To be honest, winter is not my favorite season. I’ll take the tender pea shoots of spring, the juicy apricots of summer or late harvest tomatoes in fall, over pumpkin pie and fruitcake any time. But our short winter in the Monterey Bay area is nothing to complain about. The weather is often glorious and the envy of the nation. Even the rainiest days provide a good opportunity to cozy up and do some serious cooking or baking. And, of course, it’s the season to gather with friends and family to celebrate the year that just flew right by and make plans for the year to come.
For our winter issue we’ve tried to pull together some of the treats that brighten these short days, starting with Dungeness crab! Like many Santa Cruzans, crab cioppino has been our traditional Christmas Eve meal for as long as I can remember. In this issue we introduce you to one of the fishermen, Calder Deyerle, who puts Dungeness crab on our tables, while Soif executive chef Tom McNary—a lifelong Dungeness lover—provides some new crab recipes to take you beyond the holidays.
Our other standout winter product is mushrooms, gathered in the forests after a soaking rain and cultivated year-round at Far West Fungi in Moss Landing, Monterey Mushrooms in Royal Oaks and Sumano’s Organic Mushrooms in San Juan Bautista. Chef John Cox shares the story of how his passion for mushrooms ignited in an instant in Big Sur and teaches us how to prepare and cook the different types of mushrooms we are so lucky to be able to enjoy in this area.
Winter is also the season for olio nuovo, fresh-pressed extra virgin olive oil, highly prized for its flavor and healthfulness. We meet Greg and Cindy Traynor, a couple who took an all-butabandoned family farm in San Ardo and, in just a few short years, transformed it into an awardwinning olive oil ranch and mill for local producers throughout the Central Coast.
Editor-at-large and EMB founder Sarah Wood tackles a subject she’s been wanting to write about for a long time, the trend towards organic food in the area’s ethnic restaurants. She explains why, despite public expectations that they provide a quick, economical meal, some of these family-run dining spots are taking a stand for organic.
In this issue we also introduce a new contributor, Jessica Tunis, with a moving essay on her theory that cooking for friends and family in need helps the cook as much as those receiving the act of kindness.
A truly talented team of writers, photographers and graphic designers worked to bring you this beautiful winter issue of EMB. Many thanks to them and to our dear advertisers who continue to champion and support this publication.
Wishing all of you a very happy holiday season!