SAN DIEGO – The Living Coast Discovery Center, a nonprofit zoo and aquarium on the southern edge of San Diego Bay in Chula Vista, will host Farm to Bay, its seventh annual culinary celebration, on Saturday, Aug. 6 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The unique tasting event brings together some of San Diego’s finest restaurants, breweries, wineries, farms and more to support the center’s coastal wildlife, education and sustainability programs in its largest fundraiser of the year.
This year, Chef Will Gustwiller, owner of the popular Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro in South Park, has joined Farm to Bay as culinary chair. After participating in the event for the first time last year, Gustwiller knew he wanted to take on a larger role in supporting the Living Coast’s signature fundraising event.
“Farm to Bay is such a unique and special event for San Diego,” he said. “It brings together so many wonderful components, between the variety of the local food and beverage partners, the beautiful, intimate setting within the wildlife refuge–and of course, all of the amazing animals and exhibits. I was thrilled to take the lead this year and invite many of my peers to join me in supporting the Living Coast’s mission.”
More than just a chef and chocolatier, Gustwiller is an artist at heart. Upon completing his master’s degree in sculpture from SDSU, Gustwiller began handcrafting exotic chocolates and confections with the unique perspective of an artist. Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro, nestled in the romantic walking neighborhood of South Park, is a full-service eatery offering a decadent daily brunch and dinner menu, a rotating selection of local craft beers and West Coast wines, as well as more than 100 tempting treats and craft confections. All confections are lovingly made by hand in small batches, using luxurious Fair Trade Certified couverture chocolate–without additives, preservatives or palm oil. Only the finest ingredients are used, many of which are locally-sourced or created in-house by Gustwiller and his team of artisans.
In addition to Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro, confirmed restaurant partners for this year’s Farm to Bay celebration include: Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Sushi on a Roll, Panama 66, True Food Kitchen, Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub, Big Front Door, Urge American Gastropub, Ojas, Casanova Fish Tacos, Viva Pops, Cardamom Café, Savor Catering, and many more.
A number of local farms, grocers and specialty purveyors will be participating in food sampling including: Catalina Offshore Products, Suzie’s Farm, Sprouts Farmers Market–Chula Vista and Eastlake, Jimbo’s Naturally, Viva Pops, Cravory Cookies, and Wild Willow Farm.
The event will also include wine, beer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverage samplings from Automatic Brewing Co., Second Chance Beer Co., Bay Bridge Brewing, Duck Foot Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Modern Times Beer, Old Harbor Distillery, Blue Chair Rum, Golden Coast Mead, Quigley Fine Wines, Wiens Family Cellars, Granite Lion Cellars, California Fruit Wines, Industrial Grind Coffee and Bootstrap Kombucha, among others.
Farm to Bay is the only San Diego food and wine event set within a protected national wildlife refuge, where guests can enjoy a unique, intimate nature and wildlife experience alongside dozens of native species.
The event includes samplings from over 40 local restaurants, farms, breweries, wineries and distilleries, as well as live musical performances on multiple stages, live and silent auctions and up-close animal encounters with the Living Coast Discovery Center’s beloved animal ambassadors (including sea turtles, sharks, hawks, eagles, owls and more).
In keeping with the Living Coast’s commitment to the environment and sustainability, the Farm to Bay event committee, led by master composters from the City of Chula Vista, have taken the necessary steps towards producing a zero-waste event. In 2015, as a result of their efforts, 86 percent of event waste was recycled or composted and diverted from landfills. Since 2013, overall waste has been reduced by 57 percent (819 pounds). This year, the team will continue to build on this success by utilizing more earth-friendly materials and processes.
Tickets for the event are on sale now for $85 at www.thelivingcoast.org. Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets early as the event is expected to sell out. In 2015, the Living Coast achieved its highest net proceeds in the event’s history, raising a record-breaking $96,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales, auction and Raise the Paddle donations.
The event is made possible by the generous support of its sponsors, including this year’s presenting sponsor, Marine Group Boat Works, as well as the City of Chula Vista–Environmental Services, San Diego Gas & Electric, Sprouts Farmers Market–Chula Vista and Eastlake, Mission Federal Credit Union, BAE Systems, Baldwin & Sons, Cox Communications, Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Port of San Diego, Wells Fargo, , General Dynamics NASSCO, Hoffman Hanono Insurance Services, Home Advisor, Jeff Katz Architecture, Miller Hull, Pacifica Companies, Point Loma Credit Union, Republic Services, The Securities Center, and The Waitt Foundation. Media partners for the event include San Diego Magazine, San Diego CityBeat, Edible San Diego and Sunny 98.1 FM.
Additional sponsors and food and beverage partners continue to be added to this event. For inquires relating to participation or to donate an item to the live or silent auction, contact Jessica LaFave at email@example.com or (619) 409-5906.
About the Living Coast Discovery Center
The Living Coast Discovery Center, a 501(c) 3 educational zoo and aquarium located within the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge on Sweetwater Marsh, began operating as a non-profit in 2010 after assuming operations of the Chula Vista Nature Center. The Living Coast Discovery Center offers hands-on exhibits and up-close encounters with more than 350 plant and animal species native to Southern California coastal habitats, including endangered sea turtles, sting rays, leopard sharks, jellies, shorebirds, reptiles and a large collection of raptors such as hawks, falcons, owls, American bald eagle, golden eagle, and more. More information about the Living Coast Discovery Center is available at www.thelivingcoast.org or (619) 409-5900.