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It's important to get a lot of iron in one's diet, but if you're looking to get a solid helping of irony, look no further than Olivewood Gardens' Heart of the Harvest two-day fundraiser. What's ironic about it? Part one of the event is a multicourse feast called Moonlit Soiree that'll be served under the stars amid OG's plentiful foliage on Saturday, October 1. With not two or three, but 15 local chefs putting out food, it's certain to be a delectably gluttonous affair (my kinda party!). The cause the event benefits? The fight against childhood obesity.

But who wants to nitpick when it's all in the name of charity? This is a worthy effort and the list of high-caliber gastronomes who've signed on reads like a who's who of toques who consistently give a damn about making San Diego a better place. How can I tell? I see them at fundraisers all the time and, when I interview many of them, they go on and on about their extracurricular humanitarian activities in the most natural way. I marveled at Ricardo Heredia's (Alchemy in South Park) tireless energy and zeal for working with youngsters in his kitchen and a nearby elementary school on our first meeting and was first introduced to Joe Magnanelli (Cucina Urbana in Bankers Hill) by a fellow chef participating in a youth mentorship program with him. These guys and their cohorts for the evening are legit! My only lament is the price tag for this special experience is $200.

Fortunately for food fans of lesser means (such as myself), a much more affordable event will take place the following day. Dubbed "A Day of Play — Art of the Harvest," this multifaceted family-geared event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the $15 cost of admission will include garden tours, games, swimming, crafts, and garden-oriented projects for the kiddos. Local growers, chefs from Quality Social and the artisans from SoNo Trading Company (whose mustards I mentioned earlier this week), and all-natural popsicle producers Viva Pops will round out the affair with food demonstrations. Though varied, both events are nice opportunities to visit this oasis-like sanctuary to all things pure and wholesome. Olivewood Gardens is located at 2525 N. Avenue in National City.


Sea Rocket Bistro chef Chad White teaches children the values of eating healthy and shares some cooking tips at Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center's kitchen instructional area. - Photo courtesy of Caron Golden

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