As many of you may have heard, or found out after watching the tv for three hours with no sign of Outstanding in the Field, we were bumped from the Thursday morning Today Show to Friday morning instead. Apparently they had more important Thursday morning news: a story about a skimpily-dressed Hooters employee flying on Southwest Airlines who made other patrons uncomfortable and was consequentially asked to leave the plane. Unfortunately, the segment time on Friday was shorter and could not include Jim’s cooking demonstrations or the featured purveyors who we were planning to make an appearance. On Wednesday, Jim spent the day running around the five boroughs collecting vegetables and supplies from various farmers and markets to be used in the recipe demonstrations on the show. He got peppers and tomatoes from Molly, Vincent and Glen at El Girosal Garden in the Bronx and cranberry beans and cucumbers from the Union Square Market. Molly was planning on coming to the studio on Thursday morning and John Amaroso from Gerike Farm on Staten Island was to be there as well. Neil Cocker, our musselman from Nantucket, was even making the drive from the island to be on the show. Despite the shorter segment time, the result was still beautiful, the live portion being cut with the footage that Alicia and her NBC crew caught when visiting the California Sea Cove dinner at the beginning of August.
Now the irony of OitF being on the Today Show is that half of our team hasn’t even seen the show before, including Katy who was to be on camera. Katy mentioned this a few times to people in the studio that morning while her and Jim were getting made-up for the segment and they were baffled. It became apparent that she should just play along.
In the primping room, Katy’s dress was pressed, her hair freshly braided and face caked with more make up than she would otherwise wear in a lifetime. Jim was saddened that the only fuss he received was a touch of powder. The green room was full of morning snacks and Jim and Katy were happy to visit with the lady from Farm Aid.
At one point the pair found out that unfortunately Al Roker was ill and unable to host the segment so Elizabeth Vargas was standing in.
The OitF segment was set to be at 9:35 and in the minutes prior, Katy and Jim were whisked on to Rockefeller Plaza as producers and cameramen scurried around to prepare for the countdown to airtime. They were surrounded by screaming tourists displaying loud signs professing love to mothers and various home states.
In the seconds counting down Katy realized that her mic was still attached to Daisy Fuentes and there was a moment of scrambling before Elizabeth Vargas introduced Jim and Katy and a lifetime of work was compressed into 2 short minutes of description. Jim quickly shared the origin of Outstanding and Katy was just barely able to squeeze in her sound byte of how the number of farmers markets in the United States has doubled in the past five years. After it was all over Katy exclaimed “Is that it?” and before they knew it the long table, decorated in our farm plates was being packed up and carried out of the Plaza.
Veronica and Leah, on the other hand, had a very different experience of the Today Show. On Thursday afternoon, during rush hour, the team drove the jeep and trailer from The Long Island City industrial area into Manhattan to drop off the chairs, plates and table cloths to be used in the shoot the next day – in rush hour. Luckily Leah is a calm, patient driver and Veronica an excellent navigator and co-pilot and the two managed to find their way through the cloud of honking and masses of cars to 49th and 5th, Rockefeller Plaza. After unloading, they decided it would be easiest to park on-island for the night and managed to find a place next to a park near the West Side Highway, where the vehicle would be safe and legally parked until 8 am.
The next morning before heading out the door to pick up the jeep, Leah realized that she could not find the keys to the vehicle: they were lost and gone. Luckily, the chosen overnight parking space was a short block away from the Manhattan Jeep dealership and even more lucky, the mechanic was willing to do a “service call” with the computer to program the new key, saving us a potentially gross one-block tow bill.
First challenge of the morning aside – next was to find a suitable spot to park our monstrosity for a couple of hours so Veronica and Leah could head back to the studio and catch the action. Much, much easier said than done. After driving around for an hour, rejected from one lot, rejecting paying $109 for two hours of parking and unable to find a suitable spot, they decided to wait it out in a bus parking zone. Unfortunately, they had to miss the entire show and arrived to Rockefeller Plaza only to see the final packing up of the faux foliage and tables.