A Year of Picnics


The Essential Book of Homesteading















  • In 10 days Alistair and I fly from Asheville tohellip
  • Stay frosty Huxley but dont grow up too fast okay?hellip
  • I went in for the coconut cake SO! GOOD! andhellip
  • When I think about my intentions and resolutions for thehellip
  • We made snow cream sundaes and hot chocolate and watchedhellip
  • Hello darkness my old friend The cold comfort of winterhellip
  • Suffice to say Alistair dominated my feed in 2017 Seemshellip
  • Cold as ice Hominy Creek which runs beside our roadhellip
  • Happy birthday to this Brazilian beauty You know those kindhellip
  • Oh what a long strange trip its been Exactly onehellip
  • Snow day snow cream sundae making me all kinds ofhellip
my sponsors
budha hill natural toysImagine Childhood
Imagine ChildhoodBlissful Belly
Sponsorship Information
blog archive
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008

Outstanding In the Field (Humpday Giveaway!!!)

Have you ever visited an apple orchard at the height of that fruit’s season and thought to yourself “Oh man, I’d love to dine at a long table here, buttressed  by Pink Ladies on one side and Arkansas Blacks on the other”? Or visited a local farm for eggs and imagined what it would be like to eat a meal on site, at a cloth-clad table, chowing down on the site’s eggs and other provisions?

Well, that’s exactly what Jim Denevan imagined. He then worked tirelessly, nurturing that dream into fruition. Outstanding In the Field is the fruit of his vision. With a mission of reconnecting diners to the fields from where their food is sourced, the organization details itself thusly:

Outstanding in the Field is a roving culinary adventure – literally a restaurant without walls. Since 1999 we have set the long table at farms or gardens, on mountain tops or in sea caves, on islands or at ranches. Occasionally the table is set indoors: a beautiful refurbished barn, a cool greenhouse or a stately museum. Wherever the location, the consistent theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table. 
Ingredients for the meal are almost all local (sometimes sourced within inches of your seat at the table!) and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. After a tour of the site, we all settle in: farmers, producers, culinary artisans, and diners sharing the long table. 

I love this concept. We have a field on our property that we refer to as the “lower field,” simply because it is located down the hill from the house, which sits up on a knob. Hubs and I have long discussed how fun and amazing and inspiring and beautiful it would be to have a meal in that field. We love the idea of tables and chairs positioned down there, heaving under bowls and platters of locally sourced food, as guests feast and relax and enjoy the splendor of it all.

Jim Denevan has put together a gem of a cookbook inspired by his transient repasts. Outstanding In the Field is a truly wonderful book. Equal parts stunning and inspiring, it’ll have you trawling farmer’s markets as soon as the first offerings of spring appear. I’d like to give away a copy to one small measure reader. All that’s needed to enter is to leave a comment below detailing your favorite seasonal item to cook. It’s SO hard to choose, but if backed into a corner and forced, at knifepoint, to choice, I’d probably say basil. Fresh from the garden and pulverized into submission, nothing tastes more redolent of “summer” to me than just-made basil pesto. Just thinking of it now has me wanting to trade my felt slippers for flip-flops, my flannel p.j.’s for a tank top.

In your comment, please leave a means of contacting you, should you be the winner, via either a link back to your own blog or website or with your email address. I’ll run the giveaway through next Wednesday, midnight EST. Canadians, feel free to comment away.

I’m planning to begin hosting a number of themed potlucks out here in the coming seasons. Who knows. Maybe the lower field will finally embody that food-laden vision Hubs and I have been tossing around all of these years!

UPDATE: Oh my goodness, I totally forgot to announce the winner! Big congratulations to EcoGrrl! And thank you so very much to everyone who entered!

104 Responses to Outstanding In the Field (Humpday Giveaway!!!)

  • carrie says:

    oh my gosh – i'm new to all of this so my answer might not be the most insightful…but i loved enjoying mulberries in all forms last summer. they were literally just falling from the sky! i'm still using some of my frozen goods in my muffins over the wisconsin winter. :) thanks for getting us through humpday!

