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Summit Community Gardens’ Dinners in the Garden series offers meals created by local restaurateurs to benefit food-insecure families



PROVO, Utah – Summit Community Gardens Executive Director Sloane Johnson invites Park City to enjoy a freshly cooked and locally sourced dinner on a summer night in the garden.

The Dinner in the Garden series, which starts on June 3, features healthy meals created by chefs from local eateries. The events not only taste good, but support local sources and serve as a fundraiser for the nonprofit, Johnson said.

“With so many small and local businesses struggling because of COVID-19, we wanted the garden to be a place where people can safely connect with local producers and purveyors while enjoying our garden,”Johnson said. “I’m excited that we’re able to schedule these dinners, and everyone we partnered with all have good sourcing practices.”

A portion of the money raised will help the garden continue its community-supported agriculture baskets that are distributed to food-insecure families in the Wasatch Back, Johnson said.

Summit Community Garden works with Bright Futures, which is a Park City Education Foundation program, and the People’s Health Clinic to identify families that would benefit from the baskets, she said.

“We put food and recipes that are written in both English and Spanish in bags that are delivered to those families’ homes to help them to eat healthily,” Johnson said. “We did five last year to test it out, so we are hoping to triple the number this year. So when you buy tickets for our Dinners in the Garden, you are helping provide food to people in need.”

Some of the raised funds will also support the Summit Community Gardens’ weekly farm stand program, which accepts supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits and Double Up Food Bucks, while another part of the money will help maintain demonstration beds, Johnson said.

“These are the boxes in the middle of the garden where we grow food in those for our classes that teach people how to garden,” she said. “As a nonprofit, 100% of our proceeds will go towards improving the garden and increasing our bounty for the community.”

The first meal of the summer on June 3 will be a barbecue created by John Courtney, the butcher and co-owner of the Chop Shop, a European-styled deli that recently opened in the Newpark Town Center.

“The great thing about John is that he knows so many local farmers,” Johnson said. “He gets his meats from Ballerina Farms, Three Shepherds Lamb, Wasatch Wagyu and Cold Creek Farms, all local farms that follow good farming practices.”

In addition to the barbecued meats and fresh vegetables that will be served buffet style, the night will include cocktails for diners aged 21 and older, and live music performed by local singer and songwriter Ryan Walsh, she said.

“We’re looking forward to this year’s opening garden, Johnson said.

The next dinner, named Garden Party, is scheduled for June 17, and will be the nonprofit’s biggest event of the year, according to Johnson.

The food will be prepared by Chef Jason Greenberg, owner of Nosh, which specializes in Middle Eastern and Mediterranian cuisine, she said.

“This dinner is only for ages 21 and older, and it will feature garden cocktails and live music by local band Lash LaRue,” Johnson said. “We are going to grow vegetables in our garden specifically for this dinner.”

Dinners in the Garden will continue on July 1 with a meal cooked by Seth Adams, Riverhorse on Main’s executive chef and co-owner.

“We all know Riverhorse is one of the top restaurants in Park City, and we love that they support the garden,” Johnson said.

Two weeks later on July 15, the garden will offer “Twisted Fern in the Garden,” which will feature a farm-to-table picnic prepared by Twisted Fern owner Adam Ross.

“The menu will include mostly local ingredients that will infuse a twist of creativity with a New American-styled cuisine,” Johnson said. “The menu will consist of farm-fresh and mostly local ingredients with a vegetable emphasis.”

Summit Community Gardens will sweeten the pot when it presents a “Bee Lovers Dinner” on Aug. 5.

This event, an award for the gardens’ Honey Bee members, the third tier of garden memberships, will feature a tasting of honeys from around the world, as well as a cheese board that will be stacked with local cheeses and other appetizers, Johnson said.

“We’ll also do a honey pairing with whiskey,” she said.

The evening will include a presentation by entomologist and beekeeper McKay Joice.

“We asked her to talk about bees and bugs, and to teach us why honey tastes the way it does,” Johnson said. “She will also talk about how we can help save the bees, nature’s pollinators.”

Families will be able to enjoy a picnic-style dinner in the garden on Aug. 12 with pizza by Davanzas.

“This is our family night,” Johnson said. “We’ll have a lot of fun games and other activities for kids, as well as live music presented by Mountain Town Music.”

Families should be prepared to bring their own drinks, she said.

The final Dinner in the Garden of the summer will be held Aug. 19, and feature an interactive concert with avant-garde chamber group, Red Desert Ensemble.