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Feasting for a Cause

Dinner in the Vineyard nourishes Mearth project

Founder Craig Hohenberger tells guests about the Mearth project

The green thumbs of our friends over at the Mearth project are useful for growing vegetables and raising environmentally savvy students, but did you know they are also fabulous for fundraising?

Mearth teamed up with Bernardus Lodge last Saturday night for its second annual Dinner in the Vineyard event. The glitzy feast was held outside on a perfectly balmy evening. Some 150 guests mingled over local wines and cheeses while they perused table after table of silent auction items donated by Mearth supporters.


Bernardus Chef Cal Stamenov and Mearth manager
Tanja Roos enjoying the balmy evening

Massages, gift baskets, luxury meals, a weekend in Vail! Everything from acupuncture to original artwork was up for sale and the bidding was fast and furious.

I was quickly outbid for the copper-framed mirror I had my eye on, then outbid over and over again.

“We were hoping to raise $50,000 to support the Mearth program and I’m confident that we met our goal,” said Executive Director Andrea Lewis. “Everything went beautifully from the meal to the participants. We hope that everybody learned something about Mearth and had a good time.”

More than 100 Monterey Bay area businesses contributed goods and services for Dinner in the Vineyard.

All the food and wine was donated by local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and winemakers, many of whom have been featured on the pages of Edible Monterey Bay.

The local foods dinner was masterfully prepared and presented by Bernardus Executive Chef Cal Stamenov and pastry chef Ben Spungin.


Mearth Executive Director Andrea Lewis thanks sponsors

Wine-sodden bidders made the after-dinner live auction a real show. The stakes were high, with items like a week in the eco-tourism paradise of Costa Rica and lessons at a prestigious cooking school up for grabs, as well as an “instant” wine cellar replete with 70 bottles and a wine refrigerator.

If you couldn’t make it to Dinner in the Vineyard, make sure to watch for it to come around again next year. Like the trees at Mearth that are just beginning to bear fruit, it is an event destined to become bigger and juicier year after year.

Founder Craig Hohenberger tells guests about the Mearth project.

The Mearth garden project is located at Carmel Valley Middle School and provides environmental education to 2,500 students throughout Monterey County every year.

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.

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