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


before dinner

the local distillery has a presence

sampling a cocktail



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


the kitchen crew


farm dinner-35


chef tony adams


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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10 Responses to “how we spent our vegas vacation”

  1. FrenchPressMemos — June 21, 2010 @ 10:13 am

    Vegas, for all its quirks, is a true foodie paradise. Looks like you had some fabulous meals.

  2. Liren — June 21, 2010 @ 10:38 am

    What a delicious vacation! I haven’t been to Vegas (outside of the airport), but have to admit, the lure of the food is compelling!

  3. The Housewife — June 21, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

    Happy Anniversary! Looks like you had an awesome time and some truly amazing food!

  4. Jason Phelps — June 21, 2010 @ 6:49 pm

    What day in June did you get married? I ask because I have a post I am getting ready where I used your gelato recipe from last week. The odd twist is that I was making it to celebrate our 13th anniversary, actually today, and used the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker friends gave us to make it. If you got married on June 21 1997 I would flip!! Now I see your weekend post and think it is just too odd, my post is about our foodie weekend celebrating as well. I’ll send you the link when I get it posted later tonight.

    Happy Anniversary!


    • merrygourmet

      merrygourmet replied: — June 21st, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

      Jason – Ours was June 28, 1997. 🙂

  5. SMITH BITES — June 21, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

    I’m seriously drooling over the pictures, MJ – fantastic, mouthwatering and gorgeous! I’m w/Liren, have had layovers (last week on the way home from CA as a matter-of-fact) but haven’t really ever been there specifically for food or gambling. This makes me want to go! Happy Anniversary!

  6. I think that beet salad is my favorite!!!! I LOVE a good beet salad.

    And Happy Anniversary!!! [K]

  7. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite — June 22, 2010 @ 7:21 am

    See now I have never really felt the attraction of Vegas. Until I saw this post. Foodie paradise indeed 🙂 Happy anniversary and may there be many more to come!

  8. Kathleen Seide — June 25, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

    Hello Again!

    Great photos, glad you had a good time, but the photo of an actual ANIMAL LEG was a bit much for me – you have a strong stomache ; )

  9. Magic of Spice — June 29, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

    Looks like a great way to spend an Anniversary! Everything looks so wonderful…Great post!

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