Outstanding... yes, in the field. | Rock Candy

Outstanding... yes, in the field.

by

5 comments

BISCUITS AND CORN MUFFINS:  Amidst natures glory at Scott Heritage Farm
  • Kat Robinson
  • BISCUITS AND CORN MUFFINS: Amidst nature's glory at Scott Heritage Farm
I took part this weekend in an unusual event that I would love to see happen again. It matched up hungry folks, hard-working farmers and top chefs on the grounds of the Scott Plantation Museum. And what a day.

The event, one of 88 dinners across the U.S. and Europe this year run by Outstanding in the Field, was attended by well over a hundred people Saturday afternoon. We all started gathering out at the Scott Heritage Farm behind the Plantation Museum around 2 p.m. There we met with Jody Hardin and Barbara Armstrong, who started the farm in September of last year. It’s been a tough first year. They’ve been using goats and pigs to clear out the underbrush and such but are still just three acres into the 40 acre share they have out there. It hasn’t deterred them a bit.

PORK RINDS:  As an appetizer.
Hor d’ouerves were served — some very eclectic appetizers, I have to admit. For instance, pork rinds. Pimento cheese on soda crackers. Quail legs breaded with War Eagle Mill oats, deep fried and served with pepper jelly.

OLD SPOT RILLETTES:  With dill pickle and fig mustard.
  • Kat Robinson
  • OLD SPOT RILLETTES: With dill pickle and fig mustard.
And then there was this. This is an Old Spot rillette with dill pickle and fig mustard. And I ate it. Yes, it was pork. The meat in this divine bite of goodness came from one of Hardin’s own Glouchester old spot lard hogs — an animal never shot up with antibiotics, a pig that spent its life rooting in the forest and eating grass and whatever stuff it could find out on that farm. And I had no allergic reaction, no digestive discomfort. There is no way I can express how amazing that is.

THE BUS:  Its like a culinary version of the Further Inquiry, IMHO.
  • Kat Robinson
  • THE BUS: It's like a culinary version of the Further Inquiry, IMHO.
So… folks gathered, had some wine or a cold Diamond Bear Rocktoberfest and skuttled about for the little bit of shade on the surprisingly warm afternoon. Once everyone had arrived, the folks from Outstanding in the Field talked with us about what they do. And I have to tell you, it’s really cool. They travel across the United States and Europe in a bus (okay, they don’t take the bus to Europe) and pair up with farmers and chefs to create these unique events that bring together hungry folks with these farmers, producers and chefs to share a meal created from local foods. There’s a great website you should check out with all the information.

CORNISH HENS:  Dinner time.
From there we split into two groups — one to visit the Scott Plantation Museum and the other to tour the farm. These chickens (don’t worry, they look better when they’re not molting) are Cornish hens. 200 of them are being raised out in this pen that moves from place to place… there’s a big contraption where the hens roost that captures their… scat, as it were, so it can be taken elsewhere on the farm for fertilizer. These chickens are four weeks old — they’ll be full grown in another two weeks.

THATS A BRAVE WOMAN:  And a big hog.
We walked on back to the pig enclosure, where we were introduced not only to the roustabout rumble-and-tumble pigs vying for a bite to eat — but where we found Hercules. Or rather, where Hercules was convinced it was time to come out. Hercules weighs better than 700 pounds. Barbara joked that Jody used to ride him around. Those of us brave enough to get in the pen were invited to come up and have a look. Since much of the time I have more bravado than brains, I took them up on the offer. It’s rare you see a hog the size of a large calf, but there you go.

DINNER FOR 100:  Or more.
BOX OF PLATES:  In case you forgot your own.
After the other half of the tour we all sat down to dinner. You bring your plate to one of these shindigs; for those of us who forgot, there’s a case of mismatched plates the Outstanding in the Field folks bring with them everywhere, so no worries. The table was an impressive sight, standing between a line of trees and the garden that will hopefully one day produce a lot of food for a lot of folks. Right now, it’s providing produce to several Scott families, and that’s awesome. There were all sorts of items out in that garden. Jody invited us to go out and pick ourselves a fresh cherry tomato off the vine — though I didn’t see anyone willing to do that. There was arugula, broccoli, even okra — still producing and still gorgeous on the vine.

It was a leisurely meal. We started out just chatting with each other over the table, enjoying cheese biscuits and cayenne pepper topped cornmeal muffins with fresh local water. It was followed by a succession of amazing and delicious dishes from Chef Lee’s crack staff, paired with wine and good conversation.

I’m interested to see when Outstanding in the Field will be back. It was a magnificent experience. Of course, I bet we could do smaller scale versions of this ourselves. How about it?

APPETIZER:  Quail legs encrusted in War Eagle Mill Oats, deep fried and served with pepper jelly.  They were remarkably moist inside, and the oats gave the dish a nice and complex texture.
  • Kat Robinson
  • APPETIZER: Quail legs encrusted in War Eagle Mill Oats, deep fried and served with pepper jelly. They were remarkably moist inside, and the oats gave the dish a nice and complex texture.
THE PEPPERY CORNBREAD:  was deliciously enhanced with cayenne pepper and a dollop of butter on top.  It went splendidly well with the turnip greens and white wine.  The cheese biscuits were moist and tasty.
  • Kat Robinson
  • THE PEPPERY CORNBREAD: was deliciously enhanced with cayenne pepper and a dollop of butter on top. It went splendidly well with the turnip greens and white wine. The cheese biscuits were moist and tasty.

A SIMPLE SALAD:  With mixed greens from North Pulaski County, sweet and spicy pecans, a vinaigrette made from sorghum raised at Scott Heritage Farm and chevre from Two Goats Farmstead near El Dorado.  And pickled beets -- which I tolerated.
  • Kat Robinson
  • A SIMPLE SALAD: With mixed greens from North Pulaski County, sweet and spicy pecans, a vinaigrette made from sorghum raised at Scott Heritage Farm and chevre from Two Goats Farmstead near El Dorado. And pickled beets — which I tolerated.
A CAST IRON CAPSULE OF LOVE:  The stuffed eggplant was intricately layered with Cajun spices and ground sausage, a little cheese and a lot of warmth.  I was surprised I didnt draw back a nub from trying this.
  • Kat Robinson
  • A CAST IRON CAPSULE OF LOVE: The stuffed eggplant was intricately layered with Cajun spices and ground sausage, a little cheese and a lot of warmth. I was surprised I didn't draw back a nub from trying this.

TURNIP GREENS:  With long plum tomatoes served up in their pot-likker, amazingly good with the cornbread and a white blended wine.
  • Kat Robinson
  • TURNIP GREENS: With long plum tomatoes served up in their pot-likker, amazingly good with the cornbread and a white blended wine.
ARKANSAS RICE GRITS:  I could eat these every meal for the rest of my life.
  • Kat Robinson
  • ARKANSAS RICE GRITS: I could eat these every meal for the rest of my life.

SORGHUM ROASTED AYLESBURY DUCK:  Cooked up with Arkansas Blackapples, turnips and garlic and with a muscadine glaze on the side, the duck came from P. Allen Smiths Moss Mountain Farm.
  • Kat Robinson
  • SORGHUM ROASTED AYLESBURY DUCK: Cooked up with Arkansas Blackapples, turnips and garlic and with a muscadine glaze on the side, the duck came from P. Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm.
SWEET POTATO PIE:  From local sweet potatoes, with locally grown candied pecans and whipped cream.
  • Kat Robinson
  • SWEET POTATO PIE: From local sweet potatoes, with locally grown candied pecans and whipped cream.

From the ArkTimes store

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment
 

Add a comment

Clicky