Slow Food Temecula Valley will hold a fundraising dinner Feb. 5, 2011. Four chefs will dish up the five-course feast primarily from foods produced within a 100-mile radius of Temecula.
Money raised by The 100-Mile Dinner will help local schools plant vegetable gardens.
The Temecula-area chapter is part of Slow Food, an international movement launched in 1989 to counter fast food. Slow Food encourages people to savor not only their meals but the company of family and friends who gather to eat together. The group laments the loss of this natural pairing – physical and social nourishment – that’s been part of human culture for thousands of years. Too often the demands of modern American life have us skipping meals or rushing through them, inhaling takeout or heavily processed foods that often don’t even taste that great.
“In the Temecula Valley, residents and visitors have access to a wonderful agricultural region rich in tradition, which includes wine and food,” the chapter’s press release about the dinner reads.
The chapter works to help local schools create gardens for growing organic fruit and vegetables – 15 schools as of early 2011. The gardens in turn are meant to educate children about where food comes from, and encourage them to eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Slow Food Temecula Valley provides the labor to start the gardens, works with teachers and local farmers to create a garden-related curriculum, and helps the schools apply for grants.
The Temecula Slow Food chapter encourages people to pause long enough to actually notice and enjoy their food, and this particular event is also meant to showcase foodstuffs produced within a fairly short distance of the Temecula Valley. There are two major advantages to eating local food: it’s fresher, because it wasn’t trucked or flown long distances to get to your table, and it doesn’t contribute to air pollution, for the same reason. (Many books offer a more elaborate explanation of a “locavore” diet – one of them is Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.”)
For the Feb. 5 dinner, Slow Food turned to a number of farmers and other food producers within 100 miles of Temecula, including Sage Mountain Farms, Crow’s Pass Farm, Spice Merchants, Hamilton Meats, Newport Meat Co., Mountain Meadows Mushrooms, Beck Grove and Temecula Olive Oil Co. The event promises hors d’oeuvres, a sit-down dinner (with entrees paired with wines produced in Temecula’s Wine Country), a beer-and-cheese intermezzo and dessert.
The dinner will be held at 6 p.m. at Ponte Winery, at 35053 Rancho California Rd., Temecula, Calif. 92591. The winery phone number is 951-694-8855 locally, or 1-877-314-WINE toll-free. Tickets are $100 per person. To buy, see Slow Food’s website at http://www.temeculavalleyslowfood.org/