Author Archive | Deborah Luhrman

Floods Devastate Organic Farms

9a6ac09d-6184-4561-9497-edb7273f5922February 14, 2017 – Heavy rain, wind and flash flooding has severely damaged several organic farms in Hollister and is causing trouble for farmers throughout the Monterey Bay area.

Heirloom Organic Gardens, Catalán Family Farms and California Kurobuta—all located near Pacheco Creek—are among the hardest hit.

“There was water 1,000 feet wide covering our farm in January and then 800 feet wide again last week,” says Jack Kimmich of California Kurobuta—a pig farm profiled in the winter issue of EMB. Click here for story.

“About 70% of our fencing and 125 tons of feed and feed troughs were carried away by the floods,” he said of the first round in January. “The funny thing is lots of pigs went to high ground and slept right through it.”

But he and his … Read More

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il Vecchio
Carl Alasko with his daughter, Ariele Alasko.
Photo by Deborah Luhrman.

“Our recipes are very simple…
We start from scratch everyday, so everything is fresh.”

A newcomer to the Pacific Grove restaurant scene, il vecchio restaurant has made sustainability something of an art form. The already popular trattoria, just opened in August, is decorated almost entirely with reclaimed and salvaged materials collected and artistically assembled by the owner’s daughter.

The first thing you notice on entering is the warmth that comes from old barn wood-clad walls, a gleaming oak bar, an enormous Carmel stone fireplace and glowing chandeliers made from rusted industrial mixers.

“We wanted to give the restaurant a patina, and the fact that everything already comes with a history adds so much,” says 24-yearold artist Ariele Alasko, the … Read More

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Eco-Deli’s Beer Bark flatbread, Jeff Dubin and his merlot tea
From left: Eco-Deli’s Beer Bark flatbread,
Jeff Dubin and his merlot tea.

Photo by Deborah Luhrman.

You might call it food from the future. A Salinas man is embracing the ecologist’s mantra “reuse, repurpose, recycle” and inventing new foods made from the byproducts of local artisan beer and wine making. Hidden away in a corner of an old airplane hangar at the Marina airfield, former sculptor Jeff Dubin has built a top-secret test kitchen where his studio used to be. He turned his kiln into an oven and started mixing batches of flatbreads, teas and vinegars.

“At this time in my life I just wanted to do something that is fun, useful and creative,” he says. So he founded Dubiansky’s Eco- Deli and is working to market his first product—a … Read More

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Mustard Power

A Watsonville company discovers
a supercharged soil amendment
—and fuel for the tractors, too

mustardpower1It started as a conversation between local organic pioneers, Ken Kimes of New Natives in Corralitos and Larry Jacob of Del Cabo and Jacobs Farm. They dreamed of finding a way to use fallow fields along the coast north of Santa Cruz for growing biofuel to run their farm vehicles. But the farmers soon discovered that the green power of their raw material of choice—the humble mustard seed—went far beyond powering the equipment.

With the help of an expert in alternative energy from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and advice from the University of Idaho, they found out that mustard seed met their criteria of being a non-irrigated and seawater-tolerant crop. They already knew that a compound … Read More

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Local Hero Winner 2013 – Best Nonprofit: Homeless Garden Project and Second Harvest Food Bank

bestnonprofit1Santa Cruz’ Homeless Garden Project and Second Harvest Food Bank tied in voting for best nonprofit. “Our success depends on the community, so we are really grateful for the love and sup- port,” says Darrie Ganzhorn, executive director of the Homeless Garden Project. She has been with the project for 22 years and sees it as a good way of combining vocational training for those who need it with a sustainable urban food system. “There’s so much going on here, I’m just hooked!” she says.


bestnonprofit2Second Harvest CEO Willy Elliot-McCrea says the organization is emphasizing fruits and vegetables like never before. “Cheap food and lack of access to fresh produce is what’s driving hunger and obesity here on the Central Coast,” he says, adding that 62.3% of all the … Read More

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