Organic Valley and Chefs Collaborative Host East Coast "Earth Dinners" to Gather Community, Celebrate Local Bounty

April 07, 2009
Contact P.R. Elizabeth Horton, Simmer PR
work 207-838-0084 LA FARGE, Wis.

Participating Restaurants Hail from Baltimore, Bethel, Boston, Burlington, Foxboro, New Haven, New York, Troy

Local, Organic, Seasonal Menus Served at Tables from Claire’s Corner Copia to American Flatbread Burlington Hearth to Channel Café

As families and communities prepare to commemorate Earth Day, Organic Valley encourages people across the east coast to celebrate their relationship with the planet by sitting down to a special and meaningful meal – an Earth Dinner. To seed the movement, Organic Valley and Boston-based Chefs Collaborative, a nationwide network of chefs committed to sourcing and cooking with local, sustainable and delicious ingredients, are partnering to host a series of Earth Dinners at well-loved restaurant tables in the region.

East Coast Earth Dinner 2009 restaurant hosts include Chef Claire Criscuolo at Claire’s Corner Copia in New Haven, Conn.; Chef Daniel Sergi at Basta Trattoria in New Haven, Conn.; Chef Michael Bick at Something’s Fishy Catering in Bethel, Conn.; Chef Dan Lopez at Delegates Dining Room at the United Nations in New York, N.Y.; Chef Larry Schepici at Illium and Tosca in Troy, N.Y.; Chef Brian Van Etten at Channel Café in Boston, Mass.; Chef Richard Garcia at Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro in Foxboro, Mass.; Executive Chef Galen Sampson and Chef de Cuisine Christian deLutis at The Dogwood Restaurant in Baltimore, Md.; and Chef Matt Hastings at American Flatbread Burlington Hearth in Burlington, Vt. A complete schedule of 2009 restaurant-hosted Earth Dinners is available at

 “Not only are we committed to sustainability, but also to giving our guests a ‘haute farm cuisine experience’ at an affordable price,” said Chef Richard Garcia of Tastings. “The decision to focus on local, sustainable ingredients began when I started to think about the future of the planet that my daughters would be inheriting. I want to teach them that decisions like buying our produce from the farm down the street helps not only the earth, but also helps sustain the local economy in our area.” Tastings’ Earth Dinner will be a three-course prix fixe meal paired with organic and bio-dynamic wines for $35 per person.

Chef Claire Criscuolo of Claire's Corner Copia in New Haven, Conn., sees the Earth Dinner as a chance to follow her own advice, which is to take this day to "cook like you care about tomorrow."   Criscuolo has hosted Earth Dinners for the past few years at her restaurant, and this year plans to offer a Latin style, all-organic menu featuring crispy corn tortillas with mango jalapeño crema, shitake, sweet potato and butternut squash fajitas, and Mexican chocolate cake with caramel bananas and cinnamon whipped cream. 

The Earth Dinner was launched in 2004 with the idea that Earth Day deserved its own holiday meal, a festive gathering where people could re-forge their relationship with the earth and farmers that provide the food sustaining their bodies and bringing them together with family and friends. Today, the Earth Dinner has grown to national and year-round proportions. It is an opportunity not just to eat, but to talk about, learn from, and rejoice in the food the earth provides. To learn more about the Earth Dinner, visit

While Earth Dinners are taking place at renowned restaurants across the region, it is also Organic Valley’s hope that home cooks will host Earth Dinners by gathering local, organic and seasonal ingredients to create their own menus to prepare and share with family and friends, highlighting the fresh tastes of spring.

On the east coast, fresh tastes of spring ideal for an Earth Dinner might include buttered fiddleheads, briny mussels and clams, split pea soup with meaty ham hocks, or rustic strawberry rhubarb cobbler dusted with maple sugar.  For other earth-friendly ideas, serving suggestions, exclusive regional dishes from celebrity chefs, and organic recipes from organic farmers, go to and

For families, schools and nonprofits who want to host an Earth Dinner, Organic Valley makes it easier and more meaningful by providing a free toolkit at, which walks Earth Dinner hosts through everything from readings about food and nature, conversation starters, and planning tips.

In addition, Organic Valley is accepting requests to support nonprofit and school fundraisers or educational Earth Dinner events at Types of support include a Silent Auction Kit to win one year of free Organic Valley milk, small cash grants, or food donations. For events with 100 or more guests, Earth Dinner hosts can request an Organic Valley farmer to speak and inspire the crowd. Small cash grants are available as well as food donations.

The Earth Dinner is supported by a broad-based coalition of organizations including Beyond Pesticides, Bioneers, Chefs Collaborative, Healthy Child Healthy World, Earth Day Network, Earth Pledge, Eco Education, Ecotrust, Environmental Working Group, Heifer International, Slow Food USA, Small Planet Institute, Social Venture Network, OM Organics, The Organic Center, Organic Consumers Association, and Waterkeeper Alliance. 

Find Earth Dinner on Facebook at


Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned

Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,332 farmers in 32 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $527 million in 2008 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit, and the cooperative’s farmer website, Organic Valley is also on Twitter, and Facebook,

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