that will be?!?
Ingredients for the meal are almost all local (most sourced within inches of our seats at the table!) and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region.
Our dinner began with an afternoon adventure during which we were led on a tour of the farm with Bob Dautch (better known as B.D.) of Earthtrine Farms. He was interesting, fun and knowledgeable. What a great combination of skills and talents!
You’ll probably recognize B.D. as the man behind the table of certified organic herbs, greens, and vegetables at the Saturday and Tuesday Santa Barbara Farmer’s Markets. Since the first farmer’s market in 1972, B.D. has been there, eager to share his passion for greens and offer ideas on ways to use more unusual greens such as purslane (high in omega 3 fatty acids), fenugreek, or nettles in your meals. He gave us a sample of the purslane and it was delish!
After our tour, we all settled in to the beautiful table: farmers, producers, culinary artisans, and diners sharing the long table.
Outstanding in the Field strives to connect people to the origins of their food and the people who produce it. The event embodied the farm-to-table movement. Is there a more noble endeavor? I think not.
Our menu was extraordinary! We had wonderful appetizers to begin our evening. For dinner, we had chilled lettuce soup wiht nasturtium & arugula ice cubes (yes, ice cubes).
The next course was Erthtrine (the name of the farm) vegetable kimchi with lettuce and red basil. Super sassy…and delicious.
The third course was baja yellowtail with McGrath oranges, ginger and garlic accompanied by Dave Pommer carrot puree and tempura Earthtrine Japaese turnips with grilled sprouted broccoli. The carrot puree was amazing.
For dessert, we had pudding cake with Meyer lemon and thyme with vanilla bean whipped cream with Earthtrine Pakistani mulberries, honey and Santa Barbara pistachio nut brittle (the HOTY couldn’t get enough of the brittle!). All in all: YUM – YUM!
If you ever have the opportunity to participate in one of these experiences, I highly recommend it! Great food, fun and company. A Silver Lining trifecta!
One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright