One in 10 Vermont farms lost their summer and fall crops in the deluge of Tropical Storm Irene, but the watertight farm-to-fork connections here mean that plenty of chefs are rallying to their side — with dinners, auctions and other creative endeavors. Next time you go out, why not make it count? Here's an assortment of upcoming benefits and relief efforts around the state.
• Friday, September 23, 7 p.m.: At Stowe's Oktoberfest this weekend, all proceeds from the opening gala at the Jackson Arena — aptly named Roktoberfest — benefit flood-relief efforts around Waterbury, including damaged food businesses there. Music from 7 lbs. of Pork is free, but the wursts, beer and wine aren't — each cha-ching means money for flood victims.
•Sunday, September 25, 6:30 p.m.: Local cook Andrea Todd collaborates with Jen Smith of the Nomadic Oven for the second of three dinners to benefit the Intervale Center Farmers Recovery Fund. This one is at the Champlain Club at 20 Crowley Street in Burlington. For a minimum donation of $40, diners get a multi-course meal with donated beer and wine, plus live music. To reserve a seat, email Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org. (The third dinner, a quasi-putluck, is on October 19 at Burlington's North End Studio, with donated country-fried chicken from Rockville Market Farm).
• Sunday, September 25, 6:00 p.m.: Bakers and chefs from King Arthur Flour whip up what's sure to be a sublime wood-fired meal to benefit Vermont Food Bank Disaster Relief. The $50-a-head dinner is served at KAF's Baking Education Center in Norwich, with beer provided by Long Trail. To make a reservation, visit the King Arthur Flour website.
• Sunday, October 16, 6 p.m.: The Perfect Wife in Manchester pulls out all the stops for a gala-like night of food, wine and live music from Ben Taylor and Sarah Lee Guthrie; all of it benefits the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund. Pay $75 for dinner and the show; $35 for the music only. Full details are on the event's Facebook page.
• Thursday, November 3, 6 p.m.: Fancy a four-course meal with beer pairings, all to benefit Intervale farmers? Head to the Farmhouse Tap & Grill's downstairs parlor where, for $95, you can indulge in a hearty banquet prepared by chef Phillip Clayton, and a live auction. Only 42 spots are available, so reserve early.
• Ongoing, through October 31: Black River Produce donates one percent of all native produce sales to the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund. "We need to insure that all our Vermont farms are able to sustain production into the future and that their success encourages a new generation of farmers," writes co-owner Mark Curran.
• Ongoing, through November 16: Bring your bottles to any one of 50 redemption centers around the state and you can donate the proceeds to the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund. The "Redeem to Rebuild" effort was organized by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG); for a list of participating centers, visit VPIRG's online map.
If you know of an upcoming food-related benefit, let others know in the comments below. Bon appétit!