A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"


Outstanding in the Field – Ojai

May 17th, 2011

Last week I went to an event organized by Outstanding in the Field at Earthtrine Farm in Ojai, Ca. What a hoot! Outstanding in the Field is a group started in Santa Cruz, California by Jim Denevan. The concept is to hold dinners in the fields of farms, ranches and vineyards. These dinners celebrate local farmers, fishermen, winemakers, and other artisans and their products. This year they will hold about 90 dinners in over 25 states. You can visit their website here.

Our event was held at Earthtrine Farm run by BD Dautch & family. BD is a fixture at the Santa Barbara’s Farmers Market offering the finest organic produce.¬† They grow a wide array of herbs, fruit, and vegetables.

Farm Table

Farm Table

As you arrive at the event you are greeted with wine and appetizers. The wines were from Cantara Cellars  (website); a small family run winery owned and operated by Chris & Mike Brown. They served a crisp Albarino and a lively Tempranillo; two great choices for a sunny afternoon in the field. Four great appetizers were served. My favorite was a carrot pancake with creme fraiche, fried garlic, and carrot tops; it was so tasty.

We then went on a tour of the farm. BD discussed what he was growing, the typical hurdles he might encounter, the micro-climates, and his passion for keeping everything organic. It was interesting how he utilized the growing area between the rows of citrus; the shade from the trees provided the perfect environment for some crops.

BD discussing his farm

BD Discussing his Farm

After the short farm tour it was time to head to the table.

Time to Eat

Time to Eat

The feast was prepared by local chef Rachel Main of Main Course California. The first course was chilled lettuce soup followed by Earthtrine vegetable kimchi with lettuce and red basil. The turnips on this dish were amazing; it was candy for grown-ups. The first two courses were paired with a Chardonnay and a Syrah Rose respectively. The Rose paired really well with the acidic kimchi dish.

Serving Rose

Serving Rose

The main course was a Baja Yellowtail served with tempura Japanese turnips. These turnips were spectacular; but I seem to find anything in a tempura batter delicious. The side dish combined carrot puree and grilled sprouted broccoli. The carrot puree was my favorite dish of the evening; rich with layers of spices. We got the recipe; but we are still trying to recreate the flavors we tasted at the farm. I think there were 2 key elements that made this dish fabulous; the quality of the carrots and that they were roasted prior to pureeing. The carrots were from Dave Pommer, a local farmer from Santa Rosa. I would recommend seeking out his carrots.

Baja Yellowtail

Baja Yellowtail & Tempura Turnips

Carrot Puree & Broccoli

Carrot Puree & Sprouted Broccoli

I encourage you to check out Outstanding in the Field; odds are they will be holding a dinner near you. I had so much fun at this event I will definitely go again.

3 Responses to “Outstanding in the Field – Ojai”

  1. Paul says:

    Went right for the web site to find out what they had scheduled for the northeast. Unfortunately, nothing listed. Great concept and the cuisine looked scrumptious.



  2. Ed McAniff says:

    In the northeast there are dinners in :Pa, NY, Ct, Ma, Vt, NH, and Me.

  3. Dawn says:

    Looks great! You had such a beautiful day for it. Looks like they sell out fast! We can’t do Petaluma on the 30th and the fall seems to be sold out already. Maybe Marshal in June with views of Point Reyes.

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