I have indulged in my greatest passion, perhaps even grander than cooking, and do I dare confess…eating. Greeting the hands that feed me brings me immeasurable joy. Over the past few days I traveled within fifteen miles of my home to my favorite farm, a hydroponic greenhouse, colorful and stylized storefronts and wine cellars, a butcher shop and deli, and of course, my favorite supermarket in town. I learned more about their businesses and the labor of love that pours into their food and libations.  I learned what makes each product unique, for example, Finger Lakes Fresh employees people with disabilities to grow and package their greens. (I only hope my little sister Ophelia will have the opportunity to work in such a welcoming and bright environment when she grows up.) I got to know the faces and the stories behind the people that feed me just a wee bit more, and have yet another opportunity to thank them for everything they do. They make me, my belly and my health pretty damn happy.

Steve shows me how the lettuce grows in an organic, hydroponic (water and nutrients only) system, year-round!
Steve shows me how the lettuce grows in an organic, hydroponic (water and nutrients only) system, year-round!

So why the culinary adventures? Because I am preparing a sixteen-person, three-course gourmet feast to support Gardens 4 Humanity (G4H), a total team effort with my kitchen-crusading, co-chef Nora Hansanugrum and spectacular event planner Tanicka Decembre. G4H is a community-driven food justice organization in Ithaca, NY that brings mobile teaching kitchens and community gardens to less privileged neighborhoods in Tompkins County.

Sense & Savor: A Communal Food Affair will be an intimate, gourmet dining experience that immerses guests in local bounty and beverage, from cutting board to mouth. Cocktails and appetizers, and three gourmet courses paired with local spirits and wine will be enjoyed in a unique, daring fashion (sorry folks, surprises to be leashed at the dinner table!).


Which brings me back to the producers. It would be impossible to reach our $1,000 fundraising goal without their mind-blowing generosity and sincere support in food, beverage and decor. I hope my sentiments were conveyed, and if they weren’t, each one of these mighty heroes can expect a hearty thank you to follow the feast!

In advance, I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to you:

GreenStar Coop
The Piggery
One of a Kind Orchards
Finger Lakes Fresh
Stick & Stone Farm
Moore Tree Farm
Sapsquatch Maple Syrup
Red Feet Wine
Glenora Wine Cellars
F. Oliver’s

So, stay tuned all for pictures, a short film, recipes and more from what promises to be an enchanted evening!

If you’d like to make a donation to Gardens 4 Humanity and help us reach our $1,000 goal, 
please visit: www.evk9.peaksoverpoverty.org