Us and everything else

Leaving town bus-less, with all of our belongings thrown into the back of the big white Dodge, we head North to the greener fields of Oregon and our first event destination: Square Peg Farm, just outside Portland. After a good night’s sleep at a rustic campground outside Ashland, OR the first group conflict arises as members of our culinary adventure troupe have differences on what exactly is ‘breakfast’. Jim and Eden say it’s coffee and a danish, Sally wants a full American breakfast. John says ”I will eat or drink anything”. Leah needs a tea and prefers her hot cereal. Jeremy and Elaine just want to get going, apparently having no need for morning calories.

All these people traveling together in tight quarters and camping as we wait patiently for our new rolling home.

An idea that was a long time coming

A new bus!!!
Or rather a new old bus. After searching far and wide, we found
one! But of course we need some time to mourn the retirement of the
old bus (some of us at least). This will be a new era in Outstanding
in the Field history — likely to be a better era considering the old 1953
Flexible only made it across the country 3 and 1/2 times out of our
last 5 cross-country tours. Here is a short clip of the old old bus on
it’s last farm visit — an all staff, no clutch start.

Outstanding goodbye California party/yard dinner

The Outstanding team gathered in the front yard of Outstanding in the Field founder Jim Denevan on July 4th for a ”we are outta here” celebration. Outstanding staff past and present enjoyed a local foods feast: Fog Line Farm chicken and veggies, H & H Fresh Fish sardines and white sea bass, sheep’s cheese from Rebecca King at the Westside Santa Cruz farmers market, some left over wines from previous events (Stag’s Leap, Cline Cellars, Bonny Doon Vineyard) and a few herbs from Jim’s yard.  A great send-off party!
Chicken plucking with Mali and Elaine
Farmer John Thurmond with his freshly harvested chicken
Setting off fireworks
Yard Dinner

A Tour of California

Every season we hit the ground running (with tables and chairs) and 2009 is no exception. We have now completed our first 11 dinners!! Riding on a rare lucky streak our generally unreliable 1953 bus Outstanding has made it to 11 out of the first 12 sites! We’ve seen hot days, cold days and everything in between (no rain though…). Orchard dinners, ranch dinners, vineyard dinners, hill top dinners, valley bottom dinners, cliff top dinners dinners close to the freeway dinners in the middle of nowhere, even dinners where diners were hit by waves…we’ve seen a lot.
Here are some photo highlights of a memorable early season:
May 23 & 24 – Devil’s Gulch Ranch, Nicasio, CA

Devils Gulch Ranch Bus Parking

Outstanding in the Field dinner host Katy Oursler
bundles up for a chilly day with warm mittens

Guest Chef Steffan Terje of Perbacco restaurant, San Francisco, California
a warm and wonderful personality on a chilly day

Our long table in farmer Mark Pasternak’s Marin County Pinot Noir vineyard
June 6 – McEvoy Ranch, Petlauma, CA

One of our longest tables ever – McEvoy Ranch

Nion McEvoy starts off the farm tour

McEvoy Vista
June 13, 14 – Secret Sea Cove Dinner, California Coast

The legendary Sea Cove Dinner site

The table is ready for guests

Here comes the surf…

Fisherman Hans Haveman pitches in to protect the table from rising surf

Guest Chef Mourad Lahlou of Aziza Restaurant in San Francisco, California
Dinner is served
Chef Stuart Brioza enjoying the perfect weather, pitches in in the kitchen.
Stuart had cheffed a bracingly chilly Outstanding in the Field vineyard dinner
at Devils Gulch Ranch a few weeks previous

Another beautiful day at the beach. Our second Sea Cove dinner.
Chef Jamie Lauren and pastry chef Luis Villavelazquez
along with Jered Lawson from Pie Ranch tour the table
with Outstanding founder Jim Denevan

June 17 – The Abalone Farm, Cayucos, CA
Brad Buckley of The Abalone Farm shows off the product at the cliff side table site
Very fresh abalone
Cliff edge parking for table and bus
Chef Deborah Scarborough’s grilled squash blossom pizza
July 18 – Windrose Farm, Paso Robles, CA
Windrose Farm setting
Chef Chris Kobayashi of Artisan Restaurant, Paso Robles
In the cool shade of a towering oak tree
Halter Ranch – established 1880
June 20 – McGrath Family Farm, Camarillo, CA

Ventura County table
View from the bus

Among the gladiolas

Ready for guests
Farm tour!
Chef Tim Kilcoyne of The Side Car Restaurant, Ventura, CA

Ribollita of McGrath beans, beet greens and carrot top pesto

Dining in the field
June 21 – Coleman Farm, Carptineria, CA

At the Coleman’s

Chef Jim with Chef Rich
Uni shooters to start

A kitchen with a view

roast pork with Coleman Farm’s greens

From the table
June 27 – Clark Summit Farm, Tomales, CA
in the Field

Ready for the tour
After 11 successful dinner journeys the bus finally breaks down
right where the table is supposed to go
Katy keeps good cheer
Chef Melissa Perello carving the Clark Summit beef

Hilltop table
Stretching out into the sky

Outstanding crew sits down for family meal after the event ends
June 28 – Star Route Farm, Bolinas, CA
Warren Weber’s coastal farm
Little Miss Sunshine redux

California weather
Cindy of the OITF staff

July 2 – Green String Farm, Petaluma, CA

Beautiful Sonoma County

Chef Christopher Lee brought his artisan made prosciutto slicer
OITF Bread by baker Mike Zakowski
Chef Christopher Lee in the field

Sonoma View
Passed hors d’oeuvres at the entrance to the barn

On site baking