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9th Annual Make A Difference Lobster Feed

09/24/2014 12:00AM ● Published by Melissa Mendonca

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Soul Food

October 2014
By Melissa Mendonca

If your image of a lobster dinner includes an intimate, candlelit table in a darkened restaurant, the folks at Pacific Farms and Northern Valley Catholic Social Service (NVCSS) want you to know that there’s a different way to enjoy the succulent crustacean. Even better, the money you put out for the meal will support important human needs in Tehama County.

The 9th Annual Make a Difference Lobster Feed, to be held October 25 at Pacific Farms in Gerber, will be a community affair where guests will don plastic bibs at tables set up under a tent and reach for lobsters, prawns, artichokes, corn, potatoes and Louisiana hot links in a style similar to a traditional southern crawfish boil.

John Sorensen of Sorensen Catering makes the trek from the Napa Valley each year to cook for the event, for which enthusiasts have learned to buy tickets months in advance. Alain Teutschmann of Mount Tehama winery in Manton will be on hand to serve his sustainably developed Rhone varietals made from hand-picked grapes.

“People love it,” says Camilla Delsid, director of the NVCSS programs in Tehama County. “It’s kind of messy, but it’s fun.”

Delsid looks forward to expanding NVCSS offerings in Tehama County with the fundraiser, including the launch of a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program. NVCSS operates CASA in Shasta and Butte Counties, and, with the creation of a special Blue Ribbon Commission led by Tehama County’s juvenile court judge, Matt McGlynn, is entering a well-timed era to start services in Tehama.

“We need to raise much of the funds on our own,” says Delsid, who hopes people will enjoy this
unique opportunity to support CASA’s work to advocate for youth in the foster system. Delsid also looks forward to expanding programs for seniors. “The elderly are kind of living in the shadows in terms of programs,” she says. “So many of our seniors have very poor nutritional habits.” With increased funds, the agency wants to develop a program that brings visitors into seniors’ homes to help them make nutrient-rich freezer meals that will last a month between visits.

Pacific Farms, the proprietors of Pacific Sun Olive Oil, hosts the lobster feed through owner Jane Flynn’s long-time support of NVCSS as a board member. Flynn first experienced a similar event at the Abbey of New Clairvaux.

“It was such a fascinating event that I thought it would be something we could do in Red Bluff,” she says. In its first year, Flynn and family hosted the lobster feed on the heels of their annual end-of-harvest celebration so they could extend the use of the rental equipment they needed to host their staff.

Flynn came across some skepticism that anyone would want to enjoy lobster at a farm shop. The idea took root, however, and after a few tries in subsequent years at the fairgrounds, people requested a return to the farm. “For whatever reason, they thought being in a farm shop was more fun than anything,” she laughs.

Maybe it’s the ambiance of walnut and prune trees that surround the shop. Maybe it’s the freedom of being released from the confines of a refined area; it’s not a big deal if something drops from the table. Or maybe it’s just the pure joy of relaxing into a high-end meal in a completely casual, no pressure, communal manner.

“We get to share some of the oil making during the event, too, which is interesting to quite a few people,” says Flynn, noting that the event is held as olive oil season is starting up. Guests become privy to the process that turns local olives into award-winning artisan olive oil. It matters not whether you attend for the food or the cause or the curiosity of the workings of a Tehama County farm and olive oil producer. The Make a Difference Lobster Feed will be a fulfilling evening on many levels. No tie required.

Make a Difference Lobster Feed
Saturday, Oct. 25
Pacific Farms, Gerber
$85, includes beer and wine
Starts at 4:30pm; dinner served at 5:30pm
Tickets: (530) 247-3340 or www.nvcss.org



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