Picking a caterer is a daunting task because there are so many logistics, service styles and personal tastes to consider, which is why we would like to introduce you to one of our favorite caterers here in Charlottesville, Harvest Moon Catering! Get to know them, how they started and what interesting places catering has taken them with our Q&A with the team!


Q: How did Harvest Moon come to be?

A: A little over 21 years ago, UVA graduates Mark Hahn and Robert Gustafson saw the opportunity to cater for the University community, thus, Harvest Moon Catering was born.  With this initial success, HMC added weddings and private events to the mix.  As the company grew over time, they layered in quite a bit of philanthropic partnering with good works organizations to better serve the community in which we all live.  As Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville grew wildly in its popularity as a wedding destination town, so did Harvest Moon Catering’s success.


Q: Favorite part about your job?

A: I love getting to know my clients and their stories.  I love that regardless of how transient our world is, we continue to gather socially and share our important moments.  I love helping to coordinate these gatherings and shared moments.


Q: We know it takes a team of people to make dinner service work effectively and efficiently. What are some of the challenges and solutions to making sure everyone stays happy?

A: Challenges:

Dinner service challenges change depending on the style of service.  

  • With plated service, a couple of challenges are when we receive incorrect information regarding a guest’s order, and when guests change their order “in real time.”  
  • Cold weather can be a challenge for buffet dinner service.  
  • Having enough surface space on a table can be a challenge for Family style service.  
  • Making sure the Bride and Groom get to eat.


  • To resolve the issues of changing entree orders for plated service, we bring overage to ensure that we can accommodate a guest’s request.  We also designate one person, our “fixer”, to handle these changes in real time, so that our service teams can continue to serve tables, while a guest who wants something different isn’t left to wait.
  • Creating smart menus for buffet service can often prevent against weather issues negatively affecting the integrity of our food.  For example, trout and flank steak don’t hold their heat very well, but salmon and strip steak do.  
  • We ask our clients to limit the number of guests at each table to ensure we have enough surface space for family style platters.  We also provide guidance for smart table top plate choices, as well as other table top decor to ensure
  • We train servers who are then assigned to the bride and groom for the night.  This server ensures that the bride and groom are taken care of from post ceremony drinks, to post pictures appetizers, to dinner service, to a to go bag with snacks, sweets, and drinks for later that night.  


Q: What is your hidden talent?

A: I would say my hidden talent is seeing the logistical flow of an event under a variety of scenarios so that I can guide a client towards smart decisions.


Q: What is the one (of many!) Harvest Moon appetizers that no event is complete without?

A: Tuna tartar taco with wasabi creme fraiche and pickled radish or grilled shrimp and chorizo skewer with red onion jam.


Q: Most unique place Harvest Moon has taken you?

A: Carnegie Institute of Science in Washington DC

Harvest Moon Catering