Hilltop Hanover Farm of Yorktown Heights hosted the third annual Farm-to-Table Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 5, to honor the memory of Brett Alcaro, former chief farmer at Hilltop Hanover Farm. The benefit dinner—attended by 160 people—raised over $20,000. Seventy-five percent of this amount will be used to educate future Hilltop Hanover farmers while the remaining 25 percent will be donated to a continuing college scholarship fund for Alcaro’s children.
The Environment Hero Commendation was awarded to Rusticus Garden Club of Bedford for its “exemplary leadership in the area of environmental support and stewardship.” Rusticus Club officers Kathy Sheppard and Jane Epstein accepted the award. The recipients of the volunteers of the year awards were Lorraine Terieckie and Nelson Staley. Terieckie has been a Hilltop Hanover Farm volunteer for seven years while Staley has been pursuing his love of gardening and farming at Hilltop since 2011.
Honored guests included Andy Spano, former Westchester County executive, who persuaded county government to purchase Hilltop Hanover Farm in 2001, to preserve the 187-acre property as an open space facility and as a working farm. Also, Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett attended and presented proclamations to the farm’s executive director, Lucille Munz. In addition, Michael Kaplowitz, chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, read a proclamation and indicated his love for the farm.
The most moving speech of the evening was presented by Germaine Alcaro’s (Brett’s widow). Germaine praised her deceased husband’s farm work and celebrated the commitment of today’s farmers. The present staff of Hilltop Hanover farmers, led by head farmer Max Zanke, were applauded for their commitment to the land and their dedication to provide the best produce possible. They received a standing ovation from the overflow crowd.
The Dave Phillips Trio, which consists of Dave Phillips, Marc Phaneuf, and Nadav Zelniker, provided music throughout the evening. Nearly two dozen silent auction items raised more than $5,000. Separate raffles were held for tickets to the play “Hamilton” and to drive a Tesla for 24 hours.
Adding to the event was the RE/MAX balloon, courtesy of Thomas E. Consaga, vice president of the Pleasantville office. The balloon handlers wished to raise the balloon but were denied by the wind that night, the Yorktown Heights volunteer firemen, led by Chief Jay Swart, are to be commended for assisting in supporting the aborted attempts at raising the balloons—mother nature just would not cooperate!
The seven-course meal was prepared by local chefs who donated their services for the evening: chef Maria Reina of Bella Cucina Maria, chef Michael Schmutzer of Doral Arrowwood, and chef Donna Simmons of Pound Ridge Organics. Coordinating the kitchen and wait staff was chef George Arias. The major sponsors included Martha Gingrich, who sponsored the tent; Fidelity Investments of Scarsdale, which sponsored the cocktail hour; Banks Wealth Partners, which was a co-dinner sponsor; and RE/MAX , which sponsored the hot air balloon.
Other businesses that contributed to the evening’s success included Broken Bow Brewery; Harvest Moon, Farm and Orchard; Ladle of Love; Suburban Wines and Spirits; Café of Love; Sweet Grass and Grill; Tomatillo; Tomatillo; Red Zebras; Simply Hailee; Ardent Homesteader; Flowers by Heather Maguire Floral Design; and Blue Pig.
Additional information about future farm activities may be obtained by visiting the farm’s website: hilltophanoverfarm.org. Also, for those who wish to donate to the farm, there is a donation section on the website. If you wish to send a check, address the check to Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm, Hilltop Hanover Farm, 1271 Hanover St., Yorktown Heights, N.Y. 10598.