Aphrodisiacs, chocolate-covered strawberries and passion fruit truffles will be on the menu tomorrow morning for a Valentine’s Day-inspired fundraiser at the Farmers Market in downtown Santa Barbara.
The Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association will be hosting the Valentine’s Farmers Market Love Trail downtown at the intersection of Santa Barbara and Cota Streets from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The event will feature pleasure-inducing dishes from numerous restaurants and local chefs, like fruity cherimoya elixir and garlic stew – at a ticket price of $25 per person – although individual food tastes will be available for $3 to $5 each.
Laurence Hauben, director of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association, said 80 tickets have already been sold, although each of the 12 vendors will have enough servings for 400 to 500 people. If their estimations are correct and the weather is good Saturday morning, Hauben said the market should be able to raise about $5,000 to $10,000 for community outreach programs.
Hauben said this is the first year that this type of event has been put on by the Farmers Market. She said she thought of the idea after the market sold chocolate-covered strawberries at lasts year’s sale before Valentine’s Day.
“Last year, we did chocolate strawberries and it was really popular,” she said. “We wanted to raise money to enable us to increase donations … and do it in a way that would be fun.”
The love-themed event was created to raise money for Farmers Market Taste Education and Community Outreach, a program that hosts activities and provides food for members of the community. Hauben said the profits from the event would help fund the wide range of programs that the Farmers Market presents.
“[We offer] everything from guided tours of farmers markets for schoolchildren, to presentations in classrooms, to wooden nickels worth 1$ [at farmers markets] and local clinics,” she said.
Hauben said the wooden nickels can be redeemed to buy produce at the Farmers Market.
“It’s to assist low-income residents in shopping for fresh food,” Hauben said.
Hauben said the Farmers Market is constantly being asked to donate food, but without fundraising, it does not have an adequate budget to meet such demands.
“Everybody calls us and we always want to say yes,” she said. “To say yes to everyone, we can’t just rely on our operating budget.”
Hauben said she is grateful for all the support the Farmers Market has received from local businesses. There will be 12 different vendors for the event, some of which include Citronelle, Aphrodisiac of the Month Club, Ambrosia and Buttonwood Winery.
The raffle for the event, Hauben said, will feature prizes – worth almost $5,000 in all – like weekend getaways and dinners at local restaurants.