A garden party, quite naturally, kicked off the Aug. 16 Harvest of the Heart gala for the Ceres Project, which allows young people to grow and prepare nurturing food for people being treated for serious medical conditions.
At the gardens behind O’Reilly Media in Sebastopol, supporters of Ceres strolled among the fall vegetables and sipped champagne or local wine or Ceres Smoothies, tasted the plentiful appetizers and perused the temptations of the silent auction.
From the garden it was a short walk to the O’Reilly lawn and the inviting dining area encircled by a wall of standing, wooden pallets.
The family-style meal was a healthful, colorful feast orchestrated by celebrated chefs John Ash and Barbara Hom and prepared by Ceres teens.
A program reminded the diners that the Ceres Project has provided nearly 300,000 meals to patients.
The food is intended to be so nutritious that it boosts the healing process by fortifying clients’ immune systems. The record $176,000 raised at the outdoor gala helps assure that Ceres will grow and cook for even more people at a time in their lives when they’re especially in need of wholesome, healing, comforting nutrition.
It felt, quite appropriately, like a celebration within an enormous wine barrel.
Santa Rosa’s historic DeTurk Round Barn served as an ideal venue for the 25th anniversary gala of the Sonoma County Wine Library.
As guests arrived the afternoon of Aug. 10, they were offered a glass of Korbel champagne and invited to stroll around both floors of the splendidly repurposed circular barn.
A summer breeze ventilated the landmark and helped also to circulate lively tunes of Heard These Cats, a versatile jazz band. Servers with Park Avenue Catering made certain there was no shortage of hearty, pleasing appetizers.
Plentiful also were silent auction temptations, local wines and opportunities for patrons and winemakers to speak at length.
During a brief program, guests learned of the history and resources of the Sonoma County Wine Library from “Wine Guy” Tom Simoneau, current wine librarian Jon Haupt and Bo Simmons, the previous wine librarian and current manager of the Healdsburg Regional Library.
The Wine Library, created largely through the vision and effort of late wine writer and community activist Millie Howie, is located within the Healdsburg library.
One day, Afghan artisans sharing their works with the world may well recount that an event essential to their success was the dinner, auction and compelling program that happened Aug. 2 at the Stubbs Vineyard winery and home west of Petaluma.
Percy Stubbs, a Sonoma Academy graduate, student of Columbia University and son of winery owners Tom and Mary Stubbs, hosted the event with Savannah Turley. While at Sonoma Academy, they helped raise more than $120,000 for the Turquoise Mountain Foundation, an international effort that is revitalizing the Old City of Kabul’s historic arts and cultural center.
The project at Sonoma Academy helped to make possible the construction of a school and an arts institute in that section of Kabul, for years rendered a virtual wasteland by war and intimidation from the Taliban.
Two special guests of the event at Stubbs Vineyard spoke of the rebirth of the arts district in the ancient city: Shoshana Stewart, who directs the Turquoise Mountain Foundation and works to develop international markets and museum exhibits for the woodworkers, jewelers, ceramists, painters, calligraphers and artisans it serves, and former Army lieutenant general and then ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, now at Stanford.
Percy Stubbs told guests their contributions will do something exciting in Kabul: Provide startup funds for art-institute graduates now ready to go into production.