Letter: The care and feeding of public-spiritedness

The Headwaters Foundation’s annual Taste of Rappahannock fundraiser lasted for four hours on Sept. 12. But it took thousands of volunteer hours to make it happen. Kathy Grove already thanked many of the army of contributors to the success of the event — but I want to more particularly recognize those who helped with food preparation.

Once more, Julie Banks, the Rappahannock County Elementary School cafeteria manager, let us use the school kitchen in the afternoons preceding the dinner. They even labeled one of their fridges for our exclusive use. Kayleigh Flanagan, Sara Garcia, Dabney Kirchman, Anne Simon and Ann Stenner became kitchen elves for several afternoons, slicing, chopping, chiffonading, mincing, pasting, mashing, blending, mixing, roasting, sautéing and whatever else was needed.

Sara, AnnaMarie Maher and Pete Stenner helped at the buffet on Saturday making sure things went as smoothly as possible.

At the meat grilling station, Keith Rowand slow-roasted several pork shoulders and grilled 13 legs of lamb. Jeff Reynolds contributed his knife skills to help carve . . . and his big smile.  

Several of our local restaurants provided dishes — so thank you, John Gruber and Marvin Swaner (Flint Hill Public House) for the roasted potato salad; Rachel Rowland (Griffin Tavern) for the couscous, and the corn salad; Terri Lehman (Thornton River Grille Catering) for the roasted salmon; and Brooke Parkhurst (Triple Oak Bakery) for the baklava.

Chef Kurt Streu and the students of the high school culinary arts program prepared, plated and served the hors-d’oeuvres, the appetizers and most of the desserts. Among their contributions were bite-sized Mediterranean-inspired hors d’oeuvres; a chilled peach soup; focaccia olive bread; nectarine cheesecake; apple strudel; raspberry cream pâté a choux; almond macaroons — all truly delicious, and a testament to Streu’s teaching abilities.

But really the meal started in the field — so we all owe huge thanks to the hard-working and generous people who raised the animals or grew the fruit and vegetables used for the dinner — and often donated it for the benefit of the Headwaters Foundation. It truly was a taste of Rappahannock. The list is long and diverse: Mike Biniek and Susan Hoffman of Belle Meade Farm; Larry and Kathy Grove of Belle Ridge Farm; Mike Sand and Betsy Dietel of Bean Hollow Grass Fed; Mike and Molly Peterson of Heritage Hollow Farms; James and Jesse Jenkins of Jenkins Orchard; Nick and Gardiner Lapham, Casey Gustaworow and Stacey Carlsberg of The Farm at Sunnyside; Rachel Bynum and Eric Plaksin of Waterpenny Farm; and Eddy and Karen Williams of Williams Orchard. Not to mention Terri Lehman, who sourced non-local ingredients for the dinner.

As I said, it’s a long list. But it takes a lot of people to pull off an event like the Taste of Rappahannock. Thank you all!

Sylvie Rowand
Taste of Rappahannock 2015, Food Committee