Tag Archives: Second Harvest Food Bank

Santa Cruz Foodie Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Local gifts, part 1

Baker’s Bacon offers holiday gift options including this subscription box.
Photo courtesy of Baker’s Bacon.

It is holiday shopping season: with lots of local businesses struggling during the pandemic, I wanted to spread the word about as many as I can, especially for food-related gifts for foodies in your life. Let’s all shop local this year!

I’m going to publish a few articles as the weeks go on. I will be publishing about Santa Cruz County and nearby, including a few Monterey County businesses.

Rocky Road from Mamma Camps Creative Confections earned first place awards at the 2019 Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County Fairs. You can order this treat plus other confections like chocolate-covered cherry mice and family-sized chocolate peanut butter cups—all handmade by Jen Campagnolo—at her Etsy store @mammacamps or via her FB group (author’s note: when this was first published Jen was going to be at this weekend’s Holiday Sip & Shop Market at the Chaminademore details below – but she is now unable to attend). The treats were first made by Jen’s grandmother; recipes were passed from her to Jen’s aunt and then to Jen, who has made slight adjustments to a few ingredients. Jen is a Live Oak local. I haven’t met Jen in person, but we are both elementary school parent volunteers and participated in the same Zoom call recently. One of the other attendees ordered some Rocky Road and gushed about how great it was last holiday season—that’s how I first learned that Jen is a talented candy-maker. Follow her on IG @mammacampschocolates.

Holiday Sip & Shop Market at the Chaminade: Saturday, Nov. 28, 1-5 p.m.

This open-air holiday market features local artisans with both food-related (like honey from Santa Cruz Bee Company) and non-food-related gifts (candles, jewelry, prints, and more, including skin care from Spa at Chaminade). Admission is complimentary for browsing and shopping, and there will be wine, cookies and small bites available for purchase. There are also two 90-minute fee-based classes if you’d like to learn to make a holiday wreath or centerpiece for yourself or to give as a gift. Tickets are limited in order to enforce social distancing; advance purchase is required through event site. Cost is $50 per class or both for $85 and $10 from each ticket benefits Second Harvest Food Bank. Chaminade Resort & Spa, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz, (831) 475-5600.

Also this weekend is the 7th Annual Santa Cruz Mountains Holiday Makers Market: Friday & Saturday, Nov. 27-28, 10am-4pm.

This year organizers are spreading the market out over two days to accommodate for social distancing. Masks are required for entry and a limited number of shoppers will be allowed in the building at one time. Admission is free. There are different artists and craftspeople featured each day, and it’s at Felton Community Hall (6191 Highway 9). Vendors will include Ashby Confections, Bee Happy Today, Big Paw Olive Oil, California Jam Queen, and Coastside Homegoods. Visit scmmakersmarket.com/scm-holiday-makers-market for full list (including who is there on each day) and more details.

Finally, if you have any bacon lovers you’re shopping for, here is some great news. Baker’s Bacon is a scrumptious, artisan product made by Monterey County chef Tony Baker. I have been a Tony Baker fan for a long time, having dined at Monterey’s Montrio Bistro back when he was executive chef. The England native launched his bacon company in 2011, and for many years he only sold to high-end restaurant chefs across the county. Now, he is selling bacon to consumers through his website bakersbacon.com and through his retail shop in Marina. There are subscription options and gift boxes perfect for the holidays.

Baker’s Bacon is offered in two styles, British-style Uncured Back Bacon and Dry-Cured Double-Smoked Bacon. It’s made in small batches at a California smokehouse with sustainably raised heritage breed pork (the pigs are from family-owned Iowa farms). I had the pleasure of receiving complimentary samples, and I can say with confidence this is high-quality, delicious bacon.

Gift boxes, with three bacon packages, are $42 plus shipping (anywhere in the country). Subscription boxes, with eight bacon packages, are $95 including shipping (for these, states are limited). If you decide to shop at the Marina retail location (445 Reservation Rd. Suite G, 831-250-0606, weekdays only), note that they also carry products like Santa Cruz County’s Rogue Pyes (frozen) and packaged dinner kits like “everything you need to make pasta Alfredo with bacon.”

Please email tara@santacruzfoodie.com if you have information to share, or corrections, for future articles.

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Give to the hungry this holiday season

I write a lot about food, and know that those of you reading my articles are “foodies” – this holiday season, let’s remember those who do not get enough food! How about donating to people in need, like those struggling with hunger (which is 1 in 8 people). Here’s an opportunity to double your impact:


I recently discovered Wells Fargo Bank has donated $4 million to Feeding America, and announced they are matching up to $1 million in additional donations (that come from ordinary people like you and me) through Dec. 31, 2018. Even if you can’t donate much, every single dollar helps. And with Feeding America, $1 equals 10 meals. You can donate at a local Wells Fargo bank branch (even through the ATM) or donate online. The money will be matched, and for those donating in Santa Cruz County, it will be given to Second Harvest Food Bank (the first food bank in California and the second oldest in the nation). I love the fact that more than 60% of the food Second Harvest distributes is fresh produce! I learned that on the web site, in addition to being reminded that Second Harvest reaches 55,000 people each month. These are kids, seniors, veterans, homeless, and others.


I hope you join me in supporting this important cause!


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Saturday’s Taste of Soquel benefits Second Harvest

Bill and Dee Hongmanee of Sawasdee at a previous “A Taste of Soquel” event

The ninth annual “A Taste of Soquel,” benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank, takes place in the courtyard of the Congregational Church of Soquel Saturday, Sept. 23, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be lots of food, drinks and music at this family-friendly festival.


Attendees can enjoy food from restaurants and vendors HOME, The Kitchen at Discretion, El Chipotle Taqueria, Café Cruz, Bella Chi-Cha, Jeff Walls’ Family Honey, Aldo’s Italian Bakery, and Sawasdee Thai Cuisine. There will be fresh cider from Everett Family Farm, beer and wine from Discretion Brewing, Soquel Vineyards, Bargetto Winery, Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery, VinoCruz, Wargin Wines and Poetic Cellars.

See menu details  below.


There will be lots of live music, including The Carolyn Sills Combo and “members of the EXPENDABLES Unplugged.” Complimentary coffee will be served by The Ugly Mug, plus tea, lemonade, and more from The Bagelry, Driscoll’s and Donut Station. A kids’ area will feature free activities such as singing with Musical Me, face painting, drumming, art with CherryVale Art Farm, inflatable archery with Kennolyn Camp, and crafts with Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery. More than 50 local businesses participate in the raffle, featuring prizes such as store and restaurant gift certificates.


Tickets are $25 for adults (includes music, food, wine) and $10 for youth 12-20 (includes music, food). Kids under 12 are free. Call 831-475-2867 for details. Advance tickets are available at the church or online www.brownpapertickets.com.


During the past eight years the event has raised over $62,000, providing 250,000 healthy meals to families in need in Santa Cruz County. The Congregational Church of Soquel and the Capitola/Soquel Chamber of Commerce co-sponsor A Taste of Soquel. Learn more at tasteofsoquel.org.


A few selections at Taste of Soquel 2017

Aldo’s: Tiramisu and Lemoncello Bites; Assorted cookies

Bella Chi-Cha: Pesto Sauce; Cheese Spread

The Kitchen at Discretion: Sourdough Crostini, Strawberry Gastrique, Fresh Herbed Ricotta, Pickled Red Onions

Sawasdee: Papaya Salad; Orange Chicken Thai

El Chipotle: Fresh Chips, Guacamole and Red Salsa

Jeff Walls’ Family Honey: Sample honeys from a variety of floral sources their bees have worked including Soquel-Wildflower, Sage, Buckwheat, Pumpkin-Squash, Lima Bean, Tocalote Thistle & Vanilla (infused) Sage while checking out the observation hive where you can see the inner workings of a hive.


Bargetto                        Merlot and Pino Grigio

Soquel Vineyards       Trinity Rosso & Trinity Bianco

Hunter Hill                      2014 Merlot & 2013 Chardonnay

Poetic Cellars                2012 Cab Sauvignon & 2010 Pinot Noir

Wargin Wines               Sangiovese & Pinot Gris

Everett Family Farm      Soquel Cider


Location: Congregational Church of Soquel, 4951 Soquel Dr., Soquel


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New Leaf offers birthday discounts & party plus employees get raises

Limited edition “Dirty 30” ice cream from New Leaf & Mission Hill Creamery

Limited edition “Dirty 30” ice cream from New Leaf & Mission Hill Creamery

New Leaf Community Markets is celebrating its 30th birthday with lots of discounts through Sunday, Oct. 25, at its stores in Santa Cruz, Capitola, Half Moon Bay and Pleasanton. Also, the Westside store will hold a community block party on Saturday, Oct. 24. Visit Visit New Leaf’s 30-year anniversary site  for details on events and promotions.

Discounts & More
Through Sunday, there are 30 different product lines being sold at 30% off—choices vary each day. There are three or four on each weekday, and 14 Saturday/Sunday specials. For Oct. 20, selections on sale included packages of fresh pasta and ravioli from Pasta Mike and raw organic sauerkraut from Farmhouse Culture (both wonderful Santa Cruz area companies). Thursday’s discount items will include all bulk items except for coffee, tea, and herbs. The weekend deals include all New Leaf-brand cheese, organic local apples, and Talenti gelato.

The store created a few fun “30th anniversary exclusive products” including limited edition stainless steel pint cups (Klean Kanteen produced them) and a limited edition “Dirty 30” ice cream made by local Mission Hill Creamery. Only 1,000 pints of this delicious-sounding dessert are being made. It features organic vanilla MHC ice cream made with Straus Family Creamery dairy as the base, infused with a generous caramel swirl made with organic ingredients. The ice cream is blended with deluxe rich chocolate cake donated by Black China Bakery (a family-owned wholesale bakery in Santa Cruz), and chocolate Newman-Os, chocolate cream-filled cookies made with organic flour and organic sugar by Aptos-based Newman’s Own.

Birthday Party
New Leaf’s birthday party, 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Westside New Leaf (1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz), has free admission. It features music by The McCoy Tyler Band and the Painted Horses band, an in-store tasting fair, kids’ arts and crafts, and lots of food and drinks for sale. Food vendors include Uncie Ro’s, Mission Hill Creamery, Beckmann’s Bakery, and Farmhouse Culture. Drