I finally found the time to organize my photos and thoughts about our dinner around the long table last Wednesday night.
I'm mostly going to let the photos do the talking, but I will say this: it was amazing. Not amazing in a high-class, fancy night on the town sort of way. It was just the opposite. The food was five-star, but the company was down to earth and talkative, the outdoor setting was gorgeous, and the atmosphere was very laid back. I loved that it was different than most things we do and it was great to walk away with some new friends and a little more appreciation for those responsible for getting our food from the farm to us.
We arrived at Monteillet Fromagerie with our plates and spent some time mingling with the other dinner guests.
The grounds were beautiful and rustic, complete with a huge outdoor kitchen where all of the food was prepared throughout the night.
It was fun to find out where the other diners had traveled from, some as far as Canada.
The plates were stacked high, and you could catch a glimpse of the table set up near the garden.
Soon, we had the chance to hear a little bit about the origin of Outstanding in the Field and meet the staff. The founder, Jim Denevan talked about his simple desire to connect people back to where their food comes from (in a very laid back-surfer with a cowboy hat way). Later, during dinner I found out he also makes temporary art out of sand, earth and ice. How cool is that? Check out his amazing work here.
Next we took a tour of the fromagerie and the garden. It was interesting to see where the cheese is made. Find out more about the fromagerie here, and even take a tour.
For three years Erin Horan has been building a beautiful biodynamic garden on the farm. Nourish Gardens provides produce to a handful of local restaurants as well as hosting a local CSA program. It was great to see someone so passionate about growing things! You can read more about it here.
Next it was time to gather our plates and meet at the big table.
This was my view the whole time I ate. No big deal, right?
For all of you foodies out there, I'm sorry to say we put our camera back in the car at this point. I know it's terrible, but sometimes I find it hard to relax and enjoy myself when I'm focused on trying to get the perfect shot. Not to mention, it's one thing to whip out your phone between courses, but quite another to stand in varying crouching positions with your sizable SLR while everyone is dining. There were a few professional photographers hired for the event and I will gladly share their work if I come across it someday soon.
If you must know what was served, here's a peek at the menu (and one last picture):
summer beet soup with savory, cucumber, hard cooked egg & pork belly
cold smoked lamb salad with feta, greens & vegetables from the Walla Walla Valley (my favorite course, hands down!)
grilled chicken with herbs, yogurt, greens & potatoes
strawberry fool with chocolate wafers, fresh berries & creme anglaise
I left with a full stomach, some new friends and a greater appreciation of the rich land around us. We had a great time in the field, thank you OITF!