No matter how brutal the summer heat gets, a few items in the garden manage to thrive.

Okra thrives in even the hottest of conditions, and so does OkraFest, the annual fundraising evening benefiting Galveston’s Own Farmer’s Market. The Aug. 3 event features food stations manned by six local chefs, each with a new twist on okra, along with other tempting food.

The food will be accompanied by a variety of beverages. “We have three liquor sponsors this year, so there will be some terrific blended frozen drinks,” market director Casey McAuliffe said. “Combine that with our guest chefs and music by Kevin Anthony & G-Town, and it’s going to be a fantastic time.”

Special okra creations and other party food, much of it made with products available at the market, will be created by Daya Myers-Hurt of Fish Company Taco, Soul 2 Soul’s Ouida Cook, Brian Peper, Mary Bass and Mr. Mary’s Barbecue, Benno’s and Meghan Clark of Splendid Life Cake Bar.

New for 2019 is a VIP category that opens the doors an hour early.

“We always have people who want the party to go on longer, so we’ve added an option with a cocktail hour from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m., when the doors open for general admission ticket holders,” McAuliffe said.

Okrafest proceeds support the market’s community outreach programs: The Real Food Project and Young Gardeners Program. The Young Gardeners Program offers students at Oppe, Crenshaw, L.A.

Morgan and Rosenberg elementary schools the opportunity to grow and eat healthy food while being outdoors and working with others. The high-production gardens, and the input of volunteers and school staff, enable the program to send fresh vegetables home with participating students almost every week.

The Real Food Project is even more far-reaching.

“The market is about getting good food to everyone, and one of the ways we do that is through cooking classes and serving dinners to nonprofit groups,” McAuliffe said. “We’ll have more than 35 cooking classes this year, reaching everyone from kids at Boys & Girls Club to a monthly class for the WIC program at the county health district, and classes that are open to everyone held at the Kitchen Chick and Galveston College.”

The market cooks serve occasional dinners for groups at Gulf Breeze Apartments, the Resource and Crisis Center, Moody Early Childhood Center and the Family Service Center.

“Good food doesn’t discriminate. Food is a common denominator for everyone,” McAuliffe said. “Good food has a kind of magic to connect people, and my favorite times at the market are when two people who might not otherwise rub elbows find a common bond at one of our vendors.”

OkraFest is scheduled for Aug. 3 at the Garten Verein, 2704 Ave. O in Galveston. Advance tickets are $40 through July 27, $50 the week of the event and $55 at the door, at Galveston’s Own Farmers Market, behind The Bryan Museum at 1315 21st St., Sundays from 9 a.m. until noon and Thursdays from 3 p.m. until 6 pm.

Tickets are also available online at VIP tickets are $100 and include early admission and a commemorative lapel.

Bernice Torregrossa:

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