Special Report: Outstanding in the Field at Spiceman’s FM 1410 in Dallas

Dallas' first Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner. (photography by Matthew Shelley)

In floppy hats and sunglasses, a jumbled cadre of slow-food lovers converged in Tom Spicer’s Spiceman’s FM 1410 garden on N. Fitzhugh yesterday to revel in all things fresh and farm-raised. The dinner was yet another geographic step in the farm-to-table movement led by the folks at Santa Cruz-based Outstanding in the Field, a slow-food/farm-fresh non-profit whose mission it is to organize 100+ person al fresco dinners in farms and fields across the country.

Jump for joy … and the photo galley

Here’s how it works: OITF founder/chef Jim Denevan and national organizer Leah Scafe partner with a local chef (in our case the talented Sharon Hage and her team from her nationally-acclaimed York Street restaurant) who partners with a local farmer (in this case Tom Spicer of FM 1410) to create a locally sourced menu for 100+ foodies. As the event nears, OITF’s fresh-faced crew arrives in their vintage tour bus and start organizing the logistics and, most importantly, the signature long table.

“We found Sharon by reading online about the local food scene,” explains Scafe. “We called her up and she agreed to do the event. She suggested we come here and do it in this farm-garden because she liked the idea of doing something right in Dallas. We thought that was pretty cool too. Tonight we have 130 people. Obviously we’re a little restricted because we’re in a little garden, but it’s a great turnout.”

So, what type of people does a 3:00 in the afternoon, $200, farm-to-table dinner attract? “It’s an interesting mix, for sure. We meet people who are interested in eating locally, or they’re fans of the partnering restaurant, or they saw us in a magazine and thought it sounded fun to sit at a long table with people and share dinner.”

Speaking of dinner: Hage’s menu read like a fantasy in freshness – Spicer’s Garden Tangle of just-snipped greens, lettuces and herbs; East Texas black-eyed pea soup with crumbled cornbread; Windy Meadows spice-grilled chicken (the farmers were in attendance) and soft-smoked brisket from Burgundy Pastures.

For her part, when Hage got the call to participate she didn’t have to think twice. “I love the project; I love the farmers; I love Tom (Spicer). It’s perfect!”

I know 130 people who are likely to agree.

130 lovers of slow food met in Tom Spicer's garden for dinner by Chef Sharon Hage.

In keeping with tradition, the table stretched from one end of the garden to the other. Diners brought their own plates.

Local organizers Chef Sharon Hage and Tom Spicer teamed up to make the event possible.

The long table and straw underfoot added to the farm milleu.

Delicious teasers

Outstanding in the Field organizers Leah Scafe and Jim Denevan stand on either side of Tom Spicer at FM 1410.

Back on the bus, y'all! Outstanding in the Field's mobile team arrives in a vintage tourbus.

Attendees from left: Gary & Grace McDonald, Amanda & Chris Bradley, Jenny & Brian Davis

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