The six-course Benziger Family Winery pairing dinner will fund educational programs about sustainable agriculture for young farmers.
Lately it’s impossible to go on social media without seeing a post promoting locally-sourced food. Farm-to-table dinners, sustainable growing practices and eating “clean” are the buzzwords popping up on many of our feeds, and for the third year in a row, Mattison’s has organized an event to further the cause.
Executive Chef and Proprietor of Mattison’s Chef Paul Mattison is hosting the Niman Ranch Next Generation Scholarship Wine Dinner Aug. 28. The six-course Benziger Family Winery pairing dinner will benefit the scholarship program for which the event is named — a program that supports agriculture education helping young people keep their family farms going.
“This dinner is unique because 100% of the money goes to the scholarship fund,” Mattison says. “(It’s) focused on keeping family farmers in business — we keep losing farms and business to large corporations.”
Mattison is excited to welcome special guest Aaron Williams, an Iowa hog farmer who found success after going through the scholarship program. Williams will speak about the program and how it taught him a viable, sustainable way of farming rooted in Niman Ranch’s core beliefs: environmentally friendly practices, humane treatment of animals and clean food.
“I’ve visited these farms and it’s wild,” Mattison says, particularly noting a difference in the treatment of livestock. “They’re fed all vegetarian food, never given antibiotics or growth hormones, which means that’s not in our food. Hormones help them grow fast and get them into the market faster, but it messes up our food system.”
Mattison also notes that his partner for the event, Chris Benziger of Sonoma’s Benziger Family Winery, is the ideal person to work with because his winery was the first to produce Biodynamic wines in Sonoma and Napa counties. This means that everything used in the operation of the wine is completely recycled or reused, and nothing leaves the property as waste.
The ingredients used in the evening's dishes are primarily from Niman Ranch farms — minus one seafood dish — and Mattison is excited to work with ingredients he’s familiar with to create a few new dishes.
It all kicks off with a free shot of tequila, so Mattison is confident the tone will be set for a fun evening.