Well gentle readers, as I write this post it’s the first Sunday of Autumn 2010. Last week’s 90 degree temperatures have tumbled to the low 60′s and, as I sit here gazing out my window I suddenly realize the trees in my neighborhood are already changing from vivid green to deep umber gold. If I’ve been a bit oblivious to the fact that our precious summer is in hasty retreat, perhaps it’s because life here at fire has been a blur of activity.
At the restaurant, in the last week or so (in addition to the normal challenges of running a busy independent venue) we’ve hosted both a sold out Napa wine dinner, and a fundraising dinner for a local school. We’ve held our second summer farm tour and potluck lunch for our chefs and staff. And all the while, Chef Doug and local food activist Kari Moore have been busy working as co-chairs for this past weekend’s Ripe Festival at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.
If you missed it, Ripe was an awesome celebration of local food. The event featured workshops on everything from planting, to canning, author lectures, cooking competitions, and local chef led tastings and seminars. A farmer’s market showcased growers, cheese-makers, and bakers from across our community. The kick off benefit dinner on Thursday night was a dreamy never before staged event. Chef Doug, along with Chef Ben Bebenroth of Spice of Life Catering and Chef Tony Smoody of Bon Appétit designed and cooked an elegant 5 course all local meal served under the stars on Wade Oval to over 240 grateful guests.
Thousands of folks came out for the three day locavore extravaganza. We are heartened to see that our passion for building a robust local food community is a passion shared by so many others all across the region. Thanks to the Cleveland Botanical Garden, to all the farmers and vendors and to all the volunteers who came together to make this event such a huge home run.