Butterfly releases to plants and farm fresh

Betty Belen, (left) Founder of The Elizabeth Hospice releasing a butterfly with Liz Sumner, Director of the Center for Compassionate Care of The Elizabeth Hospice.

Elizabeth Hospice takes wings

More than 200 supporters joined The Elizabeth Hospice for the 7th Annual Wings of Hope Butterfly Release on from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1 at the Salon Room of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd.

Community members of all ages were invited to attend and sponsor butterflies in memory or in honor of loved ones. Wings of Hope included music, inspirational readings, and a poignant release of butterflies as memories were shared among family members and friends. Proceeds raised benefitted the Hospice.

The Elizabeth Hospice is the region’s oldest and largest nonprofit hospice provider of medical, emotional and spiritual support to the seriously ill and their families in San Diego and Inland Empire.  To learn more, call (800) 797-2050 or visit http://www.elizabethhospice.com.

Enthusiastic Gardeners Enjoy Plant Sale

Enjoying the recent Dos Valles Garden club plant sale.

Enjoying the recent Dos Valles Garden club plant sale.

Dozens of customers bought starter veggies and other greenery at the recent Dos Valles Garden Club Plant Sale.

They also met old friends and made new ones while shopping at the friendly neighborhood sale, an 18-year-old tradition in Valley Center.

Among the customers were firefighters from the Valley Center Fire Protection District, who bought a half dozen small palm trees to landscape the fire stations.

Plant sale co-chairs Joanna Woolley and Sue Reynolds thanked the many club members who make the sales possible, especially volunteers who work at the Martin Gang Ranch twice a month, potting plants.

Special appreciation went to Lee Bathgate and Dana  Behymer, who started the sales in 1998 and still work on them; to Kathy Lee, who works as cashier; Cat and Rodney Melvin, who grow and contribute seedlings (Cat designs the colorful flyers, too); and Vickie Akiike, who donates creative succulent arrangements.

In other news, Matt Cheney, owner of Epicacti Nursery in Fallbrook, will speak about cactus and dragon fruit at the upcoming Dos Valles Garden Club meeting on Tuesday, May 10. In addition, the recent successful DVGC Flower Show at the Valley Center Library and the equally successful Plant Sale that same weekend will be discussed. The meeting will be held at 10 am in the St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church, 31020 Cole Grade Road.

The next DVGC sale is scheduled for June 18. Money earned at the plant sales is used for community beautification programs and scholarships. For more information, visit http://www.dosvallesgardenclub.org.

From farm to table at the new Ponsaty’s

Two Escondido greenhouses produce veggies for Bellamy’s and The Ranch at Bandy Canyon, and they’ll soon provide them for the restaurant group’s forthcoming Ponsaty’s in June.

Measuring at 90-feet-by-40-feet each, the greenhouse gardens produce around 40 pounds of vegetables every week or roughly 30 percent to 40 percent of the restaurants group’s produce needs.

The rest is provided by local farms like Mountain Meadow Mushroom Farm, Tim Connelly’s Tomatoes, Be Wise Farm and Happy Dog Farm.

Farm-to-chef-to-table with Patrick Ponsaty.

Farm-to-chef-to-table with Patrick Ponsaty.

Corporate chef Patrick Ponsaty says that pulling from the group’s own farm is “exciting” and it helps to ensure high-quality produce. “By utilizing fresh produce from our garden in the peak of season, we are able to simply showcase the ingredients we source from our ranch.”

What they’re harvesting this spring: Heirloom tomatoes, carrots, sugar snap peas, tricolor beets, fennel, onion, various greens, kale, artichoke, fava beans, red bell pepper and melons.

Must-order dish this season: Ponsaty recommends the nightly tasting menu at Bellamy’s, which allows guests to experience the chef’s daily inspiration and the freshest produce from the garden.

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