Cider for change ‘in plain sight’ human trafficking awareness dinner – tuna steak marinade

On march 27 at blue bee cider, 30 guests gathered at long community tables for "in plain sight," an intimate evening aimed at shedding light on human trafficking in the service industry.

Courtney mailey, owner of blue bee cider, the only completely female-owned craft beverage producer in richmond, and james beard award semifinalist chef brittanny anderson of brenner pass and metzger bar & butchery, dynamic female powerhouses in the local dining community, hosted the five-course dinner and cider pairing.

“it’s always fun to get to collaborate, especially with other women,” anderson said at the event. “we’re going to have some flavors we don’t often have paired with ciders.”

foggy ridge

The sense of female pride was embraced by all those in attendance and even reflected in the cider pairings, which came from virginia cideries owned and operated by women.

One of those women was charlotte shelton, owner of albemarle ciderworks, described by mailey (shelton was her first boss in the cider industry) as a “true steel magnolia." shelton’s brut cider is made using albemarle pippin apples. The dry, crisp cider was paired with a marinated-mussel-and-celery salad for the first course.

The second course featured a white asparagus salad, a rich crab mousse, meyer lemon and an egg-yolk jam paired with final call by foggy ridge cider.

Diane flynt, owner of foggy ridge, was unable to attend, but was recently named a james beard award finalist for outstanding wine, beer or spirits professional, an award that recognizes the national impact made on the restaurant industry by a beverage professional.Brenner pass final call is an ode to flynt’s cider journey, which recently came to an end; she retired earlier this year, and foggy ridge is no longer producing cider.

“when I got that one to taste, I felt guilty opening the bottle,” anderson said of final call. “it’s light, bright, super dry with elegant flavors.”

Liza cioffi, co-owner and founder of courthouse creek cider, showcased her amuse bouche cider made using viognier grapes, barrel fermentation and less than 1 percent sugar. The cider was paired with a pork sausage made at brenner pass with raw apple, herbs and crunchy brioche crumbles.

The dinner concluded with a chicken roulade stuffed with prosciutto, fava-bean relish and parmesan paired with season’s finish, a whiskey-esque cider shared by old hill hard cider owner sarah showalter.Foggy ridge

Dessert was a honey and aleppo pistachio cake made by olivia wilson, executive pastry chef at brenner pass, paired with blue bee’s harvest ration, a brandy cider mailey created with her father.

“when I was deciding what I wanted to do when I grow up, [my father] said, ‘forget that cider thing, become a distiller and make papa happy,’ ” mailey said, laughing. “but in high school I took a career aptitude test and was the only one in my class to come out a farmer, everyone else was an engineer or lawyer.”

During a break in the meal, john richmond, founder of the human trafficking institute and a longtime friend of mailey’s, spoke on the institute’s work. Mailey and richmond reconnected in recent years, and mailey came to realize she was working in an industry profoundly affected by the exact issue he was trying to combat.Brenner pass

Within the service industry, women often are more vulnerable to working for little pay, or without pay altogether. According to the national human trafficking hotline, virginia ranks 15th in the country for human trafficking cases reported, and out of the 83 cases reported in the state last year, 65 involved women.

“it’s exploding around the world,” richmond said. “we think of it as something that happened historically, things of yesteryears. It’s going on all over, and right here. This is an economic crime, and the traffickers are motivated not by hate, but by money.”

Richmond highlighted how to become more knowledgeable about human trafficking and how to notice the warning signs and recognize their commonality.Human trafficking one of the most difficult aspects of human trafficking is the disconnect, he said. Most of us do not come into contact with trafficked people, which puts us one further step away and keeps the victims out of sight and out of mind.

“[people being trafficked] don’t care if we wear a designated ribbon on an awareness day or we have the right hashtag; they’re not interested. They just want it to stop,” richmond said. “how do we get the protection of laws for the people that they were intended to protect? We can move beyond awareness and into action. If they will band together to exploit people, we should band together to stop them.”