This past weekend my wife and I had the pleasure of hosting Team Beach Tractor, an entry in the Sunset Magazine “One Block Feast” contest.
My wife, Midge, and I served on a local Fourth of July committee where we met team member Christine and first learned about the contest. Just being exposed to her excitement and enthusiasm we could do nothing else but offer our yacht (the Papagallo II) for their team feast.
Gotta be honest with you, had little idea what it was all about. Team Beach Tractor, I thought to myself, “whats that all about”!? The team boarded early Sunday morning, some of the children in tow, complete with canvas tote bags filled with home grown onions, garlic, greens, eggs, potatoes, goat cheese, and sea-salt. Later in the day the oysters, chicken (I hoped already butchered!), cod, cerviche, wheat rolls, dessert, homemade beer and wine were to be delivered.
I was enlisted to oversee the galley, giving instruction on how to use the kitchen equipment. As the preparations began there were strict orders that no ingredients could be used in the food preparation that were not supplied by the eight family team members. This was all about sustainability and home grown foods, right down to the sea salt. back to the good ole’ pioneer days! The canvas tote bags were a dead giveaway that these folks were serious (no brown paper shopping bags for these folks!).
As a classically trained chef (Culinary Institue of America), with a food service career that spans over 45 years and several restaurant ownerships, I was blown away by the teams enthusiasm and eye for detail (check out the table setting photo above).
As the magic hour for the serving of the meal approached everything was made ready for the appetizer course with dinner and dessert to follow. The Sunset Magazine team soon arrived, headed up by Food Editor Margo True, along with staff photographers.
With a glass of wine in hand we gave them a warm “welcome aboard the Papagallo!” All was set for a gala evening on board. Many toasts were offered throughout dinner, as often is the practice as we cruise the bay. Listening to some of the conversations and recapping the days activities, it dawned on me how incredibly special this whole event was.
As a non-team member, observing from a distance I couldn’t help but take note of how these young families exhibited a bright, fresh approach to enjoying life with family and friends. I think this is not so true for me and my generation.
Margo, a special note to you: Having visited your website, it is obvious that your contest is a big undertaking for all involved. I am sure a lot of time and effort went into this to make it all happen.
Hats off to you and the entire Sunset team for coming up with and developing the idea. I suspect that the end result of all this collective effort will be much more than a one-block feast. From what I witnessed, the family team members have experienced a closeness, respect, joy, love, friendship and understanding of each other that will carry forward into the months and years ahead. This to me is a much more difficult task to accomplish in the sustainability arena.
Your contest program is much more than growing and raising foods, add into the mix the importantance of living more abundantly with those around you. Major kudos and congrats are in order for the Beach Tractor Team and the Sunset Crew.