  • Kay says:

    My favorite summer thing to cook is rhubarb…as in rhubarb crisp.

  • Erin says:

    Tomatoes, warm from the sunshine!

  • Laura says:

    My favorite to eat is peaches, but to cook …I love putting basil on pizza.

  • Amymarie says:

    My favorite seasonal thing to cook? Oh my goodness I think it might have to be my summer time peach and blackberry pie. Absolute fave! That book looks lovely. :)

    amyrhenderson @

  • Elizabeth says:

    Flathead cherries here in Montana. The season is much too short here but they are so good and versatile. Plus, it's always fun swapping stories with the growers. You can learn so much!

  • amanda says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • amanda says:

    I have to say tomatoes. Even though to be honest, they are not my most favorite of all to eat (I mean I love them, but then there are berries and figs and peas to contend with….), but the fact that we have a mere few months in which to enjoy a truly delicious tomato…… well, that's it.

    sandwiches, tomato/basil salad, bruschetta….. and on and on.

    I think tomatoes for me must be like spring. Not my favorite in and of itself (fall is) but hands down my most anticipated.
    (forgot that earlier, oops)

  • It looks like a lovely book! I hope I win!

  • robin says:

    Ooops! I forgot to share my favorite summer yum… BLUEBERRIES! I bake them into a pie, a crumble, pancakes, dried in my granola….. endless possibilities!

  • Definitely strawberries in the summer for strawberry tarts, jams etc. Freshly picked they remind me so much of summers going strawberry picking (eating) as a child.

  • mynahcalls says:

    I get really excited towards the end of summer when okra starts piling up on the market tables. Roasted with salt and olive oil = simple and delicious!

  • Denise says:

    Favorite thing to cook would be potatoes fresh from the garden. They taste sooo good. Now eating favorite thing would be tomatoes hands down.

  • Oh goodness! I am so new to this whole adventure of growing what you eat, but I love cooking things with berries in the summertime.

  • Margo says:

    Oh my, i have to say Asparagus, just because its almost time!! Tomato's are just so far away here in Montana. Outstanding in the Field dinners do always look amazing!

  • Kris says:

    I'd have to say my favorite seasonal thing to cook would be peas. Really, I'd rather not cook them, though, but eat them while still standing in my garden.

  • Dee says:

    Cherry tomatoes fresh off the vine. I am also a sucker for fresh salsa!

  • Jess says:

    Garlic Scapes! I mean, it`s really hard to bypass summer fruits, but the scapes are so fleeting. Only in spring. And they are SO good any way you eat them. Right now I`m living in Hokkaido, Japan (please don`t discount me from the running! My family lives in Fairview, NC and they love to send me packages!) and so through lack of knowledge of the local climate, we miss timed it and got scapes in fall, when we still had tomatoes. Fresh tomato sandwiches on fresh baked bread with Hokkaido cheese, scapes, and a fried egg is simple, but a masterpiece at the same time.

  • Jess says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Jess says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Jess says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Crabapples make the best juice. tart and sweet. And even better with a little club soda!!

    Trail Pony Endurance

  • Emily says:

    We live in Austin where it seems to get just too hot to cook sometimes, so my favorite seasonal item to make is ice cream! We've begun experimenting with flavors, trying sorbetto, etc.–it's a lot of fun!

  • EcoGrrl says:

    Love the visual – I remember being on the top of a ladder picking pears at an orchard, and just balanced up there, eating one right then and there. Or just normal summers, sitting on the ground in my garden, plucking grape tomatoes off the vine and sharing them with my dog :)

  • Unknown says:

    My favorite seasonal item to cook is peaches… I love to make cinnamon peach pie and peach butter and peach crumble and grilled peaches and… For me, peaches are the sweet, luscious taste of warmth and happiness.

  • Erin says:

    Blackberries! I am from the Pacific Northwest, so nothing says mid-late August to me like that big purple plumpy juiciness that is everywhere at that time of the year, absolutely free for the taking.

  • Paula M says:

    Swiss Chard! So versatile and delicious! Very hardy for this cold Newfoundland climate. I make a mean lasagna w/ bechamel sauce with it and in the spring/summer the tender leaves are great for salads.

  • Terry says:

    Beets…love me some fresh (or pickled) beets. Beets.

  • Kristine says:

    Asparagus! Cut from my own garden – it is the best!

  • kate says:

    Having spent most of my formative years in NJ, I'd have to say tomatoes! There's nothing quite like fresh tomatoes in the summer.

  • Dixie says:

    Sweet corn on the cob! Freshly picked, boiled and dripping in butter and salt. Oh my!

  • Kat says:

    Such a great idea. Peas! Spring is such a welcome shift around here that peas are one of my favorites. Thanks for this chance! katcoons99 at yahoo dot com

  • Gail says:

    My favorite thing to cook in Summer? Corn on the Cob, hands down! Although, Strawberry Napoleon would be a close second.

    Blessed Be,

  • Nicole H. says:

    I think my favorite seasonal thing to cook would have to be berries. Freshly picked and turned into delicious jam to eat throughout the year until the next berry-picking season. Or used in a fresh cobbler. Yum… come on, summer!

  • Jen says:

    Sauteed snow peas are my favorite, because they come first in my garden!

    jalley22 at hotmail . com

  • Sherrie says:

    I adore parsnips, of all things. Others in my home aren't as keen on them, but I love them roasted and in soups – oh my, they're good. And I heartily recommend hosting potlucks whether or not the weather and gorgeous outdoor plans cooperate – we have at least three or four a year, and they are the. best. So nice to bring people together.

  • Courtney says:

    Oh how I long for the days!! And I would have to agree with you, I can't wait to cook with basil. Last summer we had so much I threw some out – not again! I'm going to dry and puree that goodness to the max this year (or so I say now!). But what I'm looking forward to the most right now is fruit, especially raspberries and peaches. Storage apples are getting boring …

  • Baby turnips steamed with their greens with olive oil and lemon juice for the spring time… Tomato, feta and oregano tarts in the summer!

  • Cheryl says:

    Arugula – tossed on a pizza or mixed in a salad. I gave some to my sister last year and she said it was so good she wanted to roll in it!

  • Bethany says:

    This is a hard one….but i would have to say tomatoes. I LOVE tomatoes fresh from the garden & into our bellies! There is nothing quite so sweet :)

  • Melissa says:

    I have an ambitious new garden, but I am most excited about the 130 tomato seeds I just started in flats. Excited both for eating what should be amazing heirloom tomatoes and canning them, but also tomatoes are supposed to be particularly difficult to grow in my area. Oh the anticipation!

  • Mrs. N says:

    Peas in cream sauce made with fresh raw butter.

  • Kim says:

    Nothing like fresh summer tomatoes for me!
    This looks like an amazing book, thanks for the chance to win.

  • Angi says:

    Anything with strawberries! Every summer I go pick a few pounds, so it is a bit of a strawberry bonanza for a while. Most of them get canned, but there is always a lot left for eatin!

  • Grace says:

    Peas! No, wait, blackberries! Or corn!, Um, I have a lot of favorites…

  • Jake n Kait says:

    This book sounds great! I love the idea of dining in the middle of a field too! My favorite would have to be fresh peas….to.die.for.

  • elizabeth says:

    My favorite thing ever is to go out to the garden, pick a bit of everything (peas, tomatoes, basil, squash, etc), throw it all in a bit of olive oil and then onto pasta. My favorite summer thing to do!

  • Lee says:

    Favorite food of summer? HaAs to be fresh garden onions – I hate them the rest of the year, once they get that sulfer taste from being stored they're awful, but fresh out of the garden they're so sweet and delicious!

  • Carrie says:

    My favorite fresh from the garden food is simple, tomatoes. Nothing beats a fresh tomato. And I will take it any way.

  • Stephanie Norris says:

    Tomatoes, fresh from the vine!

