How often is it that one is invited to participate in an evening of pure indulgence—one that promises a veritable culinary cornucopia of both edible and visual delights to be savored whilst walking through an immaculate garden under the early autumnal night’s sky?
Though such an event may sound too good to be true, the Marin Art and Garden Center’s Edible Garden Culinary Fundraiser is quite literally offering up the opportunity on a silver platter. And in between bumps of caviar (paired perfectly with prosecco), botanical cocktails with ingredients pulled straight from the garden center itself and enough paella to feed over 200 people, it’s hard to imagine a better way to support local restaurants, caterers, wineries, gardens and, of course, the people who make them.
“The entire evening will be very enchanting,” said the Marin Art and Garden Center’s director of events, Iris Lax. “You’ll be surrounded by beauty on all sides and, as you’re walking around going from place to place, you’re going to have bites from local caterers and chefs and sips from wineries with music following you everywhere as you go from place to place.”
The evening will begin with guests being guided through an unexpected, almost secret entrance to the gardens that is largely unknown and unused by the public. Once past the threshold, the bites and beverages will begin almost immediately. Guests will be able to ease into the evening without worry, as every detail has already been meticulously arranged.
All that’s left for guests to do is to get dressed up in some glamorous cocktail garden attire—and to make sure to arrive with a ravenous appetite that’s ready to be sated. Lax herself highly advises that guests come hungry because, in her words, “You will be well fed, and it will be a magical experience.”
“There will be homemade focaccia, savory tomato tarts, boneless braised short ribs with mashed potatoes…and goat cheese filled dates with a honey drizzle,” said Lax. “A paella company out of San Rafael [Paella and More] will be serving up a 200-plus person seafood paella, and the caviar company is coming in with caviar bumps paired with prosecco…and the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company donated an entire grazing table as well.”
According to Lax, the current culinary roster includes 40 participants that are preparing (at this very moment) to wow palates with various appetizers, beverages, plates and honeyed dates. And, alongside the edible delights listed above, there will also be an ambiance to match with music, mood lighting and, of course, an entire enchanting garden to walk through too. All of the most notable features of the Marin Art and Garden Center will be on full display, including the butterfly cottage, the greenhouse and the English oak tree alongside the studio, with an international botanical art exhibition and an outdoor art walk featured as well.
“From there, they’re going to walk a path to the actual edible garden, which was the inspiration for the name of this event,” noted Lax.
After guests have had the opportunity to enjoy slowly sipping, savoring and strolling their way through the garden center, they will be invited to take to their table at the Livermore Pavilion, where even more food, drink and festivities will be had.
“It’s that farm-to-table kind of feeling,” explained Lax. “On the tables, we’ve got these wonderful donated pumpkins that we’ll be making into beautiful centerpieces…along with the farm tables, there will be bistro lights and a lot of restaurants so you can go, get food and sit down at the tables with more music and our live auction, followed by delicious desserts on the deck and then a walk down a luminary path with a sweet treat at the end.”
The Marin Art and Garden Center’s Edible Garden Culinary Fundraiser is a new take on the traditional harvest-themed edible event of the center’s past. This new iteration of the fall food fest will include representation from food and beverage businesses from all across the Bay Area.
“The idea behind [Edible Garden] is that it would be a signature event to the center and a must-attend event in Marin,” explained Lax. “It is very important to me and the whole center that we’re supporting locals in what we do…especially since, following COVID, restaurants and caterers have faced some struggles, so this is a great way to shine a spotlight on them.”
Lax hopes events such as the upcoming edible fundraiser will not only bring together the local businesses and the long-time supporters of the garden center, but may also serve to attract new faces to Marin’s art, garden and food scene.
“We are always looking for another opportunity for us to do outreach, not only to our direct neighbors, but to everyone in Marin as well because we are the Marin Art and Garden Center,” emphasized Lax.
And for those who enjoy all of the seasonal festivities and the fêtes that come with them, they can rejoice in knowing that the Marin Art and Garden Center has something special in store for the upcoming cold-weather holiday season ahead. That’s right—the center’s Winter Wonderland extravaganza is just around the corner, and attendees can anticipate a space to sip some hot cocoa whilst attending to holiday shopping with music to match…plus an entire ice rink installation and artificial snow. ’Tis the season, after all!
“This year, I wanted to take it to a different level with the creation of a winter wonderland,” Lax explained. “[These events] are a wonderful way for our community to come together and celebrate, and it has been so lovely being a part of that community effort.”
So, if showing support for the Marin County community by attending a night of wining and dining unlike any other sounds at all appealing, one may consider purchasing a last-minute ticket (while they last). Ticket sales end on Oct. 13 at noon, so now’s the time to reserve a space at this elegant edible event. All of the proceeds made during this fundraiser will go into further funding the garden center and its many community outreach events, as well as maintenance and other expenses essential to keeping the garden flourishing and free.
The Edible Garden’s Culinary Fundraiser will take place on Sunday, Oct. 15 from 5 to 8pm at the Marin Art and Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross. For more information or to reserve a ticket, visit the website at maringarden.org/ediblegarden.