Staff Report

More than 80 community members joined Veggie Rescue on March 9 to celebrate the milestone of collecting and delivering 1 million pounds of produce with The Million Pound Party at St. Marks-in-the-Valley Church in Los Olivos.

Though the spotlight shined on Veggie Rescue, Executive Director Amy Derryberry made sure everyone knew who should get the credit.

“Tonight we celebrate our farmer partners, whose generosity and like-minded thinking have made this milestone possible,” she told attendees.

Veggie Rescue’s mission is to improve the nutrition and quality of life for those struggling with food insecurity by providing them healthy, local produce and high-quality prepared food, and to work with farmers and local businesses to reduce food waste. 

The nonprofit works with farmers like Cindy Douglas and Olive Cadwell, managers of Tutti Frutti Farms. They described their partnership with Veggie Rescue as beneficial in multiple ways. 

“Veggie Rescue will respond to our call within 24 hours, and pick-up food we need to move, saving us time and labor that would have been spent breaking it down,” they said. “And it is just good business and citizenship to be redirecting our excess to people who need it.”

To celebrate the abundant achievement, nothing less than a feast would do, and attendees weren’t disappointed. The meal started with Gathering Boards supplied by the Buellton Senior Center. Chefs Bethany Markee, Lee Gottheimer and Daniel Milian cooked up a buffet of barbecued tri-tip, beans, three different vegetable salads, garlic bread and salsas, followed by a scrumptious carrot cake, baked by Solvang Bakery. Wine was provided by Solminer Wine Company and Folded Hills, and beer by Third Window Brewing Co.

The tables were decorated with fresh produce donated by The Garden of… and Tutti Frutti Farms, and party goers were invited to fill their Million Pound Party bags with it when they went home.