Years ago, my friend Chris turned us on to an organization called Outstanding in the Field (OITF). People gather together at a lonnnggg table, in a beautiful setting with the intent to live life in the moment, to enjoy some good wine and food, share a great experience with friends or perhaps find a connection with new friends. This year for Chris’s birthday, we were lucky enough to score tickets for an OITF dinner in Larkspur, Colorado. Happy birthday to our dear friend!!
Essentially, the OITF mission statement is to “connect diners to the hands that feed us.” What does that mean? Well, they find local farmers to host the farm to table dinners and who will share their harvest. They then search for well accomplished, local chefs to cook for a few hundred people. They are building awareness about our food sources here in the states.
The settings are idyllic and unique – could be seaside on a beach, a farm in the middle of a wheat field, along side a river, on a rooftop of a building in NYC. They find the best places for a great experience. You can follow their bus to all of their locations – it.is.so.much.fun. One statistic they mentioned, is that they are feeding 17,000 people in 2019! Amazing!!
What is the experience like?
When you arrive, there is usually a reception with beverages and passed appetizers – this is probably the most awkward time of the event – trying to get your bearings and realizing you probably won’t know a soul outside of your group. It feels weird showing up to a 300 person dinner party not really knowing anyone. Maybe that’s just the introvert in me. However, you get over it quickly after settling in!
If the venue is on a farm, the host farmers take you on a tour of the farm. It’s really cool to see the operations and all of the good stuff they produce – the stuff that will most likely end up on your dinner plate. After the tour, a multi-course meal prepared by the selected guest chef – is served. They usually cook in an outdoor kitchen – so you can watch the goings on as long as you don’t get in the way.
Dinner is served family-style with wine pairings for each course of the meal. Sometimes you sit next to an obnoxious person who tries to bogart a particular dish – you just have to stand your ground!!
They don’t always do wine pairings. One time, we did experience a dinner with beer pairings in lieu of wine. I had the best Cherry Sour beer ever. Too bad they don’t distribute and the brewery is far away from Denver!
It’s definitely something to try at least once – sometimes we are a little critical of the food, but then again, they are serving for 300, it’s not always going to be perfect!!