Ask Eartha: Celebrate the fall equinox at the Harvest Dinner | SummitDaily.com

Ask Eartha: Celebrate the fall equinox at the Harvest Dinner

by Eartha Steward

Canning salsa with ingredients from our garden was my favorite fall activity growing up in rural Vermont. Living in Summit County, I’ve had to put my homemade salsa making dreams on the shelf, literally. While I try not to get hung up on the state of my green garden tomatoes, I still find myself missing the ease and convenience of having a flourishing, low-maintenance garden. I’ve had to make some adjustments and sacrifices in order to eat locally (or regionally) in Summit County, but it’s been a great journey. I’ve discovered bok choy and Swiss chard, and I feel guilt for thinking less of these glorious greens as a child. I like knowing where my food comes from and how it is harvested. When I eat local from a nearby farm or at the Dillon farmers market, I always chat it up with the folks who grow my food. I like to hear that my produce is local, organic, pesticide-free, straight from the horse’s mouth. While chatting up your farmers isn’t always easy, it is possible. High Country Conservation Center (HC3) has teamed up with two local farms, a local ranch, a sustainable fishery, and a local restaurant to provide a one-night only dining experience that will be the closest you can get to knowing everything there is to know about the ingredients in your meal. There’s only one way to celebrate the first day of fall, and that’s with a deliciously local three-course meal at HC3’s Harvest Dinner. The Harvest Dinner isn’t just a fundraiser for the High Country Conservation Center; it’s an opportunity to enjoy a meal that features healthy recipes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. Furthermore, the dinner will be prepared by a connoisseur of all things local and fresh: Chef Vinny Monarca. The Harvest Dinner is made possible with the help of Vinny’s Restaurant in Frisco. Vinny’s Euro American menu is based off of the availability of seasonal ingredients. Chef Vinny Monarca has extensive experience cooking with fresh ingredients and creating healthy dishes. If you can’t attend the Harvest Dinner, use your purchasing power to support a business that’s committed to purchasing local and seasonal foods by visiting Vinny’s Restaurant (310 Main St., Frisco). The Harvest Dinner is set for Sept. 23, with seating beginning at 5:30 p.m. Reserve your seat by calling (970) 668-5703. Foods will be featured from Grant Family Farms, Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy (courtesy of SIRJJ in Frisco), High Country Highlands Ranch, and That Fish Guy. All Harvest Dinner sponsors will be present for discussions and questions. A sneak peak at the Harvest Dinner menu includes: Kale & Corn Fritters (vegetarian), Eggplant Haystacks with Heirloom Tomato (vegetarian), Root Vegetable Stew with Homemade Biscuit, Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Roasted Beets (vegetarian), Grilled Vegetable Tofu Lasagna (vegan), Fall Harvest Vegetable Enchiladas with Goat Cheese (vegetarian), Homemade Yukon Potato Gnocchi with Grass-Fed Beef Bolognese Sauce, Marinated Grilled Half-Chicken with Savory Yukon Potatoes and Vegetable, a Wild Sockeye Salmon dish, Seasonal Berries with or without Fresh Whipped Cream, and more. The Harvest Dinner is a unique opportunity to celebrate the fall equinox, show appreciation for all things local, and support grassroots conservation efforts in Summit County. Last year’s Harvest Dinner sold out and received rave reviews from attendees. Again, all proceeds from the Harvest Dinner benefit the High Country Conservation Center. Eating locally and knowing where your food comes from is a great way to join the conservation movement. Show your support for local, sustainable food growers and for HC3 by joining us at the Harvest Dinner. Eartha Steward is written by Jennifer Santry and Erin Makowsky, consultants on all things eco and chic at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation in our mountain community. Submit questions to Eartha at eartha@highcountryconservation.org or to High Country Conservation Center, PO Box 4506, Frisco, CO 80443.