Welcome to Tour de Farm;  Minnesota style.  I can’t express how excited I am about this summer.  We are going to be visiting four different farms and celebrating all the hard work that they do year round.  If that is not enough I get to cook with four good friends of mine.

It all started in having family meal in a field at 1am.

Last year, I heard that the national tour of Outstanding in the Field was coming to the Twin Cities area.  I had no idea of how to get in touch with them directly, so I went to the website and sent off an email to anyone there that would listen.  I think I said something to the effect of, “I will cook, clean, or do anything I can to help out…”  The next thing I knew, Lenny Russo from Heartland was calling me and asking me to co-chef the event.   Needless to say, It never hurts to just ask.

So, there are lot of other details that I could tell you about that event and that night, but like I said, started at 1am at family meal.  There is a restaurant tradition of family meal.  Some restaurants do pre-shift, others do post-shift.  This was about the most amazing family meal ever.  We were all cleaning after a long night, and then there were two tables left standing in the field and we put together some food and wine and just sat under the stars are talked food, politics, craft vs. art, etc…

This is where I think the inspiration started.  I remember Dave Minar, of Cedar Summit, asking to me at the dinner, if I would be interested in helping do something like this locally. “Sure.” I said.  That night sitting at the restaurant after this long and beautiful day, sitting on the front steps of Corner Table, the staff and I joked about having a dinner right in the middle of Nicollet Avenue and shutting down traffic.  Then about two weeks after the event, Eric and Lisa Klein came to me and asked, “How did Outstanding in the Field go? Do you think something like this could happen locally? ”  Well, the comments and the ideas kept coming.

Here we are, four chefs, four farms, four dates.  I have been in close contact with Leah and Jim at Outstanding in the Field.  They were the ultimate inspiration for this.  Seriously, I would have talked Jim’s ear off that night, but I could tell, it was a long day for us all.  Thank you to him for listening.  I am sure he hears some chefs talk and talk and talk, but I really wanted to make something happen.  The other person in all of this at OSIF is Leah.  She is the one that I was in contact with up to the event last year and is the person that executes detail upon detail.  Someone else may drive the bus, but I think she is the one that gives the driver a place to go.   Jim and Leah have given us their blessing to take the inspiration that they have provided and make this event happen.  We are not wanting to take away from their dinners when they come to town (more details to follow) but, we understand that summers in Minnesota are busy, we just want to give as many people as possible to come and experience that amazing feeling of not just eating locally, not just enjoying community, not just having a great “what I did with my summer vacation” story, but we want everyone to experience ALL of this, as many times as possible.  This year, you will be able to experience food in a whole different way.

There you go….. any questions?  Check out the websites: tourdefarmmn.com and outstandinginthefield.com.  We are listening.