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Farm to Table

“Dinner in the Vineyard” benefits environmental education

webThe MEarth garden project in Carmel Valley provides hands-on environmental education for 2,500 Monterey County students every year and this weekend the local food community is joining together to help MEarth continue its good work.

You can enjoy an elegant evening this Saturday, June 9th and at the same time help MEarth flourish by attending the second annual Dinner in the Vineyard at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley.

Executive Chef Cal Stamenov – honorary co-host of the event – will prepare a gourmet feast in the lodge’s wedding garden, right next to the winery’s estate vineyards and surrounded by fragrant roses and herbs.

A few tickets are still available for this amazing evening, which kicks off at 5pm with delicious appetizers and fine wines donated by local wineries. A silent auction and a live auction take place during the reception – last year’s prizes included vacations, sailing on Monterey Bay, meals prepared by famous chefs and lots of wine gifts.

95876-250Dinner will feature first-class, sustainably-produced ingredients from local farmers, ranchers and fishermen, many of whom have been featured in the pages of Edible Monterey Bay magazine. Grass-fed beef is from Paicines Ranch and free-range chicken is from Fogline Farms in Soquel. Monterey Bay salmon is from Local Catch Monterey Bay. Seasonal organic vegetables are provided by Serendipity Farms, Marquita Farms, Swank Farms and from the MEarth gardens as well. A limited number of tickets are still available for $150 and can be purchased until they sell out at: www.mearth.info/div.

In line with the goals of the MEarth project, Chef Cal is partnering this year with a local company called The Offset Project to make sure this is a zero-waste event. The Offset Project advises on ways to reduce energy consumption and recycle or compost wastes. Organizers hope Dinner in the Vineyard will not only nourish and delight the palates of this year’s guests, but also be an inspiration for reducing the carbon footprint of everyday activities.

MEarth itself is a paradise of flowers, fruit trees and organic vegetable beds spread out on 10 acres next to the Carmel Valley Middle School. It is a non-profit organization that serves youth throughout Monterey County by teaching about environmental sustainability.  Students learn through gardening, composting, eating and cooking in a brand-new, state-of-the-art LEED certified “green” classroom.

The innovative program includes school day classes, as well as after school activities and summer camp. Curriculum focuses on the pressing environmental problems facing our planet, such as: habitat destruction; invasive species; pollution; overpopulation; and over-consumption. Their goal is to produce tomorrow’s environmental leaders.

MEarth just finished up its 17th school year. It has thrived thanks to plenty of community support from volunteer gardeners to amateur environmentalists. This weekend the local foodie community is showing its appreciation through Dinner in the Vineyard. All proceeds go to make MEarth an even better local educational resource. Hope to see you there!

About the author

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Deborah Luhrman is publisher and editor of Edible Monterey Bay. A lifelong journalist, she has reported from around the globe, but now prefers covering our flourishing local food scene and growing her own vegetables in the Santa Cruz Mountains.