OFRF's 18th Expo West Luncheon a Smashing Success

March 13, 2015 – OFRF’s 18th Annual Luncheon at Expo West was a smashing success, welcoming more than 300 leaders of the organic community to a sold-out celebration featuring an all-organic feast, organic wine and cocktail mixer, live music, and an inspiring keynote speech from Dr. Kevin Murphy, an organic grain researcher and OFRF grantee.

This year’s March 5th luncheon, held under sunny skies on the Grand Plaza of the Anaheim Convention Center, marked the 25th anniversary of OFRF’s founding. After 18 consecutive years, OFRF’s all-organic event has become the traditional kick-off to the Natural Products Expo West trade show at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“The organic community is growing by leaps and bounds, but this event reminds us of our roots, and the fundamental role of research in organic food production,” said OFRF Executive Director Brise Tencer. “The people I see here represent the committed core of organics, both past and future.”

Luncheon guests included the movers and shakers of the organic industry, including organic farmers and retailers, university researchers, representatives of corporations and non-profit groups, national media, and three members of OFRF’s board of directors: Harn Soper, Katrina Heinze and Doug Crabtree.

The lavish, 13-dish, all-organic buffet luncheon was prepared by celebrity chefs Chris Blobaum and Donna Prizgintas, who flew in from Atlanta and Iowa, respectively, to donate their services to OFRF. The offerings, all made with donated ingredients, included filet mignon with pomegranate/cherry gastrique, chicken braised with preserved lemon and chermoula sauce, Brown Rice pilaf with chopped almonds, orzo and fresh herbs, among other dazzling dishes.

One of the desserts, cardamom chocolate pudding topped with crumbled cookie ‘dirt’ and ‘planted’ with a sprig of organic mint, appeared so convincing that guests had to be prompted to eat them. 

Keynote speaker Dr. Kevin Murphy, an influential organic grain researcher from Washington State University, spoke about how OFRF supported his work developing grain varieties not only suitable for organic farming systems, but prized by chefs for exceptional taste, nutrition and performance in the kitchen.

“It was inspiring to speak to such a dynamic, influential gathering, and to feel the strong support for science in our organic community,” Murphy said, after the event. “And the food was delicious, a beautiful reminder of what we are all striving for.”

OFRF offers special appreciation to the donors who helped make this year’s luncheon a brilliant success, including event sponsors: New Hope Media, Amy’s Kitchen, Driscoll’s, Aramark, Lundberg Family Farms, Nature’s Path Foods, Santa Cruz Organics, Sheppard-Mullin, Organic Valley, Albert Lea Seeds, KeHe Distributors, Clover-Stornetta Farms, Kamut, Straus Family Creamery, Relay Foods, Uncle Matt’s, General Mills, Horizon Organic, Earthbound Farm Organic, and Wild Oats Marketplace.

Donors of organic ingredients for the luncheon include: Albert’s Organics, Big Tree Farms, Bonterra Organic Vineyards, Christopher Ranch, Clover-Stornetta Farms, Driscoll’s, Earthbound Farm Organic, Frey Vineyards, Frontier Co-op, Jacob’s Farm / Del Cabo, Kimberley Wine Vinegars, Lundberg Family Farms, Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, Napa Valley Naturals, Newman’s Own, Organic Valley, Purity Organics, Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers, Santa Cruz Organics, Smart Chicken, Starwest Botanicals, Straus Family Creamery, Urban Moonshine, Veritable Vegetable, Whole Foods, and Wholesome Sweeteners.

by Maria Gaura - OFRF