It is with great pleasure that I invite you to attend A Harvest Sampler 7 p.m., Sun., Oct. 7, at the Atrium in downtown Redding.
I’ll wait while you go mark your calendar.
While you do that, I’ll share a photo taken just for this occasion by photographer Kat Domke, who happens to be my daughter-in-law, married to my son, Josh. They’re the parents of Austin, Noni Doni’s 22-month-old pride and joy. In this photo, Austin was telling me about the contents of my basket after I stopped by Kat and Josh’s house to raid their garden for the photo shoot.
Yes, there was a wardrobe malfunction of sorts earlier when Austin decided to lift the hem of my dress, but fortunately webtender son Joe (aka “Uncle Doh”) in the Czech Republic knows better than to include those pictures in the slideshow at the end of this post.
Back to A Harvest Sampler, an event that breaks A News Cafe.com’s four-year-long party dry spell.
Why a party now? Well, because we have so much to celebrate.
First, A Harvest Sampler will celebrate my being chosen from more than 600 applicants as a California Central Valley – (region 15) delegate who’ll attend the International Slow Food Terra Madre conference in Turin, Italy, next month. There, I will join more than 3,000 delegates from 130 countries. As a journalist and foodie, I will blog in real time from Italy and write posts that will appear here on A News Cafe.com so I can share the entire Slow Food Terra Madre experience with you.
Speaking of sharing, let me show you this other photo of Austin sharing a bite of his apple with Noni Doni. Is that adorable, or what?
True, in part, A Harvest Sampler is a fundraiser to help get me to Italy. But it’s also a chance to celebrate food grown, produced and enjoyed in the Slow Food tradition, a time to proudly recognize people who grow or produce regional foods and ingredients that come solely from within our north state region. A Harvest Sampler is graciously co-presented by the non-profit Slow Food Shasta Cascade, a chapter that includes Shasta, Tehama and Butte counties.
That’s why A Harvest Sampler will also celebrate Slow Food Shasta/Cascade, our north state chapter that provides not just information and education, but fun, delicious events, such as last week’s Field to the Fork – Fork the Fig! at Maywood Farms in Corning. (More about that, later, but let me just say that someone you know well – hint: her name rhymes with Noni – won the fig-cooking contest. As I said, more about that soon, complete with the award-winning recipe.)
Next, A Harvest Sampler will celebrate the talents of chefs who’ll incorporate locally produced ingredients in delicious foods. For example, A Harvest Sampler will showcase the culinary skills of Chef Reynald Tel, originally of France, now living in the north state with his Redding-born wife, Cameron Long-Tel, and the couple’s four adorable little boys.
Chef Reynald Tel will prepare the majority of samplers, made from our region’s meats, cheeses, produce, olives, nuts and oils. Representative foods will include such producers as Prather Ranch Meat Company, Moseley Family Cellars, Furnari Sausage and Churn Creek Meadows Organic Farms, to name a few.
With three weeks left until the party, we are adding new food providers daily to A Harvest Sampler’s roster.
As part of the fun, Chef Reynald will demonstrate how to make a simple fall appetizer. While he cooks he will tell you about an upcoming, one-night, five-course, pop-up restaurant where Chef Reynald will be the star chef the evening of Nov. 3. (Mark your calendar for that exclusive dinner. You won’t want to miss it.)
The atmosphere will be magical, too, as A Harvest Sampler will have the flavor of a rustic Italian street scene, a look brought to life by Terrie Barr of Party Dogs Events and Rentals, who specializes in creating out-of-the-box event decor. Valerie-Ing Miller has even created am Italian playlist expressly for this party, which she will preview next Friday.
Keeping with the Italian theme (I love a theme), you will sample Sweetspot‘s home-made gelato, Cinders Wood-Fired Pizza, Barbecue Bootcamp master John Reit‘s grilled Italian meatballs (the pizza and grilling will be done on the premises outdoors in the Atrium’s courtyard), the Pink Box Bakery‘s Italian pastries, and a few more surprises, such as an espresso bar, and some special treats prepared by yours truly, and friends.
Speaking of special treats, A Harvest Sampler will offer a silent auction with opportunties to purchase quality art, services and gifts from some of our most respected artists, businesses and individuals, and a few exclusive items from outside the area, too. (A few days before the party, I’ll post a slideshow of some of the items on A News Cafe.com.)
Finally, A Harvest Sampler celebrates all of you: A News Cafe’s loyal family of readers, advertisers and contributors who have made your online news magazine such a valuable source of news, features, color and civilized conversation and commentary.
A News Cafe.com turns 5 years old in a few weeks. I hardly recognize it from that first “baby blog” created in response to my “departure” from my decade-long former newspaper job. (Wow. When was the last time I mentioned that?) In five years, A News Cafe.com has grown from a few thousand unique visitors each month, to as many as 60,000, and 2.2 million page views every month.
For me, these last five years have been a labor of love that delivered some unexpected transitions during a couple of particularly hairy years. But even the most challenging times pushed me to grow. We’re still here, and A News Cafe.com is stronger than ever, thanks to you. We’ve come a long way, baby.
Over the years people often ask how they could demonstrate support, and how they could help keep A News Cafe alive. A Harvest Sampler gives one such way to show support in a tangible way. Best of all, in the process, we get to have a party, too.
I hope to see you there.
Advanced-purchase tickets for A Harvest Sampler cost $40, and may be ordered via brownpapertickets.com.
Or, send a $40 check to A News Cafe.com before Oct. 1 to P.O. Box 993533, Redding, CA 96099, with “A Harvest Sampler” in the memo. (Checks received later than Oct. 1 will have tickets waiting at will-call.)
For more information you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $45.
P.S. We are still accepting more food-and-wine producers at A Harvest Sampler. Also, volunteer opportunities are available to assist with everything from set-up and guest check-in to serving and clean-up. If interested, email me at email@example.com.
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.