Farm dinners

Redefining "farm-fresh": Diners and farmers come together in Oregon and California
Lisa Taggart

Green orbs of lettuce brighten the dark loam fields stretching west to California's State 1. A strip of ocean is just visible in the coastal mist. And smack in the middle of the farm is a linen-covered banquet table with formal place settings for 100. Not your typical restaurant decor ― but you can't beat the ambience.

Featuring local, organic ingredients, the dinner is one of a dozen offered from now through fall at Northern California farms by a five-year-old program called Outstanding in the Field. It's the brainchild of Jim Denevan of Gabriella Café in Santa Cruz, California, a chef who hopes to reconnect gourmet diners with the farmers who feed them.

It's such a good idea that others have followed suit, including Portland-based Plate and Pitchfork and Sand Rock Farm B&B in Aptos, California. Call it outdoor dining with a fresh twist. Dinners from $60 per person.