Around 200 people were on hand on Thursday at Veterans Memorial Park for the Farm to Fork Dinner, hosted by the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce, which highlighted local businesses, growers, and local commodities.
According to co-host Jennifer Diaz, the fundraising event netted about $3,680 this year –roughly double the dollar amount raised during the 2017 dinner. Diaz credited the Colusa County community as a whole for making the event a success.
“Seriously, I really want to thank the community in every aspect – donations, restraints, ticket purchases – because if it wasn’t for them, this event would not be successful. In my mind, this is not a ‘me event’ it’s a ‘we event’ – it’s a community event,” Diaz said.
Diaz said that at least $2,000 of the total raised will go will to the Premier Mushroom Non-Profit Grant Program – $750 more than last year.
Premier Mushrooms, one of the principal sponsors of the Farm to Fork Dinner, also provides mushrooms for sale at the weekly Colusa Certified Farmers Market, where 100 percent of the sales are contributed to the grant program. By combining the sales of mushrooms and the donation from the Farm to Fork Dinner, the program has awarded grants of up to $250 to various local non-profits and service organizations over the years. Representatives of two previous grant recipients, the Stagehands Theater Group and the Arbuckle/College City Volunteer Fire Department, spoke about the benefits of the program during Thursday’s dinner.
The rest of the money – around $1,600 – will go back into the Colusa Certified Farmers Market to cover advertising costs, certification fees, and to help with the implementation of a handful of new programs, as well as covering the $10 vendor fee on weeks where sales are down, Diaz said.
“Although we charge $10 for a table at the Farmers Market, we will let that slide if vendors aren’t having a good day, because we want our vendors to come back week after week,” Diaz said. “A lot of times, I have to make up for that.”
A small portion of the funds raised this year will be put back toward next year’s Farm to Fork Dinner, she added.
Among the patrons at Thursday’s event was Colusa resident Gordon Wiley, who said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience – from the food to the friendly service by the staff from Market Street Grill and Rocco’s.
“It was so good,” Wiley said. “I will give one person, (Diaz’s co-host) Donna Phelan, a lot of credit – she puts so much into it. The food is good… I love it.”