Author Archive | Kathryn McKenzie


Monterey’s new café Captain + Stoker combines coffee, cycling and conversation


Not long after opening Captain + Stoker in March, owners Wendy and Peterson Conway were pleasantly surprised to see a pack of about 20 cyclists stop in for an espresso or two at the newly launched café in downtown Monterey.

Despite the Conways’ own passion for cycling, these kindred spirits were not people whom they’d previously met. And that’s just what the Conways were hoping for.

“This is exactly what we saw in Italy,” says Wendy, who, along with her husband, has fond memories of biking to little coffeehouses there and communing with other two-wheeled adventurers. In Italy, coffee and cycling just naturally seem to go together.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the … Read More

Continue Reading ·

Epicenter Shakes Up Seizmic Sangrias

April 10, 2018 – Sangria—a mainstay of college parties and vacation libations—suffers from a bad reputation, often coming off as sickly-sweet and unsophisticated. Now a company in Hollister is out to change all that at California’s first-ever sangria tasting room.

Epicenter Wine Room, home to the Seizmic Sangria label, opened in March in the newly designated walking district of downtown Hollister. It’s situated at 620 San Benito Street, just down the block from two popular local restaurants, Fisher’s and the Running Rooster, and across the street from Farmhouse Café, San Benito Bene, and Heavenly Bakery.

So far, says owner Diane Castaneda, the response has been even better than she hoped it would be. The wine room, open Wednesday through Sunday, features her sangrias along with a selection of wine and craft … Read More

Continue Reading ·


As organic food becomes more widely available, CSAs struggle to survive

Photos at Live Earth Farm this page courtesy of the farm; opposite, photo at Monkeyflower Ranch by Julie Cahill

It’s hard to believe that I had never eaten a rutabaga until recently. In fact, I had never eaten beets, turnips or parsnips—ungainly root vegetables that are transformed into sweet, savory goodness when roasted with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. I had no idea what I was missing, until I joined a CSA.

CSAs—short for Community Supported Agriculture—are particularly good at coaxing their customers into trying produce that they never would have attempted otherwise. You could say that CSAs have turned several generations on to the wonders of chard, fennel and other worthy vegetables that were not … Read More

Continue Reading ·

Coffee, Cycling and Conversation Converge at Monterey Cafe

February 27, 2018 – It was in Italy that Peterson and Wendy Conway had a coffee epiphany. During a six-month globetrotting trip with their two daughters, they discovered the pleasures of cycling to a neighborhood café and sitting with an espresso at a favorite table, where they got to know the servers, the patrons, their families, and a whole way of life that revolves around coffee.

Now they’re intending to bring this Italian way of life to a little corner near downtown Monterey—but mixed with a coffee roasting style that hails from the land Down Under, and a homegrown philosophy of unplugging and reconnecting.

The new coffee house at 398 Franklin Street in Monterey might seem odd at first glance—squeezed in between auto body shops and other industrial buildings—but it’s … Read More

Continue Reading ·

EcoFarm 2018 Digs Deep Into the Soil

December 12, 2017 – As any farmer can tell you, it all begins with the soil. And that’s the focus of EcoFarm Conference 2018, coming up in the last week of January: renewing and regenerating the ground beneath our feet.

The 38th annual conference at Asilomar, Jan. 24-27, will focus on what is called regenerative agriculture, a recent and growing movement that combines time-honored practices of caring for the soil with new science that proposes to rebalance the global carbon cycle and slow climate change. And the theme, “Sow Good,” nods to the impact that farmers can make in aiding the environment.

This year, workshops on the elements of healthy soil, how to create it, and how to put carbon back into soils are an essential part of … Read More

Continue Reading ·