Sunday, October 16, 2011

Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner

Outstanding in the Field is a roving culinary adventure~~

From their website-
"Our mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.

Outstanding in the Field is a roving culinary adventure – literally a restaurant without walls. Since 1999 we have set the long table at farms or gardens, on mountain tops or in sea caves, on islands or at ranches. Occasionally the table is set indoors: a beautiful refurbished barn, a cool greenhouse or a stately museum. Wherever the location, the consistent theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table.

Ingredients for the meal are almost all local (sometimes sourced within inches of your seat at the table!) and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. After a tour of the site, we all settle in: farmers, producers, culinary artisans, and diners sharing the long table."

The Gardener and I recently attended our first "Outstanding in the Field" farm dinner.  The dinner was held on the grounds of the beautiful, historic Woodland Farm in Goshen, KY (about a 3 hour drive for us).  I've been "stalking" this group for a couple of years - trying to decide if I wanted to make a 5 (or more) hour drive to attend one of these dinners.  When this years dates and locations presented with a rare visit to Kentucky - I jumped at the chance to purchase tickets and make plans to attend.  (When the tickets go on sale - you have to buy them quickly!  They can sell out in a matter of days - sometimes hours!)  I had been eagerly waiting for months for this day to arrive~~

From their website-
"Woodland Farm, owned by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, is a working farm in Goshen, Kentucky with historical roots and a sustainable vision. The 1000-acre farm is home to many heritage breeds of livestock, including American Buffalo, and has several large gardens that use sustainable best practices."
"From raising bison on grass pastures to using best practices in the garden, sustainability is practiced farm-wide. The farm’s lumber is harvested from its own forests, and sustainable biofuel is used for farm implements. Gardeners at the farm use sustainable practices such as no-till growing methods and picking insects from plants by hand. As horticulturalist Stephanie Tittle says, “We don’t use any -ides. No pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides.” It’s slow, hard work, but once you taste a fresh-picked fruit or vegetable from Woodland, you’ll understand what the fuss is about." 

Come along with the Gardener and me to this beautiful historic farm situated on the banks of the Ohio River.  The reception starts promptly at 3 pm - so dress casually (I'm wearing jeans), and lets go see what all the buzz is about with these "Outstanding in the Field " dinners~~

The Reception

The View from the Front Yard

The amazing appetizers were prepared on the side porch of this civil war era house. 
My favorite appetizer - the fried okra with malt vinegar mayo

 The reception lasted for about 2 hours during which we were welcome to leisurely walk around and take photos.  After the reception there was an informal tour of the farm - guests were  invited to speak to some of the people who worked on the farm and learn more about the farms sustainable practices.  

Come along with us on a leisurely farm tour~

My primary focus in attending this dinner was for one reason ~~ I wanted to see that famous TABLE!!  Outstanding in the Field is famous for their L O N G tables that are set in unique places - like orchards, and riverbanks, and beaches - and cornfields.    Are you hungry yet?  Look closely - the table is at the top of this hill - right against the cornfield - come on lets go!  (I want to take pictures before the crowd gets there!)

Here we are - and we beat the crowd- yea!!  Lets go take some photos~

The tradition of the plates~~ one of the fun and interesting features of this farm dinner is that guests are ask to bring their own plates.  The appearance of this long farm table set with different and colorful plates lends added character to this most unique dinner. 

 The Gardener had no idea what to expect when we set out to attend this dinner.  He had never heard of this organization and knew nothing about what this experience would be like.   He was so excited to see this amazing table!

Chef Michael Paley from the famed Louisville restaurant Proof on Main was the guest chef for the farm dinner.  All ingredients were from local farms and the final portion of the meals were prepared on site~
(in this green tent at the end of the cornfield!)

From the Outstanding in the Field website-
"Ingredients for the meal are almost all local (sometimes sourced within inches of your seat at the table!) and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. After a tour of the site, we all settle in: farmers, producers, culinary artisans, and diners sharing the long table."

They just rang the dinner bell - we need to go get our own plates and take our seats at the table - it's almost time for dinner! 

The wine (fabulous!!!) is from a local vineyard - the Horseshoe Bend Vineyard and Winery in Willisburg, Ky.  They offered several different wines over the course of the evening, but I stayed with this one because it was so good - (Riesling 2010).

  Our plates are from one of my vintage collections. 

The Menu

 The first course - "Last Summer Bean Salad".   If they had served nothing else I would have been totally satisfied - it was the best salad ever!   All the food is served family style - and the servings are plentiful~

 Emily - our server for the evening.  She took really good care of us! 

 Soon after our dinner started, the evening sun began to cast those wonderful golden glows.  Can you see this beautiful reflection in my wine glass? 

 The second course - Milk Braised Duncan Farms Rabbit with Roman gnocchi, celery, nutmeg, and lemon.  Absolutely to die for!  The rabbit was supplied by the Sarah Duncan farm in Boston, Ky.  I actually sat next to Sarah and her husband - nicest folks ever!  

Can you see the beautiful glow on the river behind us?  Is this just not a magnificent place for a farm dinner?  (That's Sarah sitting next to me - she owns the rabbit farm.)

The last dinner course - Grilled beef short ribs, sweet potato ravioli with sage, mushrooms, and brown butter.   The beef was raised on Woodland Farms. (I am going to be honest here and say that I could not get past the fabulous Sweet Potato ravioli - so I did not actually eat the beef.  The Gardener however, thought it was wonderful!)

Sunset over the bend in the Ohio River.  The evening view from our seat at the table was nothing short of magnificent~

 Evening glow at the table  just as the moon is starting to show~

 Playing with our cameras - we captured the moon's reflection through the wine glass.

Dessert - apple toffee bread pudding with bourbon caramel whipped cream~~ (there are no words- it was unbelievable!)

 The evening is soon drawing to a close~

 Our last few minutes at the table of this totally amazing farm dinner.  Have you enjoyed your trip here?  Do I not take you to the best places?  

If you are interested in attending your own Outstanding in the Field farm dinner - a word to the wise~~ Buy your tickets early - preferably the very day they go on sale - most venues  sell out incredibly fast- sometimes within hours!

Coming up next - a little yarn preview of the newest designer nest. You don't want to miss this!   (It is going to be a few weeks before we get back to the National Parks tour - there is lots going on here in the Sacred Yarn Room right now- hint, hint!)   

ps - (sorry for the long post~) 


Lululiz said...

Oh Vicki, I don't know whether I should love you or hate you, lol, you show us the most amazing places, and I can't get to them!!! This must have been such an amazing experience, the atmosphere must have been quite incredible. Beautiful setting, fabulous food and wines, and good company. I am just amazed at the whole concept. And of course the photographs are as great as ever.

PoetessWug said...

Thanks for taking us along for the meal, there no 'doggie bag' for us?! ^_^

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

OMG!! This looks like an absolutely fabulous evening!! Thank you for taking us along! Only wish I could have tasted that food, too! LOL! blessings ~ Tanna

Lois Evensen said...

You don't have to be sorry about the long post! I loved every bit of it! What a wonderful adventure in eating. :) Thank you for sharing your wonderful images.

We just love our drives through Kentucky and your views of the Ohio River remind me of home in Cincinnati.

All the best from Port Canaveral,

dreamchallenge said...

Oh no it is not too long. The pictures and your words are amazing. Thank you for sharing. J

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Wow! From your pictures, the word "outstanding", does not do it justice. What a marvelous experience that must have been. There is no better ambience than the outdoors, and that was superb!

Whimsey Creations said...

Vicki girlfriend - you need to take that ps off your post! I loved the long post and all the pictures - yum and beautiful! This has been on my bucket list since I first saw an article about them. Thanks for the reminder and the wonderful tour!

Days at Buttermilk Cottage said...

Occasionally I have had evenings in my life I call "magic nights."
because they are so special. I think you had a magic night with the farm dinner. It looks absolutely spectactular! The setting is so beautiful and right. The food sounds incredible. Re seeing the "beautiful glow on the river," I see it AND I see the beautiful glow on you and The Gardener. Did you ever count how many were actually seated at that table? Wonderful post. Perfection!

knitalatte said...

What an amazing event. I'd never heard of it before this. I really enjoyed your tour of a most incredible dining experience. Love all your pictures! Looking forward to seeing whats been going on in the yarn room.

yaya said...

I loved all the pics! I really got a great feel of what the day held for you and what a beautiful for the food...are you kidding me? It looked too fabulous for words. What a fun thing to do. Thanks for letting me enjoy the day with you! Have a great would be hard to top this however!

MosaicMagpie said...

