The mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.
This extraordinary experience and brilliantly crafted entrepreneurial endeavor travels the continent and beyond and we were thrilled that it landed in our part of the world.
Outstanding in the Field is a moving culinary feast that began in 1999. The founder, artist Jim Denevan, has set this long elegant table at farms and gardens, on mountain tops and in caves, on islands or in our case, at a local ranch. Wherever the location, the theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose work brings nourishment to the table. Ingredients for the meals are almost always local and they are prepared by a local celebrated chef of the region.
In our case, the setting was Doublecheck Ranch, buried along the San Pedro River in Gila County, AZ. After a tour of the operation led by ranchers Paul and Sarah Schwennesen, we settled into the long table. We experienced, beef from the ranch, produce from McClendon’s Select, a local grower, and wine from Dos Cabezas, a Southern Arizona winery with a full range of reds and whites. The meal was orchestrated under the brilliant director of Chris Bianco.
Of course, what made the evening so special was the table – seated with farmers, ranchers, vintners, culinary artisans, and diners – all sharing a meal. From one vested in the humanities, the magic started immediately. Early on, I spotted Gary Nabhan, my personal food hero and the founder of the local food movement. I got to hear stories of working the land from Paul and Sarah and was seated amongst interesting and amazing people; a physician with a love of food, a recently retired art teacher, a clothing line entrepreneur. Our conversation resonated and connections were built.
I love the vision of Jim Denevan and that he invented this endeavor to feed his love of travel and to bring people together. Check out his website to find a meal close to you or better yet, invent the concept yourself and honor the land and those who cultivate it into nourishment.
Lemony Shredded Brussel Sprouts
From Martha Stewart
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded with a knife or food processor
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high, add brussels sprouts and 2 tablespoons water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice.
At the ranch, Chris Bianco did these with bacon. It was a local, ethically raised variety and the accolades were loud and frequent. This version is lighter and vegan but of course, it’s up to your preference.
Okay, so now I’m wondering about this entire community meal appeal… Should I try this at home?