Church Garden Goes Farm-to-Table for Fundraiser


The Garden at St. Mark’s in North Bellmore will host a benefit Farm to Table Harvest Dinner Saturday, October 5 to support its community garden. Since its inception three years ago, the church garden has donated nearly 4,000 pounds of fresh organic vegetables to neighbors in need.

Co-chairs Ann McPartlin and Susan Salem promise cocktails and appetizers in the garden and a four-course dinner at the fellowship hall. The menu will feature seasonal ingredients and recipes from local area farms, including the Farm at St. Joseph’s, Restoration Farm and the Garden at St. Mark’s. During the meal, growers from each organization will offer insights on the menu and discuss their approach to sustainable farming. Claire Fastenau, former head chef of the Bayou, Jill DeThuin, and Arnoldo Sandoval will provide culinary support, with a selection of North Fork wines served.

For the team that first broke ground at the garden to better use church property as a neighborhood mission, the dinner presents a new opportunity to educate the community.

“The pleasures of organizing a farm-to-table dinner are many,” says Salem. “We’re working with people who are passionate about what they do—farmers, chefs, food and social justice people—and we’re spreading the word about what we do at the garden and the issue of hunger among us, especially post-Sandy.”

Salem says the dinner is a natural evolution for the mission of the garden as well as for her. “I started as a chef, then food stylist, and then got into catering and then farming,” she says. “Now I get to do it all in one day!”

The St. Mark’s gardeners are mindful that with several weeks to go, the output of the garden—and the ingredients for the menu—could change.

“The menu will feature all you would expect from an autumn harvest,” says Salem.  “Words like down-home, roots, comfort, roasted, stuffed and apples come to mind. I can’t get too specific, lest I tempt Mother Nature’s sometimes odd sense of humor, but I do think everyone will be satisfied.”

Tickets are $100 per person or $500 for a table of six.  Call 516-330-1907 or contact for more information.

The Garden at St. Mark’s
1692 Bellmore Avenue
North Bellmore, NY  11710

T.W. Barritt blogs at