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    • Two Lessons From France’s Yellow Vest Protests
      So, the Yellow Vests in France have French President Macron scared, and he has given in on some of their demands, including raising the monthly minimum wage and getting rid of the diesel tax which sparked the original protests. Joe Penney at the Intercept has a good overview of the current state of play, which […]
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Happy Labor Day: Outstanding in the Field

A couple of days ago, the BFF and I decided to blow a wad of cash, shaking our tiny fists in defiance at the vindictive economy gods.  And for the better part of a lovely day, we ate, drank and were merry at an Outstandinginthefield event.  The idea of Outstandinginthefield is to reunite the diner with the earth and to give thanks to the people who bring you food- the farmers.  The Outstanding crew travel the country in an old bus and set up feasts in fields and by streams and next to the ocean.  Anywhere there is a connection to the land.

Our dinner was held at Mosefund Farm in Branchville, NJ.  The farm is an experiment of sorts in raising Mangelitsa pigs.  These are pigs only a mother could love.  Dark, hairy and chock full of high quality pig lard, lovingly infused with fennel and black pepper….

Here, piggy, piggy! (Bwahahahahahahhhh!)

Er, where was I?

Z-Food Farm in Lawrenceville also participated, contributing delicate tomatoes, tender beets and eggplants. The chef, Scott Andersen, was from Elements in Princeton.  The wines that were paired with the dishes were from Alba Vineyards here in NJ.  New Jersey makes good wines?  Who knew?

The guy who started it all, Jim Deneven, a farmer hat wearing (and incredibly hot) chef from California said the idea grew from his encounters with farmers at local farmers’ markets he visited to shop for his restaurant.  He got to know them, visited their farms and had a few dinners around the Bay area.  Then he bought an old bus and voile!  Restaurant on the Road!

Jim and Leah give thanks to the farmer before dinner

Just before dinner, he talked about farming and food to the approximately 200 of us foodies and people with too much money.  Someone asked him about other companies who have followed in his footsteps and have hosted dinner in the fields.  What makes Outstandinginthefield different?  Now that I think of it, it sounds like something an investor would ask, which wouldn’t be inconsistent with the clientele.  Jim explained:

“We’re different because you can’t do this kind of event well without paying your people well”

Jim hires chefs and cooks from around the country and the world.  For months at a time, the eight of them live on a tiny bus.  And these well trained cooks do this to serve the diners, not to cook for them.  And he pays them well because they are good at what they do and it is obvious that they are enjoying themselves learning from the farmers they meet, the various chefs they work with and the service they perform.  Jim explains that many of the other companies who do farmer dinners rely on cooks and servers to volunteer their time.  But paying well does show in the final details.  The farmer who hosted told us that the Outstandinginthefield crew were very well organized and prepared.  They came at 10:30am to set up and the farmer didn’t have to lift a finger.

Bring your own plate

The food was delicious.  The farmer, Michael, a full time personal chef who raises pigs on the side, was interesting and inspiring.  Jim and his sidekick Leah, the organizer, were wonderful, highly efficient and had really done their homework.  And the servers, who put their cooking careers on hold to travel the country by cramped bus to wait on spoiled foodies, were outstanding.

Take a day off, guys.  You earned it.

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