December 23, 2014 – Did you ever wonder how to best prepare the beautiful chanterelles that pop up in our area in January? Or cook the delicious, deep green wild nettle dishes you may have enjoyed at restaurants like La Balena? Or how to serve the beautiful sea vegetables you see pictured in magazines like EMB, or, may have eaten at Aubergine?
You’re in luck, because on Sunday, Jan. 18, some of our area’s best chefs who are known for wrangling wild delicacies to the plate will be sharing their secrets at a special cooking class at Big Sur Lodge.
The class promises to be exciting: Aubergine’s Justin Cogley, named one of Food & Wine magazine’s best new chefs of 2013, will show you how … Read More
December 23, 2014 – The Ecological Farming Association conference has put the “eco” into “ag” for over three decades, providing a forum for people to learn to grow food organically with the support of a community of farmers, ranchers, merchants, distributors, educators, policy makers, activists, and consumers.
Now in its 35th year, the message of EcoFarm 2015 is that holistic agriculture can actually regenerate Planet Earth and her soils in the face of climate change, reversing damage while producing abundant, pure and nutritious food. Citing research from the Rodale Institute, executive director Ken Dickerson says, “The data is out. It’s science.” In other words: It’s not just a hippie fantasy: it’s biology, it’s science.
More than 2,000 people are expected to attend upwards of 80 educational sessions—as well as … Read More
December 23, 2014 – After five years of creating scrumptious artisan pastries and breads in a converted gas station, owners of the popular Bakery Station in Salinas have sold the business to pursue other interests. Co-owner Ana Melissa Garcia will start classes with ALBA on January 3 with the goal of becoming an organic farmer and hops grower.
“The last five years have been wonderful and I feel really happy to have done something that made a contribution to the community, but I believe it’s time to make a change,” said Garcia. Her partner Erika Olivarez plans to return to her previous career as a family counselor. Garcia has been tending the herb garden at the historic Harvey House, home … Read More
December 16, 2014 – Chef Dory Ford—owner of AQUA TERRA Culinary in Pacific Grove—was in Denver today signing the lease on a huge new project in the mile high city. He’s restoring and reopening one of Denver’s landmark restaurants, an ice creamery, confectionery and a speakeasy with a full live music program. In addition, Ford plans to expand both his catering business and his school lunch program to Denver, all the while maintaining his local catering business and restaurant operations at Point Pinos Grill and A Taste of Monterey.
The energetic and talented chef said the time was right to expand his popular business, “Last weekend we got rave reviews on five events we did simultaneously, I’ve got a staff that is firing on all cylinders right now.”
So he … Read More
December 16, 2014 – Foragers are celebrating the recent rains—the holidays are approaching and visions of golden local chanterelles may finally become reality. No one would be upset if there were some morels and porcini thrown in for good measure, either. All of those goodies—and more—will likely show up at the third annual Big Sur Foragers Festival, January 16-18, 2015.
The festival is a reincarnation of the much-loved Big Sur Chanterelle Festival, according to Sharen Carey, the physician assistant who serves as Executive Director of the Big Sur Health Center. “We wanted to have a signature fundraising event,” she said, “so we went to board members from the chanterelle festival and ask them to help us revise and expand the event to include other foraged foods.” It’s been growing … Read More
December 9, 2014 – One of the most beautiful ways to truly experience the soul of a wine is to drink it in the vineyard where it was born. One spring day, winemaker Ian Brand and I did just that, at the top of the precipitously steep mountain that is Coastview Vineyard, high in the Gabilan Mountains east of 101, off the Chualar exit. Getting there was a trip like none other.
The car, ill-suited to a washed out dirt road, struggled through running streams, threaded its way between rockslides and over ravine-like ruts on its way to sure ruin. At any moment, the climb to the top threatened to come to a premature end, in a quest for terroir that bordered on terror.
Luckily, Brand hails from Connecticut where … Read More
December 9, 2014 – A big bright red sign went up on the Abbott Square entrance to the Museum of Art and History in downtown Santa Cruz this week, signaling the beginning of a year-long project to turn it into a vibrant culinary and artistic destination reminiscent of the beloved Cooper House that was torn down after the Loma Prieta earthquake.
“It’s going to transform downtown Santa Cruz to have a creative town square and gathering place,” said museum director Nina Simon, who is leading the project. While still in the planning stages, the project vision calls for a marketplace with four to seven food and drink vendors surrounding the square, two food trucks and outdoor café seating for as many as 200 people.
“We want the food to … Read More
December 9, 2014 – Environmental filmmaker Mark Shelley was making movies about the things society should be doing to protect our resources, when he started really paying attention and looking at his own life practices. He also was eating his business partner’s cattle raised on the pristine pastures and grasslands of their own ranches in the Elkhorn Slough area and Big Sur. He could taste and tell it was the right kind of meat for healthy living and eight years ago Shelley bought into Tassajara Natural Meats.
“I started with one animal right off the grass, processed it, and found it was really good, the way meat should taste,” Shelley says. “So I got another, and then a few more, as family and friends wanted some. I researched the … Read More
December 2, 2014 – Just in time for holiday gift giving, Santa Cruz’ True Olive Connection is opening its 2nd shop—this one in Aptos in the small shopping center that’s also home to Au Midi French restaurant. “We have a huge clientele from that area and they’ve been asking us to open out there for years,” says owner Susan Pappas. She says the new shop will be a mirror image of the downtown Santa Cruz retail outlet and she hopes to open by Friday, December 12.
“Our business is growing because people are becoming aware that the olive oil sold in supermarkets may not be what it’s supposed to be and they’re not always getting what they pay for,” she says. “People love having the fresh oils they select poured … Read More
December 2, 2014 – With lives dedicated to quiet contemplation, it’s easy to see why monks at the New Camaldoli Hermitage south of Big Sur had trouble singing the praises of their delicious fruitcakes and date nut cakes.
They’ve been supporting themselves by making the brandy-soaked holiday treats and Holy Granola for 40 years, but it became increasingly hard to be heard in today’s noisy, digital, pre-Christmas frenzy. So this year, they’ve brought in Bay Area business consultant Michael DiPietro to help. The consultant knew the monks from his many personal retreats at the hermitage and when they asked him to assist with the sales and marketing end of their business, he gladly accepted.
DiPietro said one of the steps in his process was doing market research on fruitcakes sold … Read More