On Sunday, August 31, the Outstanding in the Field bus will be arriving in the Berkshires for a third year on the hills of Lila’s Farm in Great Barrington. Executive Chef Brian Alberg and his crew from The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge will be manning the field kitchen and the celebrated long table presenting a five-course meal to 175 guests, one of the biggest dinners of Outstanding in the Field’s (OITF) season. This is the third year Brian Alberg is the selected chef for the Berkshire OITF dinner.
Ingredients for each OITF meal are almost all local, sometimes sourced within inches of the guests’ seats at the table, and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. After a tour of the site, guests settle in: farmers, producers, culinary artisans and diners sharing the long table.
The first dinner event at Indian Line Farm in Egremont sold out in four hours. In 2013, OITF presented at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield with a second dinner at Lila’s Farm in Great Barrington, which sold out in 20 minutes. This year’s event at Lila’s Farm also sold out in approximately 20 minutes. In 2013, OITF produced 86 dinner events with 90 percent of tickets sold for the season.
In general, many people travel for OITF events with a high percentage of repeat guests. A guest will attend a dinner in their home state and then travel to another event elsewhere and bring family and friends. Based on data provided from the previous two years’ ticket sales in the Berkshires, between 70 and 80 percent of OITF ticket buyers were from areas outside the region including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, Boston and further afield.
With a minimum of 150 seats at the table, the OITF annual dinners have a direct impact on the Berkshire economy beyond farmers, chefs and staff fees. The dinner guests stay in local lodging establishments, visit restaurants during their stay and explore the region visiting cultural institutions and retail shops along the way.
- According to OITF, more than 50 percent of the ticket price goes directly into local businesses. There is a site fee to the hosting farm, a chef’s fee for participating, locally sourced food costs, wine costs (with a focus on local wineries, breweries, distillers and local distributors) plus equipment rentals and staffing. With this year’s dinner ticket at $235, the 175 seats will result in a total spend back into the local economy of approx half of $41,125 for a one-night event. Some amount of the remainder is spent by the eight- to ten-person OITF crew on accommodations, food and more during their stay.
About Lila Berle and Lila’s Farm
Lila Berle is a lifelong ecologist and farmer. She is dedicated to land conservation in the region, particularly the preservation of historic homes and view sheds at cultural institutions. She has established conservation easements on 850 acres in Monument Valley and on Monument Mountain in the Southern Berkshires. She has been chairwoman and/or president of the Norman Rockwell Museum, Chesterwood, Edith Wharton Restoration and the Berkshire Hills Regional School Committee. She currently serves on the boards of The Mount, Berkshire South Community Center and Sculpture Now. She was the first female Senior Warden at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and has been an active member there for more than 50 years. Farming and her family are her passions. Pulling lambs, and mowing and baling hay, are favorite ways to spend a day. Lila has four children, 14 grandchildren and 800 sheep on the ground today. Lila’s Farm is located at 8 Locust Road in Great Barrington.
“I’m thrilled to see so many young people come to the Berkshires to enjoy this experience and to see how their visit resonates in our region. Last year’s event brought us all together and it was a powerful event,” said Lila Berle of Lila’s Farm. A great way to protect our land is to feed people locally and let visitors from outside the region witness what our chefs and young farmers are doing here. A new generation is beginning to find purpose in life by using the land in very careful husbandry here in the Berkshires. I am pleased to host Chef Brian Alberg, whose energy and creativity in the kitchen have inspired many young students. Brian buys fresh produce from young new farmers to help their chosen lifestyle be sustainable. Jim and his outstanding team have shown us the way to move together and we are thankful to them.”
Chef Brian Alberg from The Red Lion Inn spent about $4,700 on sourcing local food for the OITF dinner at Indian Line Farm in 2012. In 2013, he spent a bit more because of local rabbit on the menu. Overall, The Red Lion Inn spends $650,000 annually in support of local food producers and artisan foodmakers. That number has a huge impact on the agriculture of our region from a local food standpoint and deserves recognition.
- “Third time’s the charm! I am honored to be invited back to present the Berkshire Outstanding in the Field dinner again this year,” said Brian Alberg, Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director at The Red Lion Inn. “Presenting the Berkshire bounty to guests from our local community as well as the dedicated followers who travel far and wide to Outstanding in the Field events, I am so lucky to be doing what I love alongside Lila Berle! Thank you to founder Jim Denevan and Outstanding in the Field for spreading the word and sharing the experience on Lila’s Farm, one of my favorite places in the Berkshires.”
