This is a story of a long table draped in white, lined with perfectly placed wooden seats, standing in the middle of a field, waiting for the guests to dine beneath flickering swallows’ tails, along-side butterflies and trailing bean vines.
Outstanding in the Field began in 1999, in Santa Cruz, California, when a man named Jim Denevan had an idea: To dine at the source on the very soil that nourished the bounty on the plate, in the company of the farmers who cultivated it. Soon San Francisco cooks were tramping out to the farms to get involved, and the al fresco/adventure dinners began to spread across the country. In 2003, Jim and Katy Oursler bought a 1953 vintage bus and started East to set up dinners anywhere beautiful and meaningful, always close if not on a farm, by local loving chefs, mostly under the open skies. Since 1999, they’ve included 180 farm dinners, including six tours of North America.
Since the North East is where I’m drooling from, I’ll give you a few examples of farm and chefs coupling for a magical night: Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm on Nantucket, Old Chatham Sheepherding Company in Old Chatham, NY, and Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH have hosted Outstanding Dinners prepared by (not necessarily at the mentioned farms) North East restaurants like Harvest in Cambridge, The Pearl on Nantucket, and Prune in New York.
So go to the website and make a reservation for a field, a winery, a cathedral, a cave of your choice. Once you arrive at your hallowed destination, you will be greeted by a glass of wine and a tour of the site by the hosts. Then you will remove to the long table to sit family-style with the other 149 guests. (The Outstanding table seats 150.) Each course will be paired with a wine selection, usually local if possible, and you will dine on the food grown if not right under your feet then very close by, by chefs trained to extract art from these fruits of the vine. You will eat and drink until the sun sets, the stars come out, and the cows come home.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said the sky is the daily bread of the eyes. Pick a date, a farm, a dinner and let your eyes feast, too.
The North American Tour list has launched, and tickets go on sale Saturday, March 20 at 12 pm EST, and typically sell out fast.
Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.