The Fullerton Arboretum virtually hosted its ninth annual Gathering of Friends event on Thursday over Zoom to give locals some holiday recipes just in time for Thanksgiving, as well as give an update about the arboretum.

Harriet Bouldin, volunteer manager at the arboretum, spoke about how different things were going to be this year since everything had to be done virtually. The arboretum has been hosting this event since 2012 and is hoping to continue doing it for a long time.

Culinary experts Jonathan Duffy Davis and Jonathan Dye gave the audience tips and tricks for their holiday recipes and shared some of their favorites.

Jonathan Dye proudly holding his maple bourbon pecan pie, which he shared the recipe for.

Jonathan Dye proudly holding his maple bourbon pecan pie, which he shared the recipe for. Photo credit: Andrea Valencia

The audience was able to utilize the chat section on Zoom to ask questions throughout the event, and then at the end, there was an open live chat.

Amy Bulone, who is a horticulturist at the Fullerton Arboretum, said that the arboretum currently has a team of six horticulturists who are in charge of care and maintenance.

At the beginning of the year after the first shut down, the arboretum’s six employees were only working eight hours a week, and then eventually, it went up to 16 hours. Recently though, all six employees went back to full time, thanks to the people who donated to the arboretum.

Currently, all employees are now working on cleaning and touching everything up that they weren’t able to when they were working with a limited amount of time.

The arboretum is hoping to bring some of its other staff members back soon, but at the moment, it is not yet possible.

“Most of our staff remains on furlough, and it’s a difficult time for us, and it’s a difficult time for everyone, but we do need your support, and we encourage you to think about that this evening,” said Bouldin.

Bulone did say that although they currently aren’t able to have guests visit the arboretum, the extra space has allowed them to be able to do more work and plant new plants without getting in anyone’s way.

Audience for the Gathering of Friends event. 102 guests showed up in support of the Fullerton arboretum. Many of which were guests who also donated to the arboretum themselves.

Audience for the Gathering of Friends event. 102 guests showed up in support of the Fullerton arboretum. Many of which were guests who also donated to the arboretum themselves. Photo credit: Andrea Valencia

Several audience members also had questions about volunteers being able to return, to which Bouldin responded, “We don’t yet have a date for volunteers to return. Right now, we are just so grateful for the support we received in order to raise $200,000 to bring our horticulture team back full time.”

The event then turned to the culinary experts Jonathan Dye and Jonathan Duffy Davis, who entertained the audience with recipes for Thanksgiving.

Davis is a former biologist and farmer at the Fullerton Arboretum who now lives in Canada but continues to host this event with Dye. Dye is a culinary expert who works at Rogers Gardens in Newport Beach and has a successful culinary series with Davis. Both Dye and Davis went over several recipes, which can all be found on the arboretum’s website.

The outcome of the bacon-biscuit dressing recipe Dye shares at the event. The culinary experts did not cook during the event, but they did have the food ready for the audience to see what it should look like.

The outcome of the bacon-biscuit dressing recipe Dye shares at the event. The culinary experts did not cook during the event, but they did have the food ready for the audience to see what it should look like. Photo credit: Andrea Valencia

The recipes that were presented included ambrosia salad, bacon-biscuit dressing, buttermilk-brined turkey, cranberry port gelee, maple bourbon pecan pie, pie crust and sweet potato puree with pecan streusel. As the event was only 90 minutes long, all dishes were pre-made.

The event was also recorded and will be up on the arboretum’s website so that people can revisit it, in case they’d like to see what they missed or want to listen to Davis and Dye explain their recipes.

The Fullerton Arboretum is hoping to stay afloat, and it’s encouraging people to donate what they can to its website.

Bouldin also suggested purchasing a membership to give as a gift. This membership gives access to several public gardens around the country that are currently open.

“We would appreciate you going to our website, making a donation and encouraging your friends to do that. That kind of support is really meaningful to us right now,” said Bouldin.

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