Sharing the farm table
While many of us have already jumped on the “Go Local” bandwagon, shopping at farmers’ markets or being gobsmacked by fresh kale from our CSA, Outstanding in the Field (OitF) takes it just a little bit, well, dirtier. Dedicated to serving meals at their source, connecting diners to the land and farmers, the table-to-farm dinner series holds its first Hawaii events this month. Dinners are being co-hosted by founding chef Jim Denevan, who comes from a California farming family. This Sat., Jan. 21, the table will be set at Ma’o Organic Farms in Waianae, Oahu, co-hosted by farmers and educators Gary and Kukui Maunakea-Forth and Chef Ed Kenney of Town and Downtown restaurants. “Having people on the farm to eat should be a common occurrence,” says Gary Maunakea-Forth, who hosted Michelle Obama for a farm luncheon during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Chef Denevan, an avid surfer and visual artist who started the program in 1998 at Gabriella Cafe in Santa Cruz, Calif., says his aim is to share the “story of farms and farmers where ever it is, and Hawai’i has a lot going on that way.”
On Jan. 14, OitF spread a table at Olana Farm in Kilauea, Kauai. the moveable feast came to Kupaa Coffee Farm in Kula, Maui on Jan. 18, and will finish at Kekaha Farms in Waimea, Hawaii. At each location a local guest chef is invited to prepare the meal using the produce and products of the farm and nearby artisans. On Saturday afternoon in Waianae, most of the heavy lifting will fall to Ed Kenney and a hard working staff, including the helping hands of the interns from Ma’o Farms, to gather and prepare, on site, a multiple course meal for up to 150 guests. Kenney, already a die-hard spokesmen for Slow Food on the island, will act as guide and curator, navigating guests through a spectrum of beets, cauliflower, freshly caught Mahi Mahi and never-been-shipped pork. Kenney says he won’t comment on the exact menu, since the element of surprise is OitF’s trademark. But he assures diners that whatever will be put on their plate, and I do mean “their” (bringing your own plate from home is apart of the protocol) will be representative of the land they’re standing on.
Tickets are still for sale for the Oahu and Big Island dinners, for $190 each, at [outstandinginthefiled.com].