Outdoor dinner sounds delicious.

23 11 2007


Diners Across the U.S. Head to the Farm
By CARA RUBINSKY

I can’t wait ’till the Eagle Diner does this! I want to own one of these restaurants!

“LYME, Conn. (AP) – Forget the maitre d’ and imported caviar. Sophisticated diners are now tromping across muddy fields and braving mosquito bites to eat gourmet food at its very source.

Outdoor dinners at family farms, popular on the West Coast for several years, are making their way east as part of a local food movement fueled by concerns about tainted food and a desire to eat vegetables grown nearby rather than halfway around the world.

“The cruel irony is that this is the way everyone used to eat,” said chef and restaurant owner Jonathan Rapp, a co-founder of Connecticut’s Dinners at the Farm series. “Now it is special, and hopefully we’re going to get to a point where it becomes ordinary again, where eating wholesome, locally grown delicious food is every day.”

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t keep statistics on farm dinners, the Connecticut program isn’t alone.

A California company, Outstanding in the Field, started with two farm dinners for 60 to 70 people in the Santa Cruz area in 1999. A few years later, Chef Jim Denevan and his crew were traveling across the country.

This year, joined by chefs from all over, they’ll have served 80 to 140 people at each of 14 dinners in California, Massachusetts, Canada, Illinois, New York and Kentucky since June. The next is Sunday in California’s Sonoma County.

“Everybody has to eat and they eat every day, yet previously no one had any idea where their food came from,” Denevan said. “People realized along the line that the story of where the food came from might make food more interesting but also make it taste better.”

Denevan has been pleased to see similar dinners elsewhere, including some put on in Oregon by a company called Plate & Pitchfork…”

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