There is nothing like a beautiful fall day in Kentucky. Thank you for sharing with everyone our state.
The dinner looked amazing and so much fun! I have never heard of this group and these dinners before.
Not only do you take great photos you know the scoop on all the happening things!

Anonymous said...

Please. Do not EVER apologize for a long post. You have taken me places I have never been and probably will never have the opportunity to go. The photographs and your elequent words make for such a wonderful journey. Thank you. I absolutely love how you can get that camera of yours to "talk" to you. Magnificant pictures. I'm with you on "the table" - wow. That in itself is worth the trip. For sure. I just love it and it's so much more fabulous in its setting, isn't it? You're one lucky girl, you know that?

Retired Knitter said...

Wow what an amazing event, amazing pictures, amazing food, and amazing table.

Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Andrea said...

That was just amazing!!!!! So beautiful. I would love to have been there. Have a great week!

Katie said...

love this post. we have a farm here that does "dinner in the field not quite this scale, but a lovely evening nonetheless. love your blog. have a blog award for you. please stop by to pick it up!".

Mila said...

No apologize Vicki, pls! I love each word, each peek that I read and saw!
I discover the American county just for your wonderful post!
Thanks for sharing!
Mila :)

Dorthe said...

Dear Vicki, this must have been fabolous- just those surroundings, and then also to have that fantastic dinner served in Gods beautiful nature.
Everything looks lovely- and you two so happy.
Thanks for bringing me with you, sweet friend. Your photoes are amazing as alwayes.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Vicki dear, I was SO WITH YOU through all of this. I have always wanted to atted one of these. That long, long table all set with white linen, the reflections in the glass, the joy on your beautiful face.

Loved the pic of you snapping the photo.

You are a shining star to us!



Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I looked this up and found that one was given very close to my home in 2010. I am hoping they return here in 2012. I see also that there are a few of these celebrations in the Santa Cruz California area. We go there every year, so maybe we can arrange our trip around this. Thank you for telling us about this fabulous dinner. However, I am hoping that if we can go, rabbit will not be on the menu. We had pet rabbits when my children were growing up and could never eat something that resembled Annabelle, Geraldine and Louie.

Donna said...

Looks like just a fabulous experience, Vicki!! Down to every! Even the sunset looks perfect. I bet it all tasted amazing. Hopefully it never rains on this event. How often do they have it??

A Scattering said...

Vicki, your amazing photos brought me right to the table. I swear I watched the sun go down sitting right next to you. Thank you for all the journeys you share with us. We are all richer for it. Elaine

Linda Carole Bloom said...

What a wonderful experience! Thanks so much for sharing. A beautiful photos too! Love, Linda

Jenny Schouten Short said...

Vicki, this is incredible. I would love to taste all the different dinners. It is a great post and took a lot of your time. Thanks for sharing. xo Jenny

Sandie said...

That was absolutely amazing!
Thank you so much for sharing!

Sandie xx

Fine Bessot said...

Quel moment inoubliable vous avez vécu.
On sent l'amour de la Terre et le partage sur vos photos.

Translation :
Which unforgettable moment you lived.
We feel the love of the Earth and the sharing (?) on your photos.

myriamkreativ said...

Hi Vicki,
waht a fantastic idea. I hope you enjoyed it very much. I love to eat outside. And the sunset seems fantastic. I hope you have a bit more of free time after the busy work.
Hugs Myriam

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Oh how fabulous!! Vicki, thank you for taking us on your dinner tour; I've always wanted to do one but Dave thinks I'm crazy so we haven't...yet -smile-. What wonderful food, beautiful surroundings and great people...just fabulous!

sophie...^5 said...

Vicki...I am stunned at the beauty and abundance with what you enjoyed at this beautiful place....excuse me while I go over this again!!!

Sea Angels said...

Goodness I am going to have to read all this you look fabulous too so pretty and well...and that evening ..what a super treat..I need to look at all of this again and really absorb your lovely time.
So pleased for you xxx
Hugs Lynn xxx

Lili said...

First of all, you look darlin' as ever and I had to laugh at you snapping that pic of your reflection in the window! What a truly magical event you attended and I loved watching it all unfold before us from that gorgeous glowing sunset into nightfall. You DO bring us to the best places ever Vicki. xoxo ~Lili

elvira pajarola said...

