Harvest Ball serves an array of homegrown dishes
This year’s Harvest Ball, hosted by Champion’s for Change at the All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Cultural Centre, drew in a crowd of over 240 enthusiastic people.
The event, held on Oct. 5, consisted of a meal that was made entirely with locally grown foods. In addition to the meal, the event featured a silent and live auction, presentations from Champions for Change, drinks, vendor tables with various goods available to be purchased, and true to its name, a dance at the end of the night.
Some of the vendors at the ball included Ray Jalbert, owner of Homestead Garlic Patch, Yogi Miskew, owner of Viking Meats, selling meat and meat products, and local producers Ken and Gloria Yettaw.
The Yettaws had a selection of vegetables, berries, pies, and other baked goods and produce grown on their farm.
“This is our fourth time here,” said Ken, referring to the Harvest Ball. “It’s a great opportunity for people to see what’s available to them.”
He added, “Generally, this . . . is a great chance to showcase your stuff as a farmer.”
Among some of the other features of the night was a scaled diorama of the downtown area in St. Paul, created by seven students from École du Sommet, under the supervision of local artist, Herman Poulin. The diorama was set up in the interest of showing, with the aid of small model trees, model buildings, model vehicles, and other scaled items, what could be done with the downtown area in the future.
The silent and loud auction featured a wide selection of items including appliances, garden wares, seeds, and even a bicycle. One of the most coveted items up for bidding was a painting of a rose that Poulin created on location, during the early parts of the ball.
“We came close to selling out,” said Roxanne Bergheim, chairperson with Champions for Change, and coordinator of the Harvest Ball. “There were a lot of last minute ticket sales which is excellent.”
She explained, “Every item in the dinner tonight is locally grown and produced, and it’s all prepared fresh. We were slicing and dicing all yesterday.”
Bergheim said that decorations for the ball were donated by the community, along with some of the food, adding, “the pumpkins you see all around, and even the tablecloths and chair covers were all donated. It’s unbelievable, the amount of support we get from the community.”
Bergheim explained that the popularity of the ball is a sign that Champions for Change is growing.
“We’re growing so fast, with our downtown development projects all developing and well underway.”
Bergheim explained that it’s the second year for banners, and that the graffiti reduction, and mural projects are all going well. She adds that there are assorted projects in the work with Champions for Change including Thrive on Wellness, the healthy eating program of which the Harvest Ball is a part.
Other projects include Collective Kitchens, a course that teaches people how to select good foods, and prioritize healthy choices, a canning class, and a seed exchange in the works, planned in conjunction with the library.
The dinner served to guests was a lavish meal, which included a cream of zucchini soup, homemade bread, garlic mashed potatoes with gravy, roast pork with applesauce, chicken, coleslaw, cucumber salad, beet salad, green and yellow beans, carrot cake, and haskap and cherry sorbets.
“The pork was superlative, tender and well done,” said Fran Kinash, a local farmer living in the County of St. Paul. “I could tell it, and the rest of the meal were farm-fresh. The soup was really good. I found it good and I don’t even like zucchini.”
She added, “It was a wonderful meal in total. When it’s all local we don’t need to worry about transportation, the costs associated with it, or anything like that. It brings everyone together, is fresh, and there’s a neighbourliness about it. It’s nice being able to contribute and eat all kinds of stuff we have growing in our own yards.”
After dinner, a number of members of Champions for Change assembled on stage to inform the guests as to the progress they were making through their assorted community programs, touching on the graffiti cleanups, downtown Revitalization, murals, as well as the assorted healthy eating programs like Thrive on Wellness.
“How many of you used applesauce on your potatoes like me?” joked Mayor Glenn Andersen in regards to the meal. He continued saying, “Champions for Change has enriched the town through all its activities. Take a look around. The committee is awesome.”
“With the banners, outdoor concerts, and the Journal mural, a lot of things have been going on lately with Champions for Change,” explained Amil Shapka, a member of the group.
He added, “The most important part of what’s going on, however, is what you don’t see. Champions for Change and all the volunteers who’ve donated their time are strengthening the community.”
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