I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at EECO Farm in East Hampton for Outstanding in the Field, a traveling culinary feast that re-connects diners to the land and the origins of their food and honors the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it. It was love at the first sight: A long dining table that would accommodate 120 locavores was positioned perpendicular to the crew’s 1953 red and white bus. I watched Jim Denevan, founder of OITF, carefully place an “Eat Local” sign on the front of the bus and align the table perfectly with two poplar trees and between the tomato vines and wildflowers echoing the nave of a church or holy table for what we were about to receive.
Jim Denevan’s artistic and meticulous nature is no surprise; he is a landscape artist and surfer whose creative sensibilities and balance are immersed in nature. Whether carefully studying the horizon to create a giant raked drawing on a beach or catching the perfect wave, his talents are fleeting to the natural environment. He is a maker of moments, and his culinary table installations within the flora and fauna are reminiscent of the Storm King Wall of landscape artist, photographer and sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.
The tour ended at the dining table and my love affair for OITF was about to begin.
While we were on the farm tour, given by Ian Calder-Piedmonte, co-founder and farmer of Balsam Farms and Outreach Director of the EECO Farm, chef Jason Weiner of Almond was preparing the feast. The tour ended at the dining table and my love affair for OITF was about to begin.
Convivial diners grabbed a colorful dish and took a seat for the five-courses to come: tuna crudo, fish ‘n chips, blue mussels, chicken fricassée, ricotta tart and pours from Channing Daughters Winery and Paumanok Vineyards.
OITF is magical; it captures a moment for diners to give pause and thanks. A poetic culinary art installation I want to be part of again and again—Outstanding! Bravo!
Visit outeastfoodie for the details on the OITF five-course feast.