Carissima Vicky.....I just look and look and look and I am truly fascinated by this outrageous glorious loooooooong table in the magic countryside with all the happenings around....!!!!

What a JOY to live an outdoor dinner in such an original way and in such a wonderful seems paradise.....sooooo beautiful!!!

What a place: all natural and bio.....SUPER ...I admire these farmers doing bio-'s magnificient!!!

I bet the dinner was so very delicious; outside in the fresh air...!!!!

You shot gorgeous photos; a wonderful composition and I felt as I was one of the guests...ah, yes....!!!!!!
I LOVE your selfportrait's so qute!!!!

What a great inspiration too; let's do a autumn-early-dinner in the garden with an (almost) so loooong table & lots of friends.....& of course with YOU, cara Vicky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


ciao ciao elvira

T's Daily Treasures said...

Wow Vicki! That is an amazing dinner. The whole idea of it is just fantastic. I've actually heard of this in the UK but did not know about it in the States. Since I am not a meat eater, that bean salad and the sweet potato ravioli would have been enough for me, with wine of course, and that scrumptious desert. You really do take part in the most interesting activities and see the most fabulous places. Hope your week is great. Tammy

mary said...

Such a beautiful evening and one I'm sure you will never forget. How wonderful! Jeff and I have eaten at Proff on Main many times. Michael Paley and his staff are the best! You MUST stop by for a meal. The restaurant/bar is amazing! SO MUCH FUN!

Bumpkin Bears said...

what a breathtakingly magical place, oh my gosh those views and oh those horses - what a dream! I can't think of a more perfect place for dinner, well worth the drive! Hugs, Catherine xx

sophie...^5 said...'s me are a other way of saying it...thanks so much for Sophizing your side bar....she wanted to let you know....s~l~u~r~p!!!!!!

suziqu's thread works said...

Oh Dear Vicki
Thank you just so much for taking us along that most beautiful journey for the day. Such a wonderful concept which is being adopted here too where I live. OMG what an amazing experience - I wish I could have been there with you to chat over dinner and shared the most exquisite property, food and wine. The table setting is so awesome. Everything about it I so love and made me think I could do something like that here to share the beauty we have on our 8 acres.
Love and hugs sweet and wonderful woman!

kerrie of sea cottage said...

This is incredible. I have read all about these events and would love to go someday...maybe a beachside setting. You are so beautiful in these photos. I just love your outfit and you are always glowing with a tan. Loveliness. The bean salad and sweet potato raviolis sound the best to me! I don't think I could ever eat all that food in one sitting. This is a dinner you will never forget as long as you live. I came by to tell you thank you for the comment on my christmas so encourages me. ox I just added a pine tree with a seastar on top for another choice. I will let you know when I have them listed in my shop. Or you could let me know when you want to purchase them and I can list them as 'reserved' for you! Can't wait to see what you are creating. Thank you for being such a beautiful friend.

Esme said...

Vicki this looks like such a fun experience. Next time I want to come along. You look gorgeous in these photos-you are looking very fit my friend. The scenery is gorgeous. I am going to look for one in my area.

Caprice said...

How Cool!!! I would love to do something like that! You go to the greatest places!

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

Oh my gosh, you went to one of these!! The picture I saw of their long, long table on the beach is carved in my mind (for some reason). But the country side is so stunning too. What an experience!!

sjmcdowell said...

Hi Sweet Vicki,

What an absolutely wonderful post! Looks like You and the Gardener had a a fantastic time!!
I am in love with your photos too. The glasses of wine and the moon...ahh magical indeed!
Ok you have peeked my interest once again....another Nest creation???? Please let me know about it ok??

Love, Grace and Peace,


Gabriela said...

How wonderful!I feel like I was right there with you!!!
I absolutely love the picture of your reflection on the window!!!!!

Sandi said...

I have seen these field dinners on our local PBS station and they always look so amazing!! Lucky you!!

Whitney Pannell said...

I too was at the dinner. I would have to say the setting was second to none! I really enjoyed every aspect of the evening. Here is my post and thoughts if you'd like to read it.

Lorraine@creativedaily said...

WOW, THANK YOU! This looks just amazing. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful adventure Vicki!

LuAnn Braley said...

Wow...I would so love to attend one of these. In my own state, no less! I guess we live too far off the beaten path to hear about cool stuff like this. I once informed my husband that if our town got that 2nd traffic light, we'd have to move. *LOL*