The other day, CasaSugar tipped me off to a really cool organization called Outstanding in the Field. Their whole purpose is to dine at the source, right on the fields that deliver the harvest. Back in 1999, chef Jim Denevan — who also happens to be a well-respected artist — began staging dinners at organic farms around Santa Cruz, Calif. He said:
Senses are heightened in the fresh air. And it's not every day you get to sit next to the person who planted the beans, raised the lamb, and shaped the cheese on your plate.
Once word started to spread about these dinners, everyone in the food community — including many well-respected Bay Area chefs — wanted in. Soon, there were outdoor dinners at many of the areas local farms. However, that wasn't enough. Now the folks at Outstanding in the Field take their mission on tour. They're currently working on their 2008 farm dinner schedule, but they've got the cities in place already. Dinners will be held from California to New York and at many places in between. Tickets range between $150-$200, but it includes a five course meal with wine pairings, as well as a tour of the host farm. I don't know about you, but I know I want to go to one of these!