outstanding in the field, and the question of the egg

Have you ever wondered whether organic eggs taste better than conventional eggs from the supermarket? I have. I’ve read varying accounts over the past couple of years, and after reading different opinions, I’m still not sure if the taste truly differs. But one thing is certain. I feel better eating an egg from a chicken that was raised humanely and with as little human-mucking-around as possible.

I’m pretty sure that a happy chicken will lay a happy, good-tasting egg. But what I’m certain of is that I’ll feel better about eating that particular egg from that particular chicken.

Which brings us to Sunday night.

the table

Some months ago, I read about a unique event that has taken place at farms across the country, and I was intrigued. The concept is a farm dinner, and the mission of Outstanding in the Field is to bring people closer to the source of their food. Most of the events were initially in California, where the chef-owner lives, but over the last several years, OITF has brought their dinner events to farms all across the country – and even to Europe.

A dinner was held this past Sunday night at Lake Meadow Naturals farm in Orlando. Lake Meadows Naturals is a farm that produces cage-free poultry, with grassy pastures filled with chickens of different breeds, geese, ducks, guinea fowl, and turkeys. And, although they aren’t renowned for their non-poultry animals, there were even a couple of cows, a handful of goats, and several bunnies on hand, destined for someone’s dinner table in the months to come.

the laying hens

We had the pleasure of attending this dinner. Under the winter central Florida sky, my husband and I dined on local proteins and vegetables, while Lake Meadow Naturals’ chickens clucked in the background, and the native wood ducks swooped in at sunset to steal their feed.

It was glorious.

And while I’ll never answer the organic versus conventional chicken egg question, I can tell you this…eating dinner on the farm where the proteins were raised?

Nothing quite compares to that.

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[The photos below are linked to my Flickr account. Click through them for more information about each photo. ]

drinks are served.

before dinner

a predinner glass of vino

mingling

before dinner

the local distillery has a presence

sampling a cocktail

rose

turkeys

leah and jim

the dinner plates

how now brown cow

farmer dale

grits cake

a procession of ducks

the table

with jim

more teeny tiny oranges

farm dinner scene

hens and their rooster

farm tour with farmer dale

farm kitty

hens

the kitchen crew

menu

farm dinner-35

rosé

chef tony adams

appetizer

farm dinner-39

at sunset

farm dinner

sunset, moonrise

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Outstanding in the Field was founded by California chef and artist, Jim Denevan. If you ever have the opportunity to attend an OTIF event, I highly recommend it.

Lake Meadow Naturals is in Ocoee, Florida – right outside of Orlando proper. If it were not 2 hours away, I’d drive there weekly for fresh eggs and the occasional roasting chicken. In fact, when they open their u-pick egg coops, I plan on bringing the kids down to pick their own farm-fresh eggs.

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5 Responses to “silent sunday: monterey bay, california”

  1. 1
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    Carol Sacks — July 22, 2012 @ 9:01 am

    Such lovely shots! Monterey is a special place and you captured it.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — July 22nd, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

      Thank you, Carol. I think it’s hard to take a bad photo in Monterey.

  2. 2
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    IdaBaker — July 22, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

    I remember the first time my kids saw the Pacific Ocean; wide-eyed and wonder filled.

    They had so much fun jumping waves, getting salty, and just having a good time.

    From the looks of it, your gang did, too. 🙂

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — July 22nd, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

      You’re right, Ida. That’s what my kids (and us!) did, and it was simply wonderful.

  3. 3
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    Deb — July 22, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

    Beautiful photos! I enjoy walking on the beach near the hotel where you stayed. I walk further south, near the wharf, between the two condo developments. I am pleased you had sunshine for your visit. We typically have “June Gloom” along the coast, which hovers island where I live in Salinas. (Actually it has been foggy all day today! LOL)

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