Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery

United Way presents first-ever “Battle of the Growers”

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Teams comprised of wineries, growers and chefs from all around Essex County gathered at Pelee Island Winery Friday night to have fun and to raise a few bucks in the process.

“Battle of the Growers” was presented by United Way and several sponsors, including presenting sponsor Libro Credit Union, with six teams competing. Proceeds from the evening will go towards the “On Track” program that United Way sponsors in Leamington.

Local growers, wineries, chefs as well as students in the On Track program will compete in teams to create a delicious small plate appetizer-sized dish for 250 guests. The evening was designed to bring together members of the Ontario greenhouse industry and vegetable growers in a friendly competition. The hook was that the team has to use a vegetable or fruit supplied by the participating grower.

Bill Deslippe from Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering in Amherstburg shows the appetizer he and his team prepared for Battle of the Growers. It ended up being the winning entry. Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery and Highline Growers were also part of the team.

Bill Deslippe from Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering in Amherstburg shows the appetizer he and his team prepared for Battle of the Growers. It ended up being the winning entry. Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery and Highline Growers were also part of the team.

“We put together a group of women from the county and said ‘what can we do that would be different’,” explained Danielle Moldovan, relationship manager, major gifts and planned giving with United Way.

Moldovan noted the “bounty of the county” includes many great restaurants, farms and wineries so they worked to create an event for all of them.

“We decided to pair them together,” said Moldovan.

Judges included Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos and Councillor Tony Gaffan, Leamington Deputy Mayor Hilda MacDonald, and Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) vice president Lynnette Bain.

The On Track program has Grade 9 and 10 cohorts in Leamington and assists students who have challenges in their lives and may not be able to succeed as well in high school without the program. Students gain support through the program in both their education and their lives with the program helping to place them on the path to prosperity and a better life. Students can also obtain tuition support for post-secondary education.

Jody Goslin of Oxley Estate Winery pours a glass of wine at Battle of the Growers Friday night. There were six teams of chefs, wineries and growers competing.

Jody Goslin of Oxley Estate Winery pours a glass of wine at Battle of the Growers Friday night. There were six teams of chefs, wineries and growers competing.

Karen Brady, interim vice president of marketing and communications with United Way, said students are identified in Grade 8 for possible enrollment into the On Track program. About 15-20 students per year go through the On Track program in Leamington, with an additional program offered in west Windsor. There is a success coach that helps the students along the way, she noted.

The cost to put a student through the program is $6,500 per year.

Lorraine Goddard, CEO at United Way Windsor-Essex County, said those who grow up in economically disadvantaged families face numerous challenges but the program helps students with self-esteem and puts them on a path to success.

United Way held its “Battle of the Growers” Friday night at Pelee Island Winery. Judges fro the event included (from left): Leamington Deputy Mayor Hilda MacDonald, Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos, Kingsville councillor Tony Gaffan and TWEPI vice president Lynnette Bain.

United Way held its “Battle of the Growers” Friday night at Pelee Island Winery. Judges fro the event included (from left): Leamington Deputy Mayor Hilda MacDonald, Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos, Kingsville councillor Tony Gaffan and TWEPI vice president Lynnette Bain.

“This event is going to help kids in our community change the odds,” she said, adding they will be able to return to the community after getting an education, get jobs and help build the communities they live in.

The winning team included two Amherstburg businesses – Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering and Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. They teamed with Highline Mushrooms from Kingsville.

Bill Deslippe, chef at Smashed Apple, said they were very busy on the night but was happy to be there.

“It’s all for a good cause,” he said.

Jody Goslin, master taster at Oxley Estate Winery, said they were approached by Pelee Island Winery about helping out United Way and its On Track program.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Goslin. “We’re all in this together.”

Ramsey announces $41K in funding to support regional camp

 

By Jonathan Martin

Member of Parliament Tracey Ramsey has announced that the federal government has pledged to put $41,357 toward hiring 12 summer student councillors at Kiwanis Sunshine Point Camp.

