Local food connoisseurs are looking forward to the Outstanding in The Field Dinner this Saturday, August 4th at Branched Oak Farm in Raymond Nebraska, owners Doug and Krista Dittman. The event is part of the Outstanding in the Field 2012 North American Tour. 

The mission for Outstanding in the Field is to reconnect diners to the food they eat, while honoring the farm and farmers that provide the food, creating a celebratory dining experience. Outstanding in the Field began back in 1999 and have been setting long tables for people to eat ever since. The Outstanding in the Field events have been held in every type of possible setting from farms, gardens, ranches, mountains, seaside and prairies. The goal is always the same regardless of the location; to honor the food and the land and the people that provided it. The meal itself is all locally sourced and often prepared by a celebrated chef in the area.

It began back in 1998 with a series of dinners provided by farmers at Gabriella Café in Santa Cruz, California. The founder of Outstanding in the Field, Jim Denevan invited the restaurant’s regular producers to the dinners. As the guests sat and began to hear the stories from the farmers as to what and how their meal was grow and then prepared, it was very evident that guests wanted to know more about the farm and the food in appreciation. So from that, Bill Denevan, Jim’s older brother, who was an original organic grower in California, and Jim forged an idea to invite people to eat and view the farm first hand with a farm dinner with the farmers in attendance. By 1999, a schedule was made and fingers were crossed that this idea would be well received. Well, it was well received. Many guests did come and so the tradition continues.

In the beginning, the farm dinners stayed near or around the San Francisco Bay area and grew up and around California. With their own dishes in tow, the long tables were eclectically set and guests came and returned to the farm dinners. Then in 2003, Katy Oursler happily experienced an event and pitched the idea to the Denevan brothers to take the dinners coast to coast. And so today the Outstanding in the Field team travels from state to state in a red and white bus to set up and partake in Outstanding in the Field events so that the farmers and the farm can be appreciated countrywide. 

This Saturday, The event is in Nebraska, a new state for Outstanding in the Field, with Chef Paul Kulik in charge of the menu. I spoke with Krista Dittman from Branched Oak Farms about the Outstanding in the Field event. Here is what she had to say about this honored event.  

This has been an interesting project to work on. Usually when we host an event, we do all the planning, inviting, food prep and set up. This time, all that is asked of us is to do a farm tour and then dine and mingle with the guests. I love it!! Outstanding in the Field contacted us and I believe Paul Kulik was the one who recommended us. I had heard of them last year when some friends of ours in Wisconsin told us about hosting an Outstanding in the Field event. When they told me about it, I remember thinking, “WOW! That would be so cool to do that on our farm.” I was blown away when they called this spring to ask if we wanted to be involved.

Paul is in charge of all the food and drink. He hasn’t shared that menu with me, but I’m excited about whatever creative surprise he has in store. I sent him an email a few weeks ago with the availability of the farm products we have to offer.

He’s ordered Prairie Bloom camembert and will incorporate it in the meal somehow after arriving at the farm.

We’ve been busy getting things tidied up. Having guests is great motivation for getting projects done! Doug has really been digging in and getting the farmyard ready. Despite the dry grass, things really look good!

We’ve heard there are about 100 people coming, but they will be accepting reservations until the day before.

As far as the menu, it’s a work in progress. Local favorite Chef Paul Kulik from the Boiler Room has teased on his twitter account that one can expect fire-roasted leg of lamb with some sweet corn polenta. And since the Dittman’s are passionate about cheese, you can expect a bountiful assortment of what the Branched Oak Farm has to offer. 

For more information you can visit the Outstanding in the Field website at www.outstandinginthefield.com. Tickets are still available and can be purchased on the website.  Cost is $180.00 per person. The time of the event is 4:00 p.m. For directions to Branched Oak Farm, you can visit www.branchedoakfarm.com.

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