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12th annual Friends of the Fields Harvest Dinner a community-wide effort
The dinner features delicacies cooked by local chefs and made almost entirely from ingredients sourced within 100 miles of Sequim.
Formed as an all-volunteer nonprofit in the late 1990s, Friends of the Fields in 2010 merged with North Olympic Land Trust, Clallam County’s leading land conservation charity, and became its farmland conservation division.
Tickets are $115, of which $85 is a tax-deductible donation.
Tickets must be ordered prior to the event at FriendsofTheFields.org or at 681-8636.
No tickets will be sold at the door.
“The idea of the Harvest Dinner is to promote farmland conservation by showcasing the incredible quality of the meat and produce that comes from our local area,” said Matthew Randazzo, NOLT’s development director.
“This dinner is an all-volunteer effort, and we receive incredible support from across the community, which shows just how passionate our area is about preserving fresh local food and the jobs that rely upon local agriculture.”
Gabriel Schuenemann of Alder Wood Bistro will be volunteering his services as head chef of the multi-course dinner. Other parties donating ingredients, products, or expertise to the dinner include the Jamestown S’klallam Tribe, Nash’s Organic Produce, Pane d’Amore, Michael McQuay of Kokopelli Bar & Grill, Mount Townsend Creamery, Sunrise Meats, Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy, Johnson Farms, Olympic Cellars Winery, Harbinger Winery, Camaraderie Cellars, and Graysmarsh Farm, among others.
The dinner concludes with a dessert auction featuring delicious showcase confections with names such as “Goddess of the Farm Cake” and “Viennese Sachertorte.” Chefs and restaurants donating desserts include Raindrop Desserts, The Oak Table Cafe, Chestnut Cottage Restaurant, Olympic Lodge, Good to Go Grocery, Magdalena Bassett, Della LaCour, Julie Jacobsen, Betsy Wharton, Nancy Watson, Yvonne Yokota of Yvonne’s Chocolates, and Teresa Rampp.
“One highlight of every year’s Harvest Dinner is the incredible table displays and decorations produced by ‘couture garden florist’ Kindryn Domning and Tom and Catherine Mix of the Cutting Garden,” Randazzo said.
“Each year, Tom and Catherine donate hundreds of dollars’ worth of fresh flowers and design studio time, and Kindryn donates three days of intense labor to transform the materials contributed by the Cutting Garden and other local businesses into decorations that transform our charity dinner into a sparkling harvest hall.”
Catherine Mix, co-owner of the Cutting Garden — a popular Sequim wedding and event location — and her family have been supporting Friends of the Fields and its annual Harvest Dinner ever since they moved to the area.
“When Tom and I moved to Sequim in 1998 specifically to farm, we heard that a group was forming to preserve farmland, and Tom was pleased to help organize Friends of the Fields,” Mix said.
“We strongly believe that land use planning must recognize and protect the priceless resource of our fertile farming soil and temperate climate,” she said.
The Cutting Garden intends to donate 25 bunches of fresh flowers to this year’s Harvest Dinner decorations, which will also include contributions from Vision Landscape Nursery, Nash’s Organic Produce, Sunny Farms, and others.
Guest of honor
The 200-person dinner will feature a tribute to the Harvest Dinner’s Guest of Honor, Friends of the Field co-founder Bob Caldwell, delivered by award-winning Sequim organic farmer Nash Huber.
“Friends of the Fields would never have come into existence without Bob Caldwell,” Huber said. “He was the one who stepped up all those years ago after a lot of discussion and made the decision that we were actually going to do this. That’s why Friends of the Fields exists.”
After 29 years with USDA Soil Conservation Service, Caldwell retired to the Olympic Peninsula in 1994 and became a Founding Director of Friends of the Fields in 1999. Since that time, he has been an integral leader with Friends of the Fields and then with North Olympic Land Trust after the two organizations merged in 2010.
The dinner also features a speech about the importance of farmland conservation from County Commissioner/State Representative Steve Tharinger and a presentation of aerial photographs of NOLT’s conservation accomplishments by Russ Mellon.
In addition, NOLT is holding an online auction of “Sequim Bounty,” a watercolor painting by local artist Patricia Taynton, which she specially created to act as the poster for this year’s Harvest Dinner. The painting, which features a bucolic agricultural scene from the Sequim-Dungeness Valley, is currently being auctioned online at http://tinyurl.com/NOLTpainting, ending on Wednesday, Sept. 28.