Ramsey made the announcement Saturday night at the second annual Realtors Giving Back Wine & Food Extravaganza. The dinner and show was a fund raiser for the camp, which hosts economically disadvantaged youths between the ages of 7-14 for one week each summer. The camp covers some or all of the costs associated with attendance for more than half the campers.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey announces over $41,000 in federal funding for the hiring of a dozen summer student counsellors at the Kiwanis Sunshine Point camp. It was part of the Realtors Giving Back Wine & Food Extravaganza Saturday night at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey announces over $41,000 in federal funding for the hiring of a dozen summer student counsellors at the Kiwanis Sunshine Point camp. It was part of the Realtors Giving Back Wine & Food Extravaganza Saturday night at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Ramsey said the federal boon is part of the Canada Summer Jobs 2017 program, which provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. The funding is meant to be used to hire students between the ages of 15 and 30 during the summer, provided the students will be returning to school the following semester.

“I’m really thrilled to be a part of these events,” said Ramsey. “I went (to Kiwanis camp) as a kid and I know how amazing the experience attending it can be.”

“Many of these kids have never left the city of Windsor,” said event host Dan Inverarity. “It’s an eye-opening experience for them. They look up at night and can not believe how many stars are out there.”

In recent years, the camp has been suffering through financial turmoil. According to numbers released by fund raising organizers, it needs $150,000 per year to keep its doors open.

An Elvis tribute artist performs at Saturday night’s Realtors Giving Back Wine & Food Extravaganza. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

An Elvis tribute artist performs at Saturday night’s Realtors Giving Back Wine & Food Extravaganza. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Each child’s admission costs around $350. This year, Inverarity said the camp hopes to host 420 children, many of whom will come from the Children’s Aid Society. He said after Saturday night, they are right on target.

“Local realtors are incredibly generous people,” he said. “With their help and the help of Tracey Ramsey, it looks like we will be able to run a full camp. All together, they donated more over $30,000.”

Inverarity added that this year, Kiwanis hopes to host some of Windsor’s growing refugee population.

“We want to show them how incredible our community is,” he said. “We want them to feel like they are a part of it.”

Inverarity said he is excited to show Windsor’s refugees just how much fun a Canadian summer can be.

Local real estate office giving back through country concert

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

A local real estate office is giving back to the Windsor-Essex County community through a country music concert in April.

The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team is hosting “Country at Heart,” featuring the music of Adam Butcher as well as Ashley Lynn & The Spurs. It will be held at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery April 22.

“The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team is always looking to give back to the community that’s been so great to us,” explained Gemus. “The last three years, our team hosted a huge indoor charity yard sale. Those events raised over $25,000 over those three years. But, as fun as those events were on the day of the sales, people didn’t see the hundreds and hundreds of man hours spent by the members of our team to collect and organize the items. The team had even purchased a tractor trailer to help store the collections!”

Dan Gemus concert

Gemus said after much discussion, the team decided to change focus this year to an event that would raise even more funds and not require as many man hours along the way.

Thus, the “Country At Heart” event was born!

“We all love supporting the large charity galas throughout the year. Our goal for this event was not only to have that large event but to have more of a relaxed party feel,” said Gemus. “’Country at Heart’ is basically a large country bash! Jeans and cowboy boots are encouraged! Chicken and ribs will be served off of a 22-foot barbecue grill. It will also feature a backed potato bar, smores bar, candy table and tons more!”

Gemus added: “We have an amazing group of super caring members on the Dan Gemus Team. Everyone is always looking to lend a helping hand anytime we hear of someone in need. Hosting a yearly event is something that we all look forward to every year!”

The real estate team decided to donate its proceeds from the concert to the Windsor Regional Hospital intensive care unit because “we were looking to support a cause that touched as many lives as possible. We also wanted a cause that didn’t have any other large fundraiser events hosted for it on a regular basis. My wife Nicole also happens to be an RN in the ICU department. The unit is always looking for extra equipment etc. We thought it was a worthwhile cause!”

Butcher will play an acoustic set during the VIP sponsor cocktail portion along with the first hour or so of the regular event. Later in the evening Ashley Lynn & The Spurs will headline the party.

“They’ll have everyone up and dancing on their feet all night long!” said Gemus.

Sprucewood has room for 250 guests and Gemus said it is anticipated the event will sell out soon after tickets go on sale to the public March 6. He said guests are expected from all over Windsor-Essex County.

“We would like to thank all of our amazing sponsors. This event couldn’t have happened without every single one of them,” Gemus added. “We started planning this event knowing we were working with a very aggressive timeline for this first annual event. The sponsors stepped up in a huge way and it’s so much appreciated!”

If anyone is interested in sponsoring the event or wanting more information they can call the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team at 519-566-5565 or visit the event website at www.countryatheart.ca.