Author Archive | Kathryn McKenzie

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

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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

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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

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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

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Decades after the Monterey Bay area established itself at the vanguard of the organic movement, consumer demand is spreading organic growing practices throughout the region

John Jeavons of Grow Biointensive, from the new film, Evolution of Organic, which tracks the history of the movement. Photo from the film Evolution of Organic courtesy of the filmmaker.


The exhibit halls at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel were full to bursting—so packed that it was hard to move, so noisy that you had to shout to be heard. And what lured these excited crowds from every part of the country? Organic produce! Room after room rolled out colorful displays featuring lettuce, zucchini, potatoes and mushrooms, herbs and tree fruit, ready-made salads and shredded veggies, as people swirled around the … Read More

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