Friday, October 8, 2010

Fruit of the Soul: Food, Funk, and Fun for Four Good Causes

It's Fruit of the Soul season! I'm so excited about this annual event for several reasons. First, one of the beneficiaries is Olivewood Gardens, where I volunteer as a cooking instructor. I've talked about it endlessly but if it's new to you, this is a magical seven-acre property in National City where low-income urban kids learn to garden and cook nutritious food that comes from the garden.

Second, it brings together a wealth of wonderful restaurants and other food businesses that support not just Olivewood Gardens but also the Monarch School, which educates homeless and at-risk kids and helps with their basic life needs; ARTS: A Reason to Survive, which provides arts-based programs for children with life challenges (illness, abuse, addiction, and the like); and Sezio, which helps young artists and musicians find a voice and an audience. Music, art, nutrition, education--they're a winning combination for raising healthy children and sending them toward a healthy, productive adulthood.

Finally, Fruit of the Soul is simply a blast. Check out this video to see what I mean. Specialty Produce transforms its warehouse into a rockin' palace of deliciousness. There will be live music by Bushwalla, Mark Boyce of G. Love, Miss Erika Davies, The Steel Monarchs (Monarch School Steel Drum Band), Lisa Campbell, Raggle Taggle, Paul Grinvalski + Friends, and Stack-Aly (DJ). And more than 30 restaurants will be plating tempting dishes that will go oh so well with some fine beverages. Take a look at who's participating:

Cafe Chloe
Catamaran's Atoll Restaurant
Challenge Dairy & Sadie Rose
Chef Celebration
Cowboy Star
Cupcakes Squared
Gelato Vero Caffe
Indulge Contemporary Catering
Jake's Del Mar
Just Call us Catering
Kensington Grill
Kitchen 1540
La Valencia Hotel
Lucha Libre
Miguel's Old Town
MIHO Gastrotruck
Pacifica Del Mar
Point Loma Seafood
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
The Spot
US Navy Culinarians
Stars & Stripes
The Wild Thyme Company
Tom Ham's Lighthouse
Water's Fine Catering

The Tractor Room
Palm Breweries
Widmer Brothers
Kona Brewing Co.
Refine Cocktails
Blind Lady Ale House
PRP Wine
Peerless Coffee & Tea

Need more? How about a silent auction filled with fantastic opportunities for fun and a gallery of art you can purchase, via art haul trucks curated by Sezio.

So, by now you're breathless wanting to know when this is all happening and how to get tickets, right?

Mark your calendar for Saturday, Oct. 16, starting at 6 p.m. at Specialty Produce (1929 Hancock St. in Middletown). Tickets range from $30 to $115 and you can buy them online at the Fruit of the Soul site.

As organizers Kelly Orange and Niamh Scott say, "Be Inspired. Give Back. And Dance It Out!"

See you there!

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