Have you heard of Outstanding In The Field? It’s this incredible experience where you dine at an extraordinary site at a single long table set for 250 people for just that one day.
Jim Denevan, founder of Outstanding In the Field, had a vision to bring people together for a farm-to-table dinner at extraordinary destinations: at a vineyard in Burgundy, France, in a few inches of ocean water in Duxbury, MA, on a pier in Malibu, California, and many farms around the world (Canada, Chili, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Japan). The list goes on!
Yesterday afternoon, a few members of my family and I had the opportunity to attend an Outstanding In The Field dinner event at Powisett Farm in Dover, MA. My sister and her husband who purchased the tickets, unfortunately couldn’t attend, so they offered the tickets to us. It was bitter-sweet as we would have much rather enjoyed the event with them – and they would have absolutely loved it – but we had the most incredible afternoon.
We began the afternoon at 2:00pm at the main farmstead. Just outside on the lawn is where we enjoyed an hour long cocktail reception of bubbly wines and cider, freshly shucked oysters, and passed hors d’oeuvres. I apologize for not having photos of this. I was intent on experiencing the day and not spend it behind a camera, but the day proceeded to be so incredible, I couldn’t help myself.
Do you see the trees in the far distance? Just beyond those trees is where the table was set among an expansive field. If you attend an Outstanding In The Field event, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.
After cocktails, the 250 guests were given a walking tour of the farm. The fields, old barns, red tractors, goats, and pigs… oh my!
This lady came right up to us. I swear she’s smiling for the camera!
We were all taken back when we got beyond the trees and saw the 250-seat, horseshoe shaped table in the middle of the field. They had mowed a path through the wheat grass just wide enough for the table & chairs and a thin walking path on either side.
About 50 yards to the left of the table (also in the field) the chef had set up a make-shift kitchen. You can see it in the background of a later photo.
One of the traditions of Outstanding In The Field is to bring your own plate. As they say, “everyone brings something to the table”. They bring the food, you bring your plate.
When we arrived at the table, the plates for the six of us were already placed on the table together. It was fun to walk the length and find your plate so if you attend, bring a unique set of plates you’ll be able to easily recognize. Thanks go to my beautiful sister-in-law Abbey who brought six of her blue and white chinoiserie china for each of us.
And don’t worry, you won’t have to carry home a dirty plate. The staff washes them for you.
Seeing the expanse of the horseshoe shaped table was truly outstanding. The staff, some who travel the world and some who are local, were fantastic. I’m still amazed that they accommodated dietary needs and remembered which person requested them!
This was our party of six. My Dad, Mom, brother, sister-in-law, and a very close family friend.
It was fun meeting our table-mates. Some were from the town next to ours…
And some moved here from Australia!
The five course meal consisted of:
- Anchovy bread, brewers crackers, and pao de queen & olive baguette which was the most delicious gluten-free cheese bread.
- Tomato salad with burrata mozzarella.
- Wood -roasted pork shoulder with a variety of vegetables and tangy radish mayonnaise.
- Shrimp paella with rice, squash, and green curry
- Mixed berry cobbler with chunky white chocolate
A new wine was served with each course. Oh… the wine.
The courses were served family-style for each group of eight to share, which encouraged conversation among neighbors. Again, not enough photos taken of the food. I was too busy enjoying this delicious meal.
Our chef was Jaimie Bissonnette who is well known for his restaurants in Boston, Cambridge, and New York City and who was awarded the 2014 Best Chef Northeast for the James Beard Foundation Awards.
Dinner finished by 7:00pm. The sunset walk back through the farm was just as beautiful and colorful as the food.
I’m told tickets for Outstanding In The field dinners sell out almost immediately. If you ever have a chance to attend one of these events, it’s not to be missed.
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