  • Melanie J. says:

    I've only just started to cook more according to seasons, so this is a headscratcher…I'm looking forward to strawberry season soon here in FL, and tomatoes in August. Thanks for the opportunity, Ashley!

  • I'm looking forward to asparagus season!

  • Rebecca says:

    I would have to say tart pie cherries – a very short season but man are they they tasty in a homemade pie or preserves!

  • CCarter says:

    That first strawberry, warm from the sun just kicks off summer for me…I can't get enough!

  • Kelly says:

    Asparagus for sure. Last spring I made an asparagus pistachio risotto that was delicious and I've been thinking about it ever since. Now that the temps are heating up, hope to see those asparagus heads poking up soon and kicking off the gardening season!

  • look lovely! Happy sunny day folks!

    lavignephotography (at) yahoo(.) com

  • Trina-Lea says:

    It sounds rather mundane…but our local nugget potatoes…all varieties…steamed just right with garlic butter and fresh herbs…yum…counting down the months! :-)

  • FrugalDeb says:

    Fresh ripe tomatoes!

  • Tracy says:

    This book looks amazing! I can't wait for warmer weather so I can start planting.

  • petoskystone says:

    Tomatoes! Cooked, smashed, or eaten fresh off the vine :)
    jlalexia (at)yahoo(dot)com

  • Alison says:

    Blueberries! But swiss chard, rhubarb, peaches, asparagus, and so many others mentioned here wouldn't be far behind on my list.

  • Caitlin says:

    Tomatoes! Last year was my first year growing heirloom varieties in my OWN Garden. They really were the best!
    thanks so much!


  • Beth Berger says:

    Tomatoes, hands down. Not to cook either, just slice – with a drizzle of olive oil, mozzerella cheese and basil. Oh man, is that good!

  • Erin says:

    Two words: fava beans. Nothing tastes like them, and once dried they're completely different. But some freshly-shelled, bright green favas just barely cooked with a lot of good olive oil and a crinkle of rock salt … ah! Keep your strawberries, and give me favas! The finest herald of early summer.

    Erin at

  • Alexandra says:

    Fava Beans!!!

    girlwillgo AT gmail DOT com

  • Mindy says:

    My favorite seasonal item to cook, well actually, to prepare since no cooking is required, is fresh salsa! I eat it until my mouth breaks out, and I don't even care! I could pour the extra juice in a sparkling glass and drink it like most people would fine wine.

  • spike says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • spike says:

    Butternut squash soup using stored winter squash. I love growing it in the Summer and then cooking it all Fall and Winter.

    Also, Outstanding in the Field is on my bucket list to attend one day. I would love this book.


  • Anonymous says:

    I love love love eating fresh greens in the summer…still warm from the late afternoon sun in the garden…tossed with my homemade dressing. Yummy yum yum!

  • Just lettuces, washed and dressed, minutes after being picked.

  • redhott says:

    For me probably green beans. So easy and perfect. Yum.

  • Lauren says:

    I would have to say FRESH HERBS of any kind! Parsley and oregano, a little lemon juice and crushed garlic and olive oil and presto you have a dressing or marinade to make anything delicious, especially grilled veggies!!

  • mable says:

    Tomatoes, no contest. I use them raw, in recipes, baked, dried…

    Thanks for the chance to win.

    dorking @

  • Nothing beats fresh Tomatoes – maybe marinated in a little bit of garlic olive oil, tossed with fresh pasta! MMmm!

  • Yasmin says:

    Oh my! How do I choose? I do love the fresh basil and tomatoes – the combination is heavenly. And, the asparagus? Yum. But, this year, I'm excited for peaches. I love baking cakes and crisps or making a delicious peach salsa. And, now that I've learned how to can (thanks to your book), I'm excited for peach jam!

  • Molly says:

    Watermelon and cantaloupe

  • Hollie says:

    My favorite summer produce is definitely homegrown tomatoes. Simple sauce over pasta, or just straight off the vine. yum!!

