Outstanding in the Fields at 13 Mile Seafood on Apalachicola Bay

Tonya's Happy Belly Smile!!

Tonya’s Happy Belly Smile!!

“Eating an oyster is like kissing the sea on the lips” or so said dead French poet Leon-Paul Fargue!

Tommy Wards Apalachicola Oysters have a special blend of sweet and salty unique to the Florida Panhandle. Oysters are like fine wine grapes in that they carry with them the essence of area where they are harvested. Oystermen call this “merroir”, the water equivalent of the French wine term “terroir”.

Artist Jim Denevan

The “farm to table” movement began gaining serious momentum in August of 1999 when chef and artist Jim Denevan founded “Outstanding in the Field”. He started by inviting friends to dine IN the farmers field on foods FROM the farmers field that were cooked right in the field.  Jim’s mission was to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.

Outstanding in the Field is a roving culinary adventure – literally a restaurant without walls. Over the past 15 years they have hosted nearly one thousand events in fields all across the country. Tonya and I shared in an outstanding adventure recently with Jim Denevan when we dined with him along the shore of the Apalachicola Bay at 13 Mile Seafood.

Oysters with Bacon & Beer,  YES!

Oysters with Bacon & Beer, YES!

13 Mile Seafood is not a restaurant, but an working oyster house built in the 1920’s where Tommy Ward and his family have harvested oysters, shrimp and other fresh seafood from the Apalachicola Bay for five generations.

In the quest for fresh there is no fresh like the freshness of an oyster that is harvested from the Apalachicola Bay in sight of your table and served up on the ½ shell by the same hands that raked if from the bottom of the bay! Oyster farms make amazing dinner sites.

Mark Robertson, Founder Pensacola Bay Brewery

Mark Robertson, Founder Pensacola Bay Brewery

Dining was family style at a single table for 80 eclectic strangers with couples sitting across from each other. On one side of us with his wife was Pensacola Bay Brewery founder Mark Robinson. Mark shared beer with us from his personal growler that was crafted just for this dinner!

Historic Gibson Hotel

Historic Gibson Hotel

And how best to rest after consuming enough seafood to stock the aquarium at Marineland? Nothing beats a vintage boutique hotel. Local gems that are more than 100 years old with less than 100 guest rooms. That describes the Gibson Hotel in downtown Apalachicola.


You have got to eat every day and sleep every night, why not take the time to make it an adventure once in a while.