Menu for Sunday, August 31st
Passed Hors d’oeuvres
Charred Berry Patch Radishes
Cricket Creek Farm Feta
Joshua’s Farm Deviled Eggs
Smoked East Coast Bluefish
Lila’s Mutton Jerky
Dinner served Family–Style
Ronnybrook Farm Salted Butter, Berkshire Mountain Bakery Breads, Farm Girl Farm Radishes & Mushroom Conserva
Chilled Willow Brook Farm Sweet Corn Soup
Berkshire Heirloom Tomato Salad with Equinox Farm Arugula, Charred Berkshire Mountain Bakery Olive Bread & Rawson Brook Farm Monterey Chevre
Muga Rosado, Rioja, Spain, Magnum
Lila’s Mountain Lamb Linguica served with Wilted Berry Patch Greens & Roasted Peace Valley Farm Fingerlings
Thymiopoulos, Young Vine Xinomavro, Naoussa, Greece
Raven & Boar Whey-fed Pork Shoulder braised with Sumac, Tomatoes & Foraged Mushrooms
Badia Coltibuono, Chianti Classico, Estate, Tuscany, Italy
Roasted Windy Hill Farm Blueberries, Golden Harvest Peaches & Berle Farm Yogurt with Berkshire Wildflower Honey
About Brian Alberg
Brian Alberg, Executive Chef at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA and Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations for Main Street Hospitality Group, is a staunch supporter of the local food movement in the Berkshires and Hudson Valley. In his ten-year tenure at the Inn, he has established strong relationships with regional farmers and food producers and purchased more than $650K in local foods annually, a compelling contribution to our regional economy.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, he is an active member of Chefs Collaborative and Boston Chefs, and serves on the board of the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Railroad Street Youth Project where he coordinates the culinary arts program in the Berkshires. For two years, he was the President of the Board of Directors of Berkshire Grown, an organization dedicated to promoting the support of local farming and strengthening the relationships between local farmers and restaurants.
As a member of the James Beard Foundation, Brian curates Berkshire regional dinners annually at the James Beard House. He participated in the James Beard Foundation’s TasteAmerica Boston event in 2013 and has been the selected chef for three years for Outstanding in the Field, held at iconic farm locations in the Berkshires. He took home top prize in Boston’s American Lamb Jam in 2012, recently participated in the Nantucket Wine Festival and will be a featured chef at the New York Wine & Food Festival in October. He will be teaching a series of classes at Haven’s Kitchen in New York beginning in November. Alberg is the founding chair of Berkshire Farm & Table, the organization bringing culinary artisans, farmers and food makers to the table in the beautiful and historic Berkshires and Hudson Valley.
About The Red Lion Inn
A charter member of Historic Hotels of America and winner of the Wine Spectator award for excellence, The Red Lion Inn (c. 1773) has been providing food and lodging to guests for over two centuries. It offers 108 antique-filled rooms and suites, traditional and casual dining, a gift shop, pub with nightly entertainment and a full range of amenities including free WiFi, a year-round heated outdoor pool and in-room massage therapy. The Inn is recommended by National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times and The Boston Globe and has won awards and been noted for its commitment to sustainability. For more information, contact 413.298.5545, or visit www.redlioninn.com.
About Main Street Hospitality Group
Main Street Hospitality Group, a privately held company based in Stockbridge, Mass., is a hotel management firm overseeing operations at The Red Lion Inn, The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA, The Williams Inn and Elm Street Market. As owners and operators, Main Street Hospitality Group has a long history of excellence in preservation, innovation and operations delivering great experiences to guests, employees and owners through an authentic approach to hospitality, service and management. For more information, visit www.mainstreethospitalitygroup.com.
About Outstanding in the Field
Farm dinners are very popular in today’s culture. People are excited to get to know farmers, visit farms and celebrate real food culture. Farm dinners have caught on, and OITF now organizes as many as 90 events a year. Celebrated chefs like Dan Barber, Paul Kahan, Frank Stitt, Gabrielle Hamilton and Scott Peacock have joined the team. This year marks OITF’s tenth national tour.
To receive information about the event, join the OITF mailing list.
About Berkshire Farm & Table
Berkshire Farm & Table is an organization whose mission is to cultivate regional economic development through the advancement of food culture in the Berkshires. Through building relationships, producing events and fostering dialogue, they bring the unique stories and expertise of Berkshires’ culinary artisans, farming values and agritourism experiences to the forefront. For more information, visit berkshirefarmandtable.org.
Photos of last year’s events plus photos from Outstanding in the Field’s website are available by contacting Angela Cardinali, Berkshire Farm & Table, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Red Lion Inn inquiries, contact:
Stephanie Gravalese, 413.528.1658 or email@example.com