Outstanding in the Field: Most Beautiful Edible Experience of a Lifetime

Finally, now that I’m mildly caught up on blogging, I can freak-out over this epic experience that was Outstanding in the Field.

It crossed my radar thanks to a friend/co-worker/boss (Hi, Joseph!). When he told me about these events, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head… A giant table in the middle of a field? Drinking incredible wine, eating incredible food – all amongst the most gorgeous locations across the WORLD?! Whoa. I so want that.

Of course – beauty doesn’t always come cheap in this world, nor does it come without a little old fashioned competition. My friend urged me to hover over the site until they released tickets. It wasn’t until I was alone – at night – pretty drunk – that I actually let myself get a pair. “You did what, that costs what?!” my partner exclaimed. Oh, and, oops, it was over PRIDE WEEKEND no less. We? Were bad gays this year. But I have no regrets – not even for a moment. We rented a car, got a cheap hotel room in Santa Cruz (that effed up our reservation and almost didn’t let us stay there, but that’s another story), then drove out to Everette Family Farm. It wouldn’t be the first time the bug to become a farmer has bit me and it surely did again here. Their spot is perfect, just a few miles outside Santa Cruz and in this sunny valley filled with trees and a bubbling creek.

The Everettes are lovely. They’ve owned the farm for a few years and have been dedicated to making a living as small-scale organic food producers. They amaze me. They luckily have a good-sized apple orchard, not to mention a good-sized client for their apples (Martinelli’s Apple Juice Co.). They do a fare business at the farmers’ markets around Santa Cruz and have a few restaurant accounts as well. Not to mention the most adorable road-side stand I’ve ever seen. Can you tell I’m in love with these people?

So they hosted the thing, which they have done for four or five years. Neither they nor the Outstanding in the Field director could remember. Now meet – Jim Denevan – founder and creative master-mind behind this foodie circus. I only spent a few hours with this guy, amongst 100+ diners, but he’s a solid force, no question. His visions are huge and he’s executed so many of them into reality for us all to share. So he got this idea to pack up a few friends, drop in on farms around the country, and recruit the finest chefs in the area to throw a giant dinner party. Our version had Santa Cruz chef Santos Majano of Soif creating lovely simple dishes such as – stewed spinach, braised rabbit, mussels with garlic bread and strawberry shortcake. Apologies that I don’t have more details or photos of the food – I almost didn’t want to waste the time or energy taking all that stuff down. Plus we sat next to super nice people (Hi, Katie and Andy), and I kind of hate being that food photographer.

Did I mention that the table was on a creek bed? The water was inches from our feet – I was just dying with appreciation for life. Thank you for letting me share it here with you.

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