Culinary Pros Unite for “Got Cow?” Benefit

Top toques will raise funds to buy a miniature Jersey Cow for Oasis TLC Farms.

New Jersey’s culinary stars are joining forces on Saturday, September 16 for a two-pronged benefit aimed at buying cows for Oasis TLC Farms, where adults with autism live, work and study.

Got Cow?, presented by The Garden State Culinary Arts Foundation, will feature the talents of Bruce Lefebvre, chef-owner of The Frog and the Peach in New Brunswick; Dan Richer, chef-owner of Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City; Nick Pizzonia, vice president of Court Liquors in Long Branch; Drew Araneo, chef-owner of Drew’s Bayshore Bistro in Keyport; Russell Lewis and Michael Johannesen of Watermark in Asbury Park; and products from Jonathan and Nina White’s Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse in Milford.

Oasis TLC, which stands for Therapeutic Life Centers, is a nonprofit organization. Its mission is to “promote inclusion and acceptance of autistic individuals into their local communities by establishing environmentally exemplary farm centers that provide meaningful work, peaceful and healthy residences, and community interaction.”

Oasis created its first farm on Sleepy Hollow Road in Middletown and is establishing its second farm on Navesink River Road, also in Middletown. Its aim is to create farms statewide following the Oasis model.

Students work the farm at Oasis/Sleepy Hollow, where goats graze, hens roam, and fields and greenhouses sprout vegetables and fruits. They also use a hand-built, wood-burning oven to bake pizza and breads; work in the farm’s kitchen to make preserves, yogurt and cheeses; and cook for and serve at porch breakfasts and formal teas.

However, the farm is missing something important, according to Oasis founder Mai Cleary, and that is cows for the students to milk.

The kind of cow appropriate for Oasis students is a miniature Jersey cow, Cleary notes. Easier to handle than larger standard breeds, the mini Jerseys nonetheless deliver plentiful milk for making not only milk, but butter, cheeses and other cow’s-milk products. The less-common mini Jerseys cost considerably more than standard cows, however.

And that’s where the culinary pros come in. In the two-part Got Cow? event, the culinarians aim to raise the funds needed to purchase the first cows for Oasis.

Supporting the culinary professionals are designer Elizabeth England; singer Audra Mariel and guitarist Doug Clarke; artist Sarah Hilton, and the student body of Oasis Farms, who will be staging and staffing both afternoon and evening events.

Here’s the Got Cow? bill of fare for Saturday, September 16:

for the entire family at Oasis Farm, 89 Sleepy Hollow Road, Middletown; for Google mapping purposes, please use Red Bank in the address.

From 1 to 3:30 pm:
* Pizza from the Oasis wood-burning oven made by chef and pizzaiola Dan Richer of Razza
* Snacks from Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse and Oasis Farms
* Farm tours (at 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm)
* Arts and crafts on display

Cost: $25 per adult; $12.50 ages 12 to 18; under 12, free. All proceeds go to Oasis Farms.

Includes wine seminar, cocktail hour, farm dinner at the new Oasis Farm, 911 Navesink River Road at the corner of Deep Hollow Drive, Locust; for Google mapping purposes, please use 4 Deep Hollow Drive, Middletown, as the address.

* Wine seminar from 6 to 7 pm in the upstairs Grand Ballroom. Partnerships in wine and food with Nick Pizzonia, under the auspices of the Court Wine Club, and Andy Clurfeld, founder of the Garden State Culinary Arts Foundation. In this conducted tasting, artisan, organic wines will be paired with specially prepared seasoned popcorn from Drew Araneo of Drew’s Bayshore Bistro.

* Cocktail hour from 7 to 8 pm on the first floor. Oasis cocktail created for Got Cow? gala by Russell Lewis and Michael Johannesen of Watermark. Performance by Audra Mariel and Doug Clarke.

* Farm dinner from 8 to 10 pm on the first floor. Multi-course dinner featuring produce from Oasis Farms prepared by chef Bruce Lefebvre, owner of The Frog and the Peach. Each course paired with wines selected by Pizzonia and Clurfeld.

Cost: $200 per person; $350 for two. Price for the evening event includes the wine seminar, cocktail hour and farm dinner; reservations required; seating is limited. All proceeds go to Oasis Farms.

To purchase tickets for the Got Cow? afternoon Open House and the Got Cow? evening Gala, e-mail Laurie Medoro at [email protected].

Specify the event you would like to attend, the number of tickets you wish to purchase, and your contact phone number and e-mail address. Medoro will contact you to complete the reservation. For questions, call 908-601-6363 between 9 am and 2 pm Monday through Friday only. Reservations for the evening gala must be made no later than Monday, September 11, 2017.

For additional information about Oasis Farms, visit

(Note of disclosure Andy Clurfeld is the editor of Table Hopping.)


All-Day Taco Party: The NJ Taco Festival will take place Saturday, September 9 from 10 am to 8 pm at the Sussex County Fairgrounds, 37 Plains Road in Augusta. Ticket prices range from $10 (advance; $15 at door) to $100 for VIP all-access. 973-948-5500;

Fund-raiser for City Green: Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, 70 Kingsland Road in Clifton, through the end of the month will donate $1 for each dish sold from its “Local Harvest” or $5 from the five-course tasting menu to City Green, a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing urban farms and gardens in northern New Jersey cities. 973-661-2435;


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