  • Beets! Cooked or grilled anyway….I love them!

  • Melissa Carr says:

    Anything blueberry! We have a bush that produces more than we could ever pick! Blueberry Pie, Blueberry Pancakes, Blueberry Smoothies, Blueberries in Oatmeal, Blueberry Jam…..

    I am partial to strawberries too! Only a few wild ones pop up here, but they are divine!
    honeybeeholistics at yahoo dot com

  • Melissa Carr says:

    Anything blueberry! We have a bush that produces more than we could ever pick! Blueberry Pie, Blueberry Pancakes, Blueberry Smoothies, Blueberries in Oatmeal, Blueberry Jam…..

    I am partial to strawberries too! Only a few wild ones pop up here, but they are divine!
    honeybeeholistics at yahoo dot com

  • Meghan says:

    green garlic!

  • Sarah says:

    My absolute favorite seasonal food is winter squash; delicata specifically. I watch it grow all summer with anticipation. Its orange flesh hides a hint of sunny, warm summer days, and its flavor is rich and buttery when the weather outside is frightful.

  • k a t says:

    Apples. Straight up raw. In a salad. Baked in a pie. Always good!

  • Bee Girl says:

    Hmmmm…tomatoes…warm, juicy, tomatoes. Absolutely.

  • beanyween says:

    Tomatoes on good white bread with mayo!

  • Dawn says:

    I agree – basil all the way! There is nothing better than taking some homemade pesto out of the freezer in the middle of winter and enjoying that taste of summer. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Amy says:

    Fresh summer berries! Strawberries, raspberries, and saskatoons, they always remind me of summers as a kid on my grandparents farm:)

  • Jody says:

    I love our fig tree. Just standing underneath it picking and eating figs.

  • Jeanne says:

    I'm luck that I live in california where so much produce is available all year long but I would say heirloom tomatoes…I drink in the scent of them. Cooking, fresh, salsa….anyway I can get them!

  • Unknown says:

    Blackberries, warm in the sun, picked for crumble to eat the same night.

  • MrsRobinett says:

    Just one? Thats like choosing between your children which is your favorite? They're all special and different and wonderful. That said though – tomatoes fresh or home-canned, very versatile, can't live without them and can't wait for them to come back in season!
    Love,love,love OITF. Been to two of their dinners!

  • Marlo says:

    To cook….I guess I would say green beans. Fresh from the garden, sauteed with tomatos just enough. Yum.

  • oukay says:

    Tomatoes, of course, although I hope to have some okra before too long.

  • D Darling says:

    Right now I am loving cooking with golden beets!

  • I would have to say tomato's. I love to make bruschetta with the first ripe ones from the garden.

  • Oh, this would be great. With my CSA sign-ups starting soon, I'd get tons of use from this. Also, look at the front-cover eye candy!

  • I'd have to say TOMATOES…but that seems so unoriginal. :) Especially these last few years, since I've quit buying them and only eat what I grow.
    As for something a little more unique, I've really been enjoying doing stuff with lemongrass. It's amazing how much it sells for ($2.19 for .75 oz) and it's almost out of control in my garden. Oh – I almost forgot garlic!

  • Leigh says:

    Tomatoes and basil and berries! Can't wait!


  • Megan says:

    i love cooking fresh kale, straight from the garden into the skillet, with a lil balsamic and spice. yum!

  • shari says:

    i love peaches and recently saw a recipe for grilling them. it's on my summer to do list! would love to enter the giveaway. thanks so much.

  • Stacie says:

    Definitely zucchini! By the end of the season I'm so sick of it but the first few (hundred 😉 ) are something totally magical that I've waited all year for.

  • Jensamom23 says:

    Oh, this looks wonderful! I think fresh basil is one of my favorite things to cook with straight from the garden..pastas, soups, salads, you name it! Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Sarah says:

    Love eating outside…. ESP since it's been so warm in WNC… Getting he garden planted

  • nela says:

    summer, o well fresh tomatoes sprinkled with sea salt, and fresh cut basil, o so yummy