NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

May 15, 2014

A culinary sampler

Fundraiser offers Taste of Plum Island and beyond

After a long, tough winter and weather that has still mostly been on the chilly side, organizers and chefs participating in this year’s A Taste of Plum Island are ready to welcome summer.

Francis Broadbery, executive chef and co-owner of Plum Island Grille, said he was inspired by the warm weather early this week. Although he offered chowder last year, he said he wanted to do something light and fresh this time around.

He and his staff will prepare two fresh salads, “a classic caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella and vine tomatoes and an organic green salad with balsamic rosemary vinaigrette,” for tomorrow night’s event.

“It was so sunny out, and it’s been a long winter, and I just think it’s time,” Broadbery said.

The Plum Island Grille is one of a number of local restaurants taking part in the annual fundraiser for Plum Island Taxpayers & Associates. Held at PITA Hall and open to adults 21 and older, it runs from 6 to 8 p.m.

In addition to a variety of food and desserts, the evening includes beer and wine and at least 100 raffle items, including gift certificates to several businesses in the region and dinner provided by Starboard Galley in the Range Lights lighthouse in downtown Newburyport.

“It’s kind of a big kickoff to the summer down here,” organizer Diane Barrett said. “It keeps our community hall going and goes to whatever PITA is working on.”

PITA is involved in a number of Plum Island improvement projects, including efforts to rebuild the south and north jetties of the Merrimack River and to open emergency access roads. Members have also been taking aerial photographs to document changes to the beach and identify hazards.

“I think it’s a great organization,” Broadbery said. “I really enjoy doing the event. I think the cause itself is fantastic, and I’m very happy to support it.”

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