I know it’s only April, but I am so ready for the new growing season. It’s still a full month before the local farmer’s market will open. To get myself ready I’ve been reading up on the farm-to-table movement. I know from my own experience how much better food is when it’s eaten only minutes or hours after it comes from the ground.
There is a trend, new to me anyway, that goes a step beyond the farmers markets and CSAs. I’m talking about the trend to bring the restaurant to the farm. Here’s one of the books I’ve been reading:
by Jim Denevan with Marah Stets
Published by Clarkson/Potter
Summary from the book jacket:
Instead of bringing food to guests in a traditional restaurant setting, Jim Denevan brings diners to their food, creating what Alice Waters has called “the restaurant I always imagined.” His innovative organization, Outstanding in the Field, sets up dinner tables in fields, ranches, dairies, vineyards, and community gardens across the country for alfresco meals that truly reconnect us with the land and people that produce our food.
The book talks about the program but it’s primarily a cookbook of the various dishes that have been prepared at the organization’s special dinners. The food is natural, straight from the farm’s fields, but with a decidedly gourmet bent. Here’s a sample menu:
Goat Cheese Crostini with Sweet Pea Pesto
Carmelized Carrot Salad
Fresh Lamb Sausage and Lamb Kidneys
Stewed Fava Bean and Mint
Green Garlic and Potato Gratin
Mixed Berry Tart with Meyer Lemon Pastry Cream
Recipes for each of those dishes are in the book along with about one hundred additional ones. Menus for actual dinners in the field I’m sure will vary because of the local foods available at the time of the dinner.
Jim Denevan’s organization has an active schedule, serving dinners in various locations around the U.S. I checked his 2011 schedule here: Outstanding In the Field.
I saw that one of the group’s events would be in a town near me and I really thought it would be fun to go. Unfortunately, there were two negatives attached to that event: One is that it was already sold out and Two, it cost $200 per person. When I told my husband that a special dinner for two (including wine and a tour of the farm) would cost us only $400, well, I’ll let you imagine the look on his face.
Needless to say, it’s probably a good thing that event is sold out. I think I’ll be trying some of the recipes in this high-class cookbook. It’s not the same as having someone else cook for me, but still an excellent food experience. I’ll keep you posted.
I’m wondering – Has anyone reading this post attended a meal with Outstanding In the Field or a similar group? Tell us about your experience.
This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature at Beth Fish Reads. Click the button below and it will take you there.