On Saturday, Sept. 8, community members can support the Youth Garden Project and enjoy a local foods dinner — Sri Lankan style — at what could be the final dinner for the season.
There may be an additional meal served before autumn’s end, but that’s not confirmed, said Youth Garden Project Interim Executive Director Kate Niederehe.
The four-course meal is served buffet style, at the YGP garden site where diners are seated at community tables in an outdoor setting.
“It’s a fundraiser for the Youth Garden Project — all proceeds benefit youth and community programs,” Niederehe said. “Our garden-based educational programs are aimed at bringing people together over local food.”
The chef for the Sept. 8 community dinner is Lal Sigiriya, owner of Lal’s Curry. Sigiriya is serving four different curries, including chicken, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free curries. The dinner starts at 6 p.m. and will also include coffee and other non-alcoholic beverages.
Sigiriya is from Sri Lanka, and moved to Moab in 2016.
“I’m going to make a jackfruit curry with coconut milk and really good spices,” said Sigiriya, who is volunteering his time, and his spices.
Jackfruit is a species of tree in the fig, mulberry and breadfruit family. The fruit is commonly used in South and Southeast Asian cuisines and is the national fruit of Sri Lanka.
Much of the meal is being prepared with foods grown locally, including produce from YGP’s garden.
“The green beans for the green bean curry are all from the garden,” Niederehe said.
The YGP garden is also supplying the tomatoes, garlic, peppers and eggplant to use in the dishes, she said.
“We’re excited to have Lal — his curries have been featured at the Moab Farmers Market, as well as at the Moab Kitchen food truck at West Center Street at the helipad,” she said.
Niederehe said she hopes community members will attend the community dinner to support the YGP’s projects. The cost of the dinner is $40 per person, which is less than prior garden dinner events.
“My hope is by lowering the price we’ll make it more accessible for folks to join us,” Niederehe said. “It’s a way for people to support our organization while having a great dinner experience. … We’re lucky to have Lal’s participation and sharing his passion for Sri Lankan cuisine — it’s a nice cultural addition to our series.”
Sigiriya said he plans to make a Sri Lankan fruit salad dessert and a second dessert option.
The fundraiser will help with various YGP programs and projects, like the installation of an outdoor wood-fired cob pizza oven either this fall or next spring, and the nonprofit’s plans to revamp its irrigation system for its orchard.
Additional programs include the YGP “Garden Ambassador” program that began this year. The program hires local teenagers to learn skills while helping to fulfill the organization’s mission of connecting people with community-sourced food. Teen ambassadors work in the garden and share collaborative responsibility on projects with other nonprofits, as well as serve as junior counselors in the YGP’s children’s summer camp program.
Chef Lal Sigiriya prepares community garden dinner for Youth Garden Project fundraiser
When: Saturday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m.
Where: Youth Garden Project, 530 S. 400 East
Cost: $40 per person
Information: Call 435-259-2326 to make reservations to guarantee a spot at the garden dinner table. To learn more about YGP, visit www.youthgardenproject.org/aboutyouthgarden/