Bounty of the County: Chefs and local farmers join forces for Irene relief

Two years after the Irene and Lee floods ravaged the Schoharie Valley, there's still a lot of work to be done to make the valley whole.

But there's also a lot to celebrate: Across the region, farmers' fields that were torn up by floodwaters are now green and growing again. On Saturday, June 29, Albany chefs and Schoharie Valley farmers team up at the Carrot Barn in Schoharie for an Irene recovery fundraiser that celebrates not only the region's resilience, but its top-notch produce.

The event, dubbed "Bounty of the County," will feature a six-course dinner prepared by top-notch chefs from the Albany Chefs' Food and Wine Festival. On the menu, as the name suggests, will be fruit, vegetables, local meat and more from Schoharie Valley farms, each of which took a beating from Irene and lived to tell the tale. Ingredients will be sourced from Schoharie Valley Farms, Barber's Farm, Wellington's Herbs and Spices, Bohringer's Fruit Farm, Shaul Farms, Mariaville Farms, West Wind Acres, Parson's Farm, and Sunnycrest Orchards.

The evening will also feature an auction and live music.

All proceeds from the dinner will go to benefit Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery (SALT), whose executive director Sarah Goodrich summed up the work that still needs to be done for a recent Daily Gazette article:

“It’s almost two years out and yet we still do have families that aren’t back in their houses, so we’re looking at needs that range anywhere from places that need to be complete rebuilds from the ground up to places that need water or septic issues resolved so they can get back in a house,” said Sarah Goodrich, SALT’s executive director. “One of the challenges as you move forward in the recovery effort is that the further you get into it, the more complex and more expensive the situations are. And so that’s why they’re still left, but also why we still are very anxious to have continuing funding help, because we really can’t do it alone.”

On Sunday, June 30, SALT supporters can ditch the black tie for a country brunch and artisan market, also to benefit SALT's flood recovery efforts.

The Albany chefs whose talents will be on display Saturday took a tour of the participating farms on June 17. The Albany Business Journal was on hand and has a slideshow from the tour, featuring celebrity chef Yono Purnomo looking pretty excited about local rhubarb and a bunch of Capital Region chefs getting a ride in a haywagon.

Bounty of the County Celebrity Chef's Dinner. Saturday, June 29, 2013. 5pm reception, 6pm dinner. The Carrot Barn, 5605 Route 30, Schoharie. Tickets $125. Junior Gala (under 35): $90. Honorary Committee: $150. Tickets can be purchased online at the Albany Chefs' Food and Wine Festival website.

Country Brunch to benefit SALT, Sunday, June 30, 2013. 10am-noon; artisan market from 11am-5pm. Lawn of the DAR building, Main Street, Schoharie.