Out..standing in the field…swatting mosquitos

Last Monday, I headed to Troy Gardens in Madison with three of the most incredible women I know to enjoy the
Outstanding in the Field farm dinner.

We enjoyed a great dinner. The evening started with a short stroll through the children’s garden toward the appetizers and cocktails where everyone checked in. The pre-dinner drinks were provided by Death’s Door Spirits! The Summer Cooler was superb and definitely my favorite.


Mosaic markers in the children's garden area



Tradition of the plates.


We also quickly realized in this area that the mosquitos were also attending the dinner, and MANY of them!

After most of the guests arrived, the group was split into two and set out for a tour of the Troy Gardens and farm. This is a unique setting within the city. There are community gardens that nearby residents can rent for the summer to have a garden, there is a children’s garden for programming, a farm that provides produce to more than 120 families and also provides for a market stand, a prairie planting and a cooperative housing development.

Here we are on the tour:


Heading toward the farm area.



Jim Denevan, founder of OiTF



Learning about Troy Farms.



The table.


At the end of the tour was the signature long table for the dinner. The haze in this photo could either be from the tents where the meals were being made OR from the cloud of Deep Woods Off being sprayed in the area 🙂

The meal was created by the Underground Food Collective of Madison using ingredients from Troy Farms as well as many other local producers. We were fortunate to sit by some of the staffers from Troy Farms and Troy Gardens as well as one of the producers of the artisan cheese, Uplands Cheese Company. Their Pleasant Ridge cheese was superb and Andy’s wife Caitlin was fun to chat with and wearing a stunning hat too. I should have photographed her in the hat, both were beautiful!

The first course was my favorite! The Shaved Kale salad. Our server, Doug, said that the kale was macerated. We wished we had the recipe. We do know it was served with a tasty dressing, topped with toasted hazelnuts and ricotta salata. My favorite, by far.


Kale Salad - My favorite of the night!


The second course included sprouted lentils served over the Troy Farms’ heirloom tomatoes. Not only was this pretty, it was delicious as well.


Look at those tomatoes! They were vibrant and delicious!


The next courset: pork loin, beef tenderloin and rabbit saddle with oven reduced tomato chutney and herb roasted potatoes. I hate to admit this but I just couldn’t eat the rabbit and I think that tainted my perception of the other items on the platter too.


Are you really going to eat that bunny? Yes, she says, it tastes like chicken.


Then it was time for dessert, times two. Chocolate caramel tarts came first followed by corn pudding baby cakes with honey sweetened yogurt topped with fresh berries.


The chocolate tartlets.


When we attended last year, the crowd lingered until after dusk not wanting to let go of the amazing evening. This year, the mosquitos lingered and thus the crowd dissipated a little earlier it seemed. It was a wonderful dinner, my dinner companions were, as always, phenomenal, and the event was superb; however, the mosquito situation was best described by a young boy standing in front of us during the tour, “this is crap!”

As noted by one of my friends, the ultimate irony was in the fact that this boy ended up sitting at the head of the long table for the night.

Mosquitos aside, as we were in Wisconsin after all, the Outstanding in the Field experience is terrific, memorable and well worth it.


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