Eat, drink and be merry, all in service of worthy causes

Mad River Union

ARCATA – Whether you’re harvesting candy, gleaning autumn’s bounty or quaffing a brew with a brat, late October signals the beginning of the season of the feast. Here, for your consideration, are a selection of opportunities to tuck in and fatten up in time for winter. Eat, drink and be merry, for all of these events benefit worthy causes.

Arcata House Partnership Top Gleaned Chef

Join Arcata House Partnership and their professional gleaner, Joe Zazo, at the Arcata  Community Center, 321 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy., Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. for the Top Gleaned Chef competition, an evening of music, food and a celebration of gleaning, a practice that turns excess into access by diverting food from local grocery stores and farms from the landfill and instead benefitting people who are food insecure in the community.

What is gleaning? According to Arcata House Partnership, in Humboldt County, one in five people are food insecure, yet 40 percent of food goes to waste. To help remedy the food crisis, the organization, in conjunction with Food for People, employs Zazo, who has been working to reduce food waste for the past 16 years. Zazo drives a white van around Humboldt County collecting food that can no longer be sold from grocery stores and local businesses and delivers it to many different organizations.

Arcata House Partnership reports that each year, Zazo diverts some 225,000 lbs. of food from the landfill, instead providing it to people who otherwise would go hungry. Over the past 16 years, Zazo, alone, has redistributed over 3.6 million lbs. of food.

The Top Gleaned Chef competition will celebrate Zazo’s work through a gleaned-food cook off, with enthusiastic community members competing against each other to win the title of Ultimate Gleaned Chef. Teams have collected sponsors and pledges to qualify. Offsite, they will create a dish using only ingredients, gleaned by Zazo, from a mystery basket they picked up the previous day. The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges in a blind taste-test at the event. Attendees will also have the opportunity to sample each dish. In addition, there will be a beer and wine bar, as well as light hors d’oeuvres by Citrine Catering.

A fundraiser for Arcata House Partnership, the event will feature live music by two favorite local bands, RLa and the Jim Lahman Band. Doors open at 7 p.m., Gleaned Chef winners announced at 7:30 p.m., followed by an evening to dance the night away.

Tickets are $30 and are available at Wildberries Marketplace, People’s Records and All proceeds benefit the programs for Arcata House Partnership.

Lutheran Church of Arcata Oktoberfest German Dinner

If you’re in the mood for some substantial fare, the Lutheran Church of Arcata, 151 East 16th St., holds its annual Oktoberfest German Dinner that same evening, Saturday, Oct. 28. The authentic German meal highlights a weekend of festivities at the Arcata church, as it joins Lutherans across the globe in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Oktoberfest will feature an authentic seasonal German menu showcasing Sauerbraten pork roasts marinated for a full week in a traditional wine-vinegar-spice brine; rich gingersnap gravy; homemade Spätzle (German pasta sautéed in butter); sweet-and-sour red cabbage (Suss-saures Rotkraut); crisp and tangy German-style green salad with a sharp Bavarian vinaigrette; and garden-fresh bacon-pear green beans (Birnen, Bohnen und Speck).

Accompanying this meal will be three freshly-baked German breads – Vollkornbrot, Sonnenblumenbrot and Walnuss-Pfeffer Roggenbrot – prepared especially for the dinner by Arcata’s Beck’s Bakery, and crafted from all-organic, Humboldt County-grown and locally-ground grains. The breads, based on traditional German recipes, will be baked the very morning of the event, and, in addition to being served with the meal, loaves will be available for sale, while supplies last.

Desserts will not disappoint – German Apfelstrudel and Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake), as well as sundry other German pastries. To drink, a selection of imported German beers and wines will be available, as well as local fresh-pressed apple cider, coffee, tea and lemon-kissed icewater.

The Oktoberfest meal is served tableside, family-style. Bavarian and fall-themed décor plus live accordion music complete the event’s festive Old World atmosphere. The reservation-only dinner will be presented in three seatings: 3, 4:30, and 6 p.m. The cost is $18/$9 for students and kids. After expenses, funds raised are dedicated to Christian service and outreach in the greater Humboldt County community. This event has sold out for seven straight years, so German food lovers who wish to attend are encouraged to macht schnell and get their reservations as soon as possible by calling The Lutheran Church of Arcata at (707) 822-5117 or emailing [email protected].

All are welcome for The Lutheran Church of Arcata’s Reformation Service the following morning, Sunday, Oct. 29 at 9:30 a.m.

Fall luncheons

Feasting is not just for evenings, and women’s groups are having a series of light luncheons honoring women.

Soroptimist International of Arcata holds its annual fall salad luncheon Thursday, Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Leavey Hall, 1730 Janes Rd. in Arcata. Enjoy a luncheon of ham and turkey, a delicious assortment of salads, with rolls and dessert. Beverages are also included and take-outs are available. Tickets are $12/$5 for children ages 6 to 12 years/free for children under 6 and are available at the door or from any Soroptimist club member. Proceeds benefit Soroptimist’s community service projects. For more information, contact Marge Dimmick at (707) 822-0539 or Yvonne White at (707) 832-2066.

The Eureka Veteran Center hosts the ninth annual Honoring Women Veterans Program Friday, Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m at the Arcata Veterans Memorial Building, 425 J St. The event is designed to recognize the many women who have voluntarily given of their time to serve their country during both war and peacetime. The Eureka Vet Center would like to invite all women veterans to attend. This year’s theme is “Grow Through What You Go Through.” The program will include lunch by the Sons of Italy, a presentation by Eureka Vet Center staff and a prize raffle. Registration and coffee will be from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. RSVP to the Eureka Vet Center at (707) 444-8271.

The Wha Nika Women’s Club holds its annual Fall Salad Luncheon Thursday, Nov. 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m at the Mad River Grange, 100 Hatchery Rd., Blue Lake. You’ll enjoy many salads, sweet breads, beans and good company, as well as a raffle and opportunity drawing.  Admission is by donation of $8, and proceeds benefit the Blue Lake Museum.

Rotary Club of Arcata Sunrise Taste of the Holidays

And finally, mark your calendars for the mother of all movable feasts, Taste of the Holidays, Thursday, Nov. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center, 321 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy. The event, held annually, features Humboldt County’s best specialty foods and drinks, as local brewers, vintners, distillers, caterers, student chefs, restaurateurs, grocers and other food-producers lay out gorgeous spreads of delicious bite-size delectables and drinks.

There’s also an impressive Dutch raffle with some pretty terrific baskets and goodies donated by local businesses.

Taste of the Holidays began in 1993, after a presentation to the Rotary Club by Wildberries owner Phil Ricord, who was then manager of the Foodworks Culinary Center in Arcata. According to the Rotary website, “The concept of showcasing local specialty food and beverage producers fit nicely with Rotary International’s focus on vocations, and provided our newly-formed Rotary Club with a much needed signature fundraiser.

“The first Taste of the Holidays was actually held in the warehouse of the FoodWorks Culinary Center. The following year, since the warehouse was chock-full of product, the event was moved to the historic Jacoby’s Storehouse, which had recently been beautifully restored in downtown Arcata. After many enjoyable years at the Storehouse, the event was moved to the new Arcata Community Center in 2002, and we continue to enjoy success as ‘the first holiday party of the year’.”

Proceeds of this annual event benefit the programs of the Rotary Club of Arcata Sunrise Community Foundation. Tickets are $30, with a request that attendance be limited to adults 16 and over. For tickets, visit, e-mail [email protected] or join the club at one of their regular Friday morning meetings.





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