Earth Day Brings Chefs and Farmers Together

Chefs Collaborative and Organic Valley Offer a Chance to Reconnect

(Boston, Mass…March 29, 2007) This spring, Chefs Collaborative, a national organization of culinary professionals and food producers dedicated to advancing a more sustainable food supply, will, for the third year, partner with Organic Valley Family of Farms for The Earth Dinner™ series, an annual Earth Day celebration of farmer-chef relationships. By renewing dinner table traditions, the nationwide campaign reminds participants of how their connection to food links them to the earth and to each other.

“Not only does Earth Dinner allow us to celebrate the variety of foods that grow across the country, but we love seeing people reconnect, reminded of how important it is to enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends,” says participating chef Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Wash., who was recently nominated for a James Beard Foundation award. “We hope that people will start to value Earth Dinner as a family tradition, one in which they’ll participate for generations to come.”

New to the program this year, three highlighted Chefs Collaborative member restaurants will host local Organic Valley farmers and offer venues from which they can share their experiences as members of this organic farmer-owned cooperative. Participating chefs will speak about the interdependence of farmers and chefs and the importance of using local, sustainable, artisanal and organic foods. Make reservations now at:

* Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, Wash., on April 16 at 6:30 p.m. Chef Holly Smith will host Gerrit and Karen van Tol, the husband and wife team that raises 150 Holstein cows and runs a “U-Pick” organic blueberry farm. For reservations, call 425-823-1505.
* Savoy, New York, N.Y., on April 17. Chef Peter Hoffman will showcase an Earth Dinner menu all evening, and dairy farmers Vaughn and Sue Sherman from Dryden, N.Y., will have intimate conversations table-side with those ordering the special menu. For reservations, call 212-219-8570.
* Flea Street Café, Menlo Park, Calif., on April 22 at 6:00 p.m. Chef Jesse Cool will host the Burroughs family, fourth generation dairy farmers, who raise organic grass-fed cattle. For reservations, call 650-854-1226.

“Earth Dinners are a time to pause and reflect on where our food comes from and how it is grown. Bringing awareness to what we eat imbues the experience with joy and a sense of community,” says Theresa Marquez, Earth Dinner founder and marketing executive for Organic Valley, the nation’s oldest and largest cooperative of organic farmers.

For a full list of participating restaurants, visit www.earthdinner.org/events.html

About Chefs Collaborative
Founded in 1993, Chefs Collaborative is a national network of culinary professionals and food producers committed to sustainability in our food supply. Its members recognize the impact that local, seasonal and artisanal foods have on our lives, on the well being of our communities and on the integrity of the environment. Chefs Collaborative is the only culinary organization that provides its constituents with tools for running economically healthy, sustainable businesses. Through education and communication about current issues, the Collaborative inspires its members to embrace seasonality, preserve traditional practices and agricultural diversity, and support local economies. Chefs Collaborative’s vision is for every chef to be aware that food-purchasing choices affect the environment and their communities.

About Organic Valley
Organic Valley Family of Farms is America’s largest and oldest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 940 farmers in 27 states and one Canadian province and realized a record $335 million in 2006 sales. Focused on its founding mission of keeping small and mid-sized farmers farming, the cooperative produces 200 organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice. Its sister brand, Organic Prairie, produces delicious organic pork, beef and poultry. (www.organicprairie.com) Look for Organic Valley and Organic Prairie in leading supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. For more information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop.