Earth Fare: An Organic Earth Day Dinner

Plant the seeds of tradition with an Earth Day Dinner.

| March/April 2006

  • Golden beets, lemons, raspberries, basil and blood oranges are just some of the fresh organic ingredients used for the evening’s special meal.
    Photo By Jeff Holt
  • Yale University’s recycling director, C.J. May, far right, sits next to Chef Claire and other guests during the festive dinner.
    Photo By Jeff Holt
  • Chef Claire Criscuola, owner of Claire’s Corner Copia in New Haven, Connecticut, carries a plate of fettucine for her special Earth Dinner guests.
    Photo By Jeff Holt
  • A young guest enjoys a warming bowl of Cuban Black Bean Soup.
    Photo By Jeff Holt
  • With its combination of mushrooms, cream and wine, this savory fettucine dish has an Eastern European flavor.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • A delicious, nutritious salad incorporates avocado, tomatoes and red onions with basil and golden balsamic vinaigrette.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • A sign on the door of Claire’s Corner Copia welcomes diners with a heartfelt “Happy Earth Day!
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • You’ll never miss the dairy in this delicious mousse made from tofu and soymilk.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison

On Thanksgiving, we stuff ourselves with turkey. For Easter, we boil eggs and snack on jelly beans. On Valentine’s Day, we give loved ones chocolate. So when Theresa Marquez, director of consumer affairs for the Organic Valley agricultural cooperative, contemplated how to broaden the appeal of Earth Day, she naturally thought of food.

Earth Day, she sensed, needed a traditional meal to gather folks around the table every year.

Organic Valley contacted Chefs Collaborative, a national network of more than 1,000 cooks whose shared goal is to promote sustainable cuisine by celebrating the joys of local and seasonal cooking. In 2003, the two organizations began what they hoped would grow into a national tradition, a way of honoring and celebrating our planet through food.

Around the country on Earth Day (April 22), people are invited to prepare special menus inspired by regional and seasonal organic ingredients. Marquez envisioned Earth Dinners as a celebratory way to help people slow down and appreciate how we nourish ourselves, each other and our planet.

Chef Claire Criscuolo loved the idea and happily picked up the tradition at her 30-year-old New Haven, Connecticut, restaurant, Claire’s Corner Copia, the oldest ongoing vegetarian restaurant in the United States. For Earth Day 2005, Criscuolo invited Yale University recycling director C.J. May and his family to attend a beautifully prepared organic dinner. “The entire evening was a joy,” Criscuolo says. In fact, it was so successful that Criscuolo has made bigger plans for Earth Dinner 2006. She intends to partner with a nonprofit organization to market the Earth Day dinner as a fundraising event. Guests will “buy” tables and the day’s proceeds will be shared with the nonprofit.

Claire's Corner Copia Earth Day Menu:

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