Outstanding in the Field: Farm to Table Dining Experience

by | Jun 22, 2018

 The Long Table Experience

The Outstanding in the Field concept of sharing a delicious meal on the actual farm that the food is produced has become a very popular destination and I can see why.

 

This authentic paddock to plate meal is a one-off dining experience like no other. Attending an Outstanding in the Field long table dining event is a great opportunity to taste the local produce  with specially matched wine from around the region.

The Big Welcome

As guests arrive they were warmly received and directed to an informal courtyard to mingle. We enjoyed welcome beverages and decadent appetizers of half-shelled oysters and shot glasses of summer squash Gazpacho.

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Marinated carrots and sugar snaps with fresh mint

 

Meet the Everett Family

The hosts, Rich and Laura and Jim, OITF founder and Eden (GM), gave informative talk. Each speaker elaborated on the history of their business and acknowledged their hardworking teams and the suppliers associated with the event. Guests were divided into two groups for an informal 30-minute stroll through the farm led by Laura Everett and the Everett Farm Manager.

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Laura, Rich and their three daughters – Hailey, Hannah and Annie.

General Manager, Eden and Jim, Founder of OITF

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Informal Farm Tour led by Laura Everett

Setting the Scene

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Some months ago, I stumbled upon Outstanding in the Field’s social media site and decided immediately to include one of their events into my 9-week US itinerary.

To me travelling is more than just visiting destinations not seen before. Travel can open many doors in life. It’s about experiencing life beyond what is normal for you and being open to new experiences and opportunities.

Attending an Outstanding in the Field event has created an abundance of beautiful memories for me to look back on.

Imagine This!

You’re aside a slow flowing creek dwarfed by tall trees; breeze gently tousling your hair; wine in hand – Are you in heaven? No, you are at an organic farm in Soquel, Santa Cruz attending one of the most exclusive pop up restaurant events this summer.

Eagerly, you make your way down the stony path towards the longest, long table you’ve ever seen. The stage is set alongside a crystal-clear creek in dappled late afternoon light. This elegant white table setting is set to accommodate 200 guests for dinner, who are about to experience a multi-course meal composed by the guest local chef, Santos Majano from an outdoor kitchen.

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Dinner is served family style, on ‘bring your own plates’, with wine paired with each savoury course. Once settled in – it’s a feast of courses.

As the platters hit the table, chatty and excitable echoes lull a little, won over by the anticipation of the flavours of the food to come.

This simple farm style fare is warmly welcomed, and Santos’s diligent day of outdoor cooking has hit the spot.

Excited conversations return to the air, and the clink of glasses welcomed each new course.

Let the Feast Begin!

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Esther Lang – Photography credit

Triangular cut wedges of house-made focaccia bread, dipping bowls of Arbequina virgin olive oil and petite saucers of Big Sur sea salt form part of the table presentation.  

Large share bowls of farm-grown leafy greens, fennel, pickled beets and last of the season asparagus, lightly splashed with tangy strawberry vinaigrette is paired with generous glasses of Birichino Vineyards Chenin Blanc. 

Large oven-baked local King Salmon fillets accompanied  by wheatberry salad, fresh herbs and grilled little gem lettuce paired perfectly with glasses of Pinot Noir.

Followed soon after by delicious Llano Seco, ‘finger-licking’ good pork ribs and grilled vegetables, Toscano kale and medium-bodied Grenache wine.

With zippers bursting and little room for anything else, desert arrives!

Grilled stone fruit, strawberry and cured Meyer lemon ice cream, cookie crumble, and local honey – we take on the challenge and eat the lot!

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Esther Lang – Photography credit

The Feast Is Over!

On the completion of the feast, everyone is feeling somewhat full and relaxed wearing a warm wine glow. Guests begin to discuss how much fun they have had and who is in charge of organising the next Outstanding in the Field experience.

Jim, thanks the hosts and chef, and promises guests that there will be another Everett Family Farm Outstanding in the Field event in the not to distant future.

As the sun goes down and nightfall sets in, it is time to waddle up the creek bank past the garden beds of sleeping vegetables. Sadly all good things must come to an end.

Wow, what an amazing dinner with great food, good company and a few hours of  stimulating conversations and laughter with total strangers. The joys of being the Progressive Traveller! 

Bring Your Own Plate!

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Since the first Outstanding in the Field dinner, guests have been encouraged to bring their own plates. This tradition continues to thrive and forms part of the dining experience. The origin of these plates begin table conversations, many with very interesting stories.  

On arrival, guests put their treasured plates on a pallet marked ‘yours”. These plates are transported down to the long table, incorporating a homely touch.

For travellers like us, there is a second pallet marked ‘Ours”.  Guests from overseas and interstate or guests who chose not to bring a plate are happily provided with one of these.

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Birichino Vineyards Winemaker

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#OITF Reservations

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The Outstanding in the Field Culinary Caravan

Check out the 2018 Tour Schedule here!

Tickets start at $225 per person (plus a ticketing service fee and sales tax). This includes welcome drinks and appetizers, farm tour, four courses with wine pairings, and all gratuities. The number of guests at an event vary based on the location. On average they range from 100-200 guests.

Events typically start at 4:00pm and run for 4.5 – 5 hours from start to finish.

About The Chef

Prior to opening ‘The Kitchen at Discretion‘, in 2014, Chef Majano had been the Executive Chef at Soif Wine Bar, Santa Cruz.  Before that, he cooked at two-Michelin-starred Cyrus, Healdsburg and Artisan in Paso Robles. He is a 15-year veteran of the restaurant industry, where his restaurant roots developed on the family farm in in El Salvador. Santos has a deep respect for seasonal, local ingredients and the farmers who grow them influences the food he produces.

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About The Everett Family Farm

About Outstanding In The Field

Rich and Laura started Everett Family Farm not only to provide great organic produce for their community but to provide a beautiful healthy environment to raise their three daughters – Hailey, Hannah and Annie.

They purchased the farm from third generation farmers and have done a lot to preserve and protect the land and surrounding riparian areas. They are proud members of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), becoming certified growers in 2001.

Rich and Laura have really focused on and expanded the fruit orchards. They even have “his” and “hers” orchards: Laura focuses on heirloom apples for cider making, and Rich on the popular ‘Honey Crisp.’ variety. The farm produces an assortment of fruits and vegetables together with happy chooks and curious goats.

The world’s first pop-up restaurant – in a farm field. Outstanding In The Field was founded in 1999 by artist and chef Jim Denevan.

Outstanding in the Field was intended as a radical intervention to stale dining conventions. Rather than source ingredients and bring them to the restaurant, they create a restaurant at the source. Guests dine at one long table between earth and sky; where the farmer’s story is recognised and celebrated.

Inspired by this original idea, the Outstanding in the Field culinary caravan has visited all 50 states in the U.S. and 15 countries around the globe. Hundreds of the world’s most honoured chefs have cooked in the field kitchen. OITF’s roving restaurant without walls has no boundaries and can be placed wherever good food comes from.

“The fondest memories are made when gathered around the table with family and friends. 

Author Unknown

If you enjoyed this blog, check out my other USA blogs. Here's a few:

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