9.6.11 Outstanding Ovation

Guy in the field 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
Welcome back, dear readers! How I have missed you! True to form, the month of August flew past in a frenzy of gardening, entertaining, hurricanes and, sadly, poison ivy. I never sat in the hammock, did not put even one dent into the promised coding of recipes and went on precious few hikes, but I did make some delicious frozen yogurt and popsicles, perfected my gazpacho recipe and reorganized both my freezers. One highlight was definitely the Outstanding in the Field dinner we attended in Chester, New York. You may remember we went to one in Roscoe last year. It was held at Blooming Hill Farm, where more than 200 varieties of organic produce are grown on this unbelievable black soil. This area of Orange Country is actually known as the "Black Dirt Region" because of the dark, extremely fertile soil left over from an ancient glacial lake bottom and augmented by decades of past flooding of the Wallkill River. (They found wooly mammoth remains when they were planting the farm!) It was long considered wasteland, but when Eastern European immigrants arrived in the mid-19th century, they recognized this type of land and knew how to dig trenches to drain it so it could be farmed. I've never seen anything so rich and black and loamy; it looks like devil's food cake.
Field 790 xxx
black gold
Black dirt1 790 xxx
it looks good enough to eat
OITF suggests you bring your own plates—not because they don't supply them, but to act as a sort of ice-breaker. I brought our melamine plates by John Derian for Target.
Plates 790 xxx
step up to the plate
Service 790 xxx
the wait staff is all young, enthusiastic and competent
The forecast was for rain (big surprise) so tents had been set up in the farm's enormous fields. It was warm, humid and overcast when we pulled in. The ground was soggy. We stood around drinking prosecco and marveling at the sheer greenness of the place. Then came the hors d'oeuvres...
Eggplant ricotta flatbread 790 xxx
wood-fired flat bread with eggplant and local ricotta
Radishes 790 xxx
spicy radishes with herb butter
Egg salad 790 xxx
farm-fresh egg salad wrapped in butter lettuce
Pork belly 790 xxx
unctuous pork belly with pickled cucumber
Everything was so fresh! The food was created by Chef Bill Telepan, whose restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan is known for its farm-to-table approach to seasonal menus.
Wine glasses  790 xxx
prosecco in the field
Director 790 xxx
katy, oitf's director of special events (her mom and brother were in attendance)
Guy 790 xxx
the farmer, like a groovy, wise-cracking santa
Guy Jones has been farming these 40 acres for 27 years and now supplies many of New York's finest restaurants, including Babbo, Prune, Union Square Café, Savoy and, of course, Telepan. Blooming Hill is a small, family-operated farm, one of only two still hanging on in what was once the breadbasket of the American Revolution.
Jerusalem artichokes 790 xxx
jerusalem artichokes
Who knew that these knobby tubers grew at the bottom of such huge stalks? They are a native plant and supposedly pretty easy to grow in these parts, so maybe we'll plant some on our new land in Forestburgh.
Chalkboard menu 790 xxx
the evening's menu, featuring sullivan county lamb
Menu 790 xxx
the printed menu
Popcorn 790 xxx
spiced popcorn and local white wine was set on the table as we took our seats
Greek salad 790 xxx
a version of greek salad with salty feta was the first course
Trout 790 xxx
local grilled trout with corn-and-bean salsa
Chef telepan 790 xxx
chef telepan in the weeds
Plating greens 790 xxx
plating bitter greens
Plating lamb 790 xxx
plating lamb loin rolled in leg and shoulder meat
Lamb sausage etc 790 xxx
the garlicky lamb sausages were my favorite
Vegetables 790 xxx
new potatoes, onions and zucchini from the farm
Peach crumble 790 xxx
peach crumble with a scoop of cream
Smiling chef 790 xxx
tired but happy, the chef came around to greet all the tables
Tables 790 xxx
it never rained, and the sun eventually made an appearance!
G 790 xxx
g, basking in the rosy glow
It was a beautiful evening and a lovely dinner. I already look forward to next year's for what is fast becoming a summer tradition. Visit the Outstanding in the Field site to find out about next year's dates; the dinners take place all over the country, and have even started in Europe!


Now I know how the advertisers got the video of the extended table with a crowd of people that seemed to lengthen to the end of the earth. It had to have been at one of these dinners. What a delightful way to enjoy fellowship and great food.
Vivian on September 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm —
That's funny, Vivian! Actually, there was a Japanese TV crew there filming the whole thing...
laura on September 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm —
I'm glad you're back!
alwayshungry on September 6, 2011 at 9:11 pm —
Thanks, alwayshungry! Welcome back to you, too!
laura on September 7, 2011 at 2:36 am —
welcome back, lovely. this is a dream meal for me- none of that fancy modernist cuisine- just good, wholesome, real food. x shayma
shayma on September 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm —