Quite the ‘Taste’ 

How do you transform the 100-year-old Mount Vernon Barn into a wonderland, serve more than 200 supporters of Headwaters magnificent food, and produce two fun auctions? It is with months of work led by Headwaters Executive Director Kevin Brandriff and his detail-oriented assistant Brooke Lange and a planning committee of Dot and Rick Lessard, Kathleen Grove, Amanda Stephens, Barney O’Meara, Steve Carroll, Deanna Akre, Kathi Dutihl, Lindsay Sonnett, Kat Habib, Tanya Paul, Emily Harris, Jennifer Aldrich, Jennifer Manly, Ralph Bates, Patricia Brennan and Rachel Rowland. Not only did they plan out every detail, they put in weeks of hard work producing the result.

This year, the Rappahannock teachers and students, including the culinary students, the band, the Honor Society and the Quiz Bowl team all provided their time and talents with Dave Naser as point person and led by Rappahannock County Schools Superintendent Shannon Grimsley, who may have met every single attendee. Kat Habib, Jen Perrot and Lacey Jenkins prepared the floral arrangements with flowers raised by Martin Woodard.

Photos by Ray Boc
The Taste’s live auction, held on the second floor of the event’s home, the 100-year-old Mount Vernon Barn.

Rachel Rowland of Griffin Tavern personally spoke with every restaurant and inn in the county to ask that each produce an extraordinary meal for the Taste. We thank: Before and After, Central Coffee Roasters, The Country Café, Foster Harris House, Griffin Tavern, the High School Culinary Program, led by Kurt Streu, Headmaster’s Pub, The Inn at Little Washington, Skyward Cafe, Sperryville Trading Café and Market, Thornton River Catering (Terri Lehman), Triple Oak Bakery and Tula’s. And our local farms and orchards: Jenkins Orchards, The Virginia Chutney Company and Waterpenny Farm. The food was safely delivered to the barn by the use of the Food Pantry Truck. Thank you one and all.

The evening began with “community libations” with thanks to Barboursville Vineyards, Copper Fox Distillery (Wasmund’s), Gadino Cellars, Glen Manor Vineyards, Grey Ghost Winery, Hopkins Ordinary Ale Works, Linden Vineyards, Narmada Winery, Pen Druid, Quivremont Winery, Rappahannock Cellars and Wild Roots Apothecary. Foster Harris House and The Inn at Little Washington provided dinners for four to be raffled off (quite successfully).

The silent auction was made possible by a host of wonderful businesses and individuals including: Andrew Thompson, DDS; Red Truck Bakery, Grass Roots Restaurant, Kat Habib, Schoolhouse Nine, Wild Roots Apothecary, R.H. Ballard Shop & Gallery, Xpress Copy & Graphics and Goulet Pen Co., Flourish Root Florals, Pen Druid, Rhonda Jenkins-Ramey and Jodi Millies, Headwaters Board of Directors, Scott Schlosser, Rosa Crocker and Jay Monroe, Maggie Rogers, John Beardsley, Emily Harris, Rick and Dot Lessard, Anne Williams, Cindy Griffin and Shane Benson of Mountainside Physical Therapy, Jennifer Heverly, Sylvie Rowand of Laughing Duck, Brooke Parkhurst of Triple Oak Bakery, Molly Peterson, Ken Courtade, Van Scoyoc Associates, Little Washington Wellness & Spa, Patti Brennan, Jim Abdo and the White Moose Inn, Rosa Crocker, Karma by Erwin Gomez, Hi Soo Hepinstall, Ducard Winery, Barney O’Meara, Susie MacNelly, Susan Dienelt, Rosabel Goodman-Everad, Susan Raines, Steven Kenny, Ruthie Windsor-Mann, Anita “Zymolka” Amrhein, Ruth Anna Stolk, Gary Anthes, Nol Putnam, Hans Gerhard, Chris Stephens, Nedra Smith, Benita Gowen and Haley Fine Art.

Upstairs in the transformed barn, the program began with an incredible performance by two vocalists fresh from the newly established Chorus Program, Sophia Hernandez and Kirsten Dalle Lucca, directed by Keith Hudspeth. After a truly inspirational speech by Osha Kondori, RHS and Stanford University graduate who spoke of the “Permission to Dream” that the Headwaters Next Step program gave her. The Challenge Grant portion of the evening was an amazing success. Kathy Grove, on behalf of the board of directors, announced that due to the generosity of donors at past Tastes of Rappahannock — and in honor of the 20th anniversary — Headwaters will be offering an additional twenty $2,000 scholarships this year for high school seniors and recent graduates.

On to the live auction and the conclusion of the evening. Thank you to the donors of some amazing auction items: Christine and Clifford Mumm, Caroline Anstey, Deanna and Chuck Akre and John and Diane MacPherson, Dayn Smith and Nancy Moon of Glen Gordon Manor and Jennifer Manly. And another huge thanks to the generous bidders and congratulations on some wonderful purchases.

Our sponsors ensure the success of the event and we are eternally grateful to: Head of Class: Dee and Chuck Akre and Jennifer Manly, the Honor Roll: Paul Smith and Michael Dennis, Judith DeSarno, Jay Brown and Kevin Adams, Kathleen and Larry Grove, Dot and Rick Lessard, Cheri Woodard Realty, Thom Pellikaan, Lila Helms and Michelle Benecke, Bill Dant and Daniel Wilson, Diane and Lowell Dodge, Union Bank and Trust, Steph Ridder and John Beardsley, Nedra and Hugh Smith, Barbara and Matthew Black, and John Jacquemin

The night of the event there were nearly 100 volunteers, including the serving team led by Kathy McNitt, working in the barn. How can we thank all of you? You prove how amazing this county is and how much support there is for the Rappahannock County Public Schools.

And then there was the day after — and turning that barn back into its usual self. The same team that made it all happen spent hours deconstructing. A special thanks to the Lions Club and to Walt Childress and Phyll Smith and Gary and Wendy Aichele from Washington Baptist Church.

Judy DeSarno
Co-chair, Headwaters Foundation Board of Directors

Kevin Brandriff
Executive director, Headwaters Foundation

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