I was very excited for my first Outstanding in the Field dinner. I tried to get tickets last year and it sold out too quickly, I missed out. This year I booked 3 events to make up for it! I wish I could do more but our calendar is not cooperating with that idea.
So, we arrive at the event, get dropped off by a shuttle and walk through the farm and up a hill to a beautiful view of the bay and the farm. They’re wandering around with appetizers that they are preparing in front of us as well and pouring Soquel Vineyards Sauvingon Blanc…a beautiful wine after a warm walk.
The crab appetizer was my favorite: Dungeness crab with Companion Bakers sourdough crackers (it had asparagus..and other yumminess!). My husband raved about the Marinated beets with Almond ash.
We chatted with some of the other diners. Planted ourselves near the prep table so as to nab appetizers when they came out…sneaky we are ;-)
After a few announcements and introductions, we split into groups and headed out on a tour of the farm. Apples, grapes, veggies, pigs, chickens, they’ve got it all. The chickens control pests and provide fertilizer for the soil as well as eggs and meat for the CSA. They have a house full of cute little chicks and rotate the areas the full-sized chickens graze in. The pigs get moved around as well and right now the priority is shade. Poor HUGE Daisy is pregnant and looking for all the shade she can find!We continued around the farm getting the lowdown on the crop rotation, the benefits of the animals, the variety of vegetables and fruit being grown and a preview of things we were about to get on our plates.
Then we headed to the apple orchard that had been converted into a fine dining experience. The tables looked amazing. The view was breathtaking.
The other tour groups straggled in, we picked our seats and began to visit, eat, drink, question, chat, advise. We happened to end up sitting at the table with the farmers which was, of course, lovely. We learned a lot and just had fun with them in general.
The first dishes to come out was grilled green garlic with artichokes and wilted fava leaves, charred shallots, and smoky fava beans. All really wonderful. I especially enjoyed the wilted fava leaves since this is something you normally don’t get unless you grow favas.
Next out was squid with black butter (not squid ink, brown butter pushed past brown…but not bitter or burnt flavored. I don’t know how they did that), peas, asparagus, marinated green strawberries and wood sorrel. I always push the peas aside in dishes. I like peas by themselves and raw but usually don’t like them in dishes. I ate every last one of these.
The winner of the night thought was the smoked chicken. I get chicken from my CSA every two weeks and cook one the night I pick it up. I know how much better fresh chicken is. Then add to that the chef skills of these wonderful OTF folks and it is so…chickeny! I think people have forgotten what chicken is supposed to taste like…it’s this.
Then it got dark…no more pictures. And it got late. And we had our son at the neighbors on a school night. And we still had dessert. Luckily the dessert were scrump-diddly-umptious ice creams cones from Penny Ice Creamery and we could grab one and bolt to the shuttle to get our car and head home. We got one of each flavor: rose petal and strawberry pink peppercorn. I thought the rose petal was great…until I tried the strawberry! It was even better! They really make *the* best ice cream. We were stuffed and had no problem finishing both of these!
I can’t wait for our next Outstanding in the Field event in June!