I cannot begin to express my gratitude to everyone that attended our ‘Under The Harvest Moon’ dinner, and to everyone that helped create an incredible event, a beautiful “feel good” night to remember!
On Friday September 29th, the night of the full Harvest Moon, Tallahassee Foodies presented the 2nd annual ‘Under the Harvest Moon’ dinner, a fundraiser benefitting Second Harvest of the Big Bend. This unique and intimate dinner prepared by Chef Leon Brunson, was enjoyed at the beautiful, peaceful, scenic Lake Iamonia Lodge, illuminated by the Harvest Moon.
This year we raised $13,440 in a single night, up from 365 days ago when we raised $11,152. Monique Ellsworth, CEO of Second Harvest of the Big Bend, gave the most beautiful, heartfelt welcome to everyone and shared that for each dollar raised, with their purchasing power, they are able to serve 4 meals per dollar. At $24,592 raised since last September amongst our two events, that’s 98,368 meals, incredible! A moment we can all feel amazing about, while enjoying each others company as we wine and dine.
The term “harvest moon” refers to the full, bright moon that occurs closest to the start of autumn. The name dates from the time before electricity, when farmers depended on the moon’s light to harvest their crops late into the night. A “Harvest Moon” dinner should absolutely be our fundraising moment for “Second Harvest”! The emphasis on food and harvesting is so fitting, the most perfect pairing!
Our ‘Under the Harvest Moon’ event featured a multi-course meal with specially chosen wine pairings for each course. The fall-style menu was inspired by Napa Valley, highlighting a variety of fresh flavors and textures that kept everyone interested with every bite – I excitedly shared with Chef Leon that I was in a 5-star restaurant! The food was incredible!
We were greeted by Monique, given a glass of champagne upon arrival while chatting with our fellow attendees, and then came the live action! I absolutely LOVED the interactive live cooking stations! First stop was Chef Leon and team serving up Fall Vegetarian Quesadillas with Chipotle Roasted Butternut Squash, and Chef Leon’s famous She Crab Soup Shooters. Coffee Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Shrimp were passed around and they were so tasty!
The dinner courses were like nothing I’ve ever had before, in the best way possible. I’ve never had a “rice salad”, literally a blend of Herbed Rice with Romaine, Cilantro, Parsley, Thai Basil Red Rice, Basmati’s Chili’s – it was bursting with flavor, texture, and so nutritious! Next came the bread course and I loved that we had a variety of spreads to choose from, I went for one of each, of course, with selections including Salted Butter, Strawberry Cream Cheese and Roasted Black Garlic Tomato Dip.
As if I wasn’t nearly full already, and spoiled with Chef Leon and teams’ creations, next came the star of the evening, Seared Scallops with Grilled Greens, Ratatouille Pumpkin Risotto and Fried Garlic! I’ve never had a plate divided into so many sections, all bursting with flavor and blending so well together.
And for the grand finale of courses, another fun live action station – Creme Brûlée lit up on fire in front of everyone, and served with a side of Caramel Brownies, Coffee Cake, Snickerdoodle Cookies and more!
Here’s a fun photo gallery, courtesy of the talented Dave Barfield of Lonely Fox Photography who graciously donated his time and images to all of us to share this event. It was an incredible evening at the peaceful, beautiful Lake Iamonia Lodge! I hope you all will join us for years to come for an amazing cause.
A special thank you to the entire Second Harvest team and volunteers who allowed us to be a part of this wondering evening. To Kristie Teal, the incredible Special Events Manager on the Second Harvest team for securing all of the details, to Chef Leon for spoiling us with your amazing food, Ana Melendez of A&E Wholesale for keeping the flow of the evening and her amazing intros to wine with each course, Lindsey Masterson of Pen and Tool for branding our event with her beautiful designs, and Dave Barfield of Lonely Fox Photography for all of the fun pics! A super special thank you to everyone that attended, without you, providing so many meals to our neighbors in need by way of your funding would not have been possible.