Tag Archives: farm

Outstanding In The Field

11 Feb

Outstanding In The Field

The Farm to Table movement has been afoot for some time now.  One of the early adopters to this movement, and one who has taken it on the road so to speak is “Outstanding in the Field” and its founder Jim Denevan.  The idea that Jim brought about, with the help of  his brother Bill Denevan, a pioneering organic grower in California, was to bring farmers and regular producers out of the field and to Gabriella Cafe in Santa Cruz, California, where Jim was Chef, and to have them explain the food they raised.   These “farmer dinners” began back in 1998.

In the field at Allandale Farm, Brookline

After a number of seasons of successful farmer dinners, the realization that the experience could be turned around and brought to the farm directly came in 2003 when a red and white bus was purchased and the show was taken on the road.

Jim Denevan, in cowboy hat, and Allandale Farmer John Lee

Outstanding In The Field (OITF) came to Boston in 2008 under dark skies and a storm watch for the region.  The group visited the last farm within the city limits, Allandale Farm in Boston, where Chef and founder Jim Denevan partnered with Chef Mary Dumont of Harvest in Cambridge, and farmer John Lee.  Apparently Chef Dumont worked at Gabriella Cafe with Jim before leaving the front of the house to pursue her passion in the kitchen, and the event was a great success despite the dark skies.

Island Creek Oysters started out the night

The boys from Island Creek Oysters came up from Duxbury and did some shucking, and a tour of the farm was organized.

Touring Allandale Farm

Table seating outside at the farm

Chef Jim and Chef Mary Dumont of Harvest go over the menu

Chef and Founder Jim telling farm stories late into the night

And walking away at the end of the night

Susan and I had a great time, despite the fresh striped bass (Susan isn’t much for fish, though I enjoyed it).  It was a great way to feel connected to the farm community and to meet and speak with locals who share the same love of food and the outdoors as I do.

Tour dates and tickets for Outstanding in the Field 2011 go on sale March 20, 2011, but you can sign up for a newsletter/email blast on their home page, or following them on twitter.   Think about it while you contemplate shoveling snow for another couple of months.  Spring will come.

Remember, Food is Love!

Cheers,

Justin

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Mise En Place

6 Feb

Brother Arnold weeding the corn field

This weeks Mise En Place is from the opposite end of the culinary spectrum than what I’ve put up recently. When you shop locally for the food you bring to your table, it comes from places where people are dedicated, hard working, and passionate about what they do, small local farms.  If you look closer, and have the chance, you have the opportunity, like I did a number of years ago to see an even tighter food circle … where those that are doing the farming are actually providing for themselves.

The United Society of Believers, commonly called the Shakers, was founded in 1747, in Manchester, England, and later came to America in search of freedom of religion.  The Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community, in New Gloucester, Maine was founded in 1783, and is the only surviving active Shaker community in the world.   A number of years ago I had the chance to spend a bit of time with the six remaining (at that point) Shakers, and these few photos are from that wonderful experience.  Today Sabbathday Lake is the only active Shaker Community, and they still strive to live a life of work and worship, fulfilling the motto of the Shaker founder, Mother Ann, to “put our hands to work and hearts to God.”

Sister Frances in the community kitchen

Brother Arnold, right, and Brother Wayne moving a ewe from the barn

Sister Francis, in the above photo, passed away a number of years ago at the age of 81, and Brother Wayne, on the left above, has left the Shakers, after 26 years with the society. You can read about that story in the Boston Globe.

Thanks for taking a look.

Remember, Food is Love!

Cheers,

Justin