Outstanding in the Field with Anthony Chittum at Grassentials Farm

One Outstanding in the Field tradition is that guests bring their own dinner plates for a vibrant, colorful table—but there are plenty of extras if you forget. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

(Left) Tony Chittum of Vermilion and the upcoming Iron Gate restaurant in Dupont; (right) farmer Matt Rales and Outstanding in the Field founder Jim Denevan. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

A chalkboard displayed the night’s menu—a preview of what Washington can expect when Ton Chittum takes over at the Iron Gate. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

The heard of Belted Dutch dairy cows grazed throughout the event in one of Rales’s pastures. Occasionally the farmers take them “guerrilla grazing,” transporting them by truck to other fields around Potomac. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

While Rales’s cows are used for dairy—as opposed to beef cattle used for meat—the farm doesn’t bottle milk. Instead, all of it goes toward feeding the calves, making for extra-rich veal or strong animals that can reproduce in the future. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

The meat was delivered on Wednesday, and the Vermillion team prepped for three days before cooking in a makeshift field kitchen. Chittum is a four-time veteran of Outstanding in the Field, and the meal went off without a hitch. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Flies plagued the cooks plating platters of passed hors d’oeuvres to the point that they had to designate an official swatter to stand over the food, but the kitchen’s heat kept the pests away later. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Marinated lamb and rabbit livers were skewered with cipollini onions and pork belly. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

As the sun set, one of the all-star dishes of the night arrived on heaping trays: suckling-pig porchetta with creamy romesco sauce and smoked-potato salad. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Open seating lends itself to making new friends, especially when sharing food. The family-style courses were shared among sections of eight diners along the table. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

An appetizer salad stars locally foraged chicken mushrooms, charred leeks, Pipe Dream Farms aged goat cheese, and meaty lamb pancetta. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Chittum’s focus for Iron Gate is Italian and Greek cuisine prepared with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible. A sample of what’s to come: meatballs made with the farm’s goat and Carolina rice, in a Greek-style avgolemono sauce of lemons and Grassential eggs. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Hearty portions of bone-in rabbit stew with olives, potatoes, and freshly made black pepper cavatelli. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

The Outstanding in the Field crew travels the country with all the essentials—minus linens and glassware—for putting on blowout farm-to-table dinners Photograph by Jeff Elkins

The iconic Outstanding in the Field table, which, once filled with happy diners, quickly transforms into an open-air party. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

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