Boston, Mass. and La Farge, Wis., April 23, 2013 – From April 17 to April 28, the Earth is enjoying its very own "Restaurant Week," as more than 95 restaurants across the country join together to host Earth Dinners.
In its 10th season, Earth Dinners put the spotlight on businesses and restaurants that promote local, organic foods. Earth Dinners are hosted by Organic Valley, America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands, and Chefs Collaborative, a national chef network that's changing the sustainable food landscape using the power of connections, education and responsible buying decisions.
"For us, Earth Dinners are a fantastic opportunity for restaurants in our network to highlight what they do every day: serve delicious food with sustainability at the core of their operations," said Melissa Kogut, Executive Director of Chefs Collaborative. "We are thrilled to partner with Organic Valley to help transform the sustainable food landscape in America."
Many chefs are hosting special one-night dinners – and stretching their creativity. Lumiere Restaurant in Newton, MA offered a prix fixe dinner on 4/22 and featured local seafood including Cape Cod sea scallops and Welfleet oyster ceviche. Local Roots Restaurant in Roanoke, VA hosted a dinner on April 18 that featured local farmers and wild-foraged greens from the restaurant's garden. This week, Uncommonground on Devon in Chicago, IL is offering a chef's 3-course seasonal tasting menu through April 24. Their menu features spring products from their mid-west farm and ranch partners.
Businesses that go beyond the traditional definition of restaurant are also hosting Earth Dinners. Grand Central Bakery in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA held an "Eat Like It's Earth Day Every Day" challenge on 4/22, and donated a portion of its proceeds to Chefs Collaborative. Dozens of restaurants are also offering special menu items – from seasonal Earth Dinner dishes, to shining a spotlight on existing menu items that feature sustainable, local, and/or organic ingredients.
"Making the effort to really know where our food comes from gets us in touch with the farmer, the real force behind the food we eat," said Theresa Marquez, mission executive of Organic Valley. "An Earth Dinner need not be a fancy, formal event. Gathering family, friends and neighbors to share local, organic, and seasonal food is occasion enough to celebrate. What better way to savor the first tastes of spring?"
Organic Valley also encourages families and friends, schools, and nonprofit organizations to host their own Earth Dinners. Visit www.earthdinner.org to download a free toolkit and a PDF of the Earth Dinner Book containing helpful tips, quotes and thought-provoking questions to spark meaningful conversation among gues
Earth Dinners: Earth Dinners are a long-standing partnership between Organic Valley and Chefs Collaborative. For more information about Earth Dinners, visit www.chefscollaborative.org/events/earthdinners
Organic Valley: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,834 farmers in 35 states and three Canadian provinces, and achieved $860 million in 2012 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. With its regional model, milk is produced, bottled and distributed right in the region where it is farmed to ensure fewer miles from farm to table and to support our local economies. For further information, and to learn about Organic Valley's 25 years of sustainable agriculture as it celebrates its anniversary in 2013, visit www.organicvalley.coop.Organic Valley is also on Twitter @OrganicValley and Facebook www.facebook.com/OrganicValley.
Chefs Collaborative: Local. Sustainable. Delicious. Chefs Collaborative is a national chef network that's changing the sustainable food landscape using the power of connections, education and responsible buying decisions. For more information, visit www.chefscollaborative.org. Follow Chefs Collaborative on Twitter @chefscollab and on Facebook www.facebook.com/ChefsCollaborative.