We were all very proud on Monday night as Farmstead restaurant presented its first "Corkage for Community" grant to St. Helena FFA students amidst a sea of blue jackets (and supporting parents).
Chef Sheamus made the grant presentation of $3000 to FFA chapter president, Rachel White, at Farmstead restaurant in front a collection of smiling faces in the distinctive FFA blue jackets.
In response, the students honored Sheamus and Farmstead restaurant with an autographed magnum of Zinfandel wine made in the school's enology class. (Yes, the same wine sold for many thousands of dollars at the annual FFA auction!)
And, after the presentation, every table with a FFA jacket or 4-H uniform received a 25 percent discount on their table’s dinner check. We filled the dining room with students and families. It was a great feeling for all of us.
As Sheamus pointed out in his presentation, the initiative demonstrated by these young men and women to raise animals, learn the craft of agriculture, and demonstrate personal leadership is very inspiring.
These "kids" are the future of agriculture in our community and we are thrilled that the St. Helena FFA program is so strong (more than half of all high school students participate and the program has been named "Best in California").
The St. Helena FFA program is led by a extraordinary faculty (Randy Mendes, Laura Mendes, and Sarah Herdell), has an active and effective Ag Boosters support group, and has enjoyed the support of the district's administration and school board.
We are also pleased by the response to our "Corkage for Community" program. Instead of the typical $10 to $20 corkage fee charged for opening a bottle of wine brought to the restaurant, Farmstead collects a $2 fee for every guest's bottle. The unusually low corkage fee is donated to a different community-based not-for-profit organization each month.
Its our way of promoting a community meeting place and supporting our neighboring community at the same time. We want vintners, growers, and wine enthusiasts to come to Farmstead to show off their wines while at the same time contributing to our community.
Future grant recipients include Rutherford Grange, St. Helena Community Swimming Pool, and Rianda House. We're going to designate the first Monday of each month as "Corkage for Community" Night when we will make presentations and toast recipient organizations.
FFA Night was great. Hope you'll come to the next one.