The 10th annual Avocado and Margarita Festival in Morro Bay is branching out with a new Friday night cocktail event Sept. 9 called Taste of the Grove. The soirée will feature farm-to-table fare created by chefs of several local restaurants and caterers, including Trumpet Vine Catering.
“Our festival committee was looking for a new way to shine an even brighter light on the coveted Morro Bay avocados grown right here in this city's backyard and sought after all the way to New York City,” said Erica Crawford, executive director of the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce.
“We are thrilled to welcome such a talented group of chefs, farmers and beverage producers from all over San Luis Obispo County to share in our homegrown love of Morro Bay avocados,” she added.
Using farm-fresh produce — such as local avocados — has always been a hallmark of Trumpet Vine Catering. Jill Ogorsolka started the business in 2000, and it has been owned since 2008 by Jennie Sturgeon.
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“Jill never used frozen vegetables or anything prepackaged, and we’ve continued to do that,” Sturgeon said.
She joined Trumpet Vine in 2004 as an assistant, mainly hoping to gain knowledge about the catering business.
“I had event experience and wanted to learn about the food aspect so I could be a better event coordinator,” Sturgeon said.
She not only learned the catering business, but also found her calling in the field — and as a chef.
In 2007, Sturgeon became a partner in Trumpet Vine. The next year, she bought Ogorsolka out and became full owner.
Other members of the veteran catering team include event manager Gayle Hascall and executive chef Justin Picard.
(Although) every menu is custom, all the ingredients are seasonally driven — even when we’re planning for events a year in advance.
Trumpet Vine event manager Gayle Hascall
Hascall, a San Luis Obispo County native who joined Trumpet Vine in 2001, brings two decades of event and hospitality experience to the table. Her innate flair for style further blossomed while studying floral design; she did an internship with the noted Bay Area company Michael Daigian Design.
Picard grew up in his family’s fine dining establishment in New England. His impressive culinary experience ranges from savory to sweet, from catering to restaurants and from Colorado to San Francisco.
Picard was the executive chef for the former Robert’s restaurants in Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande before coming to Trumpet Vine in March.
For Taste of the Grove, Picard will be preparing a “cool and refreshing tomato and avocado gazpacho shooter in keeping with the season,” he said. “The sweet acidity of tomatoes combined with the rich fattiness of an avocado are a natural pairing.”
The gazpacho dish is a spot-on illustration of Trumpet Vine’s approach.
“(Although) every menu is custom, all the ingredients are seasonally driven — even when we’re planning for events a year in advance,” Hascall explained.
Local produce is always the first consideration. When that’s not available, “Most (items) will be coming from no more than 150 miles away,” she said.
For proteins, Trumpet Vine turns to humanely raised meats, as well as seafood deemed sustainably caught by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. Many of the eggs come from Hascall’s own chickens, which are fed a steady diet of produce trimmings from the catering kitchen.
“We also try to support local companies whenever we can, whenever we aren’t making something ourselves from scratch,” Sturgeon said.
That includes sourcing from Edna’s Bakery in San Luis Obispo, as well as from Paso Robles companies Leo Leo Gelato, We Olive, Vivant Fine Cheese and Le Vigne Winery. (The latter supplies cheese, not wine.)
Trumpet Vine Catering’s home base is a commissary kitchen in Paso Robles, but the team works its magic at events throughout San Luis Obispo County. Though food is the cornerstone of the business, “From there the emphasis is on the presentation and the look,” Sturgeon said.
“We’re going to put in all the effort that you’d put into your very best Thanksgiving spread,” Hascall said.
Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at email@example.com.
Trumpet Vine Catering
805-238-6962 or www.trumpetvinecatering.com
Avocado and Margarita Festival
The 10th annual Avocado and Margarita Festival takes place Sept. 9 and 10 in Morro Bay.
Taste of the Grove will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 9 at The Packing Shed in Morro Bay. Admission is limited to 150 guests. In addition to entry for the Sept. 10 street festival, the $60 ticket includes tastes of avocado-themed dishes from farmers and local chefs, as well as pairings with local wineries, breweries and distilleries.
In addition to Trumpet Vine Catering, the event will feature offerings from Artisan, Divine Street Catering, Fig Good Food, Flora and Fauna, Morro Bay Oyster Co., Olea Farm, Thomas Hill Organics and Two Cooks Catering. For more information, go to https://avomargfest.com.