‘Honoring the Hands’ to Return to Martha Clara Vineyards on July 12

This local food and wine tasting shows off Long Island’s burgeoning industry while advocating for increased healthcare access for Suffolk County’s agricultural workers.

The 4th annual ‘Honoring the Hands’ benefit will return to Martha Clara Vineyards on July 12, 2018.

On Thursday, July 12 at 7 p.m., Martha Clara Vineyards will host the 4th annual Honoring the Hands benefit, organized by the Hudson River Health Care Foundation. This local food and wine tasting shows off Long Island’s burgeoning industry while advocating for increased healthcare access for Suffolk County’s agricultural workers.

As in years past, the benefit will showcase wine and food from local vendors, and will feature various stations, where attendees can circulate and taste different items from different booths. The event will also include passed plates of food, live music, and a “wine smackdown”—a blind wine tasting competition of North Fork vineyards in which competitors attempt to guess a wine’s exact provenance. The smackdown has proven, in the past, to be among the most popular parts of the benefit.

Monies raised in past benefits have facilitated, in addition to other healthcare-related services, the purchase of a mobile health care center. With this vehicle, the Hudson River Health Care Foundation can drive right to vineyards and farms to attend to farm workers where they work. The mobile center has two care rooms and bilingual staff members and offers care to people who often go without it due to issues with transportation, language barriers, work restrictions, or financial restrictions. “We serve everyone,” Public Relations and Editorial Manager for the Hudson River Health Care Center Jeffrey Palmer said. The outreach program, designed to assist agricultural workers, provides medical care for the insured and the uninsured, and also helps those interested in health insurance enrollment. All of the money raised through the Honoring the Hands benefit will go toward these services.

The Foundation also hosts a similar event in October in the Hudson Valley called Cornucopia, which raises money to support a general fund to help keep these healthcare centers operating. “We operate 29 healthcare centers in New York State,” Jeffrey Palmer said, “including 9 in Suffolk County. This event is specifically for the agricultural worker healthcare fund.” Established in 2002, the Foundation has raised over a million dollars in the mission of “increasing access to comprehensive primary and preventative care.” Nearly 200,000 people are served through the Foundation’s health centers.

Sponsors for this year’s Honoring the Hands event include Bridge Lane Wine, Catapano Dairy Farm, Celeste Bakery, Edible East End, Harbes Vineyard, Clovis Point Winery, Palmer Vineyards, Suru Wines, Paumanok Vineyards, Shinn Estate Vineyard, Wolffer Estate, Gramercy Vineyards, Jamesport Vineyards, Kontokosta Winery, Vines and Branches, North Fork Chocolate Company, Martha Clara Vineyards, Reilly Cellars, Cheese & Spice Market and North Fork Potato Chips. Additional catering will be provided by Noah Schwartz’s airstream food truck, Noah’s on the Road.

Ultimately, the event is about “really delicious wine and good food,” as Jeffrey Palmer put it. This is an opportunity to sample the very best of Long Island’s North Fork while simultaneously helping the people who make Long Island food and wine great, the hardworking agricultural hands behind the scenes.

Tickets begin at $175 per person—with sponsorship rates also available—and include all food and alcohol. Learn more about the event or purchase tickets at www.honoringthehandscelebration.org.

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Hannah Selinger

Hannah Selinger is a freelance food and wine writer and sommelier living in East Hampton. Her work has appeared in the such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and RawStory.com. She is the wine columnist for the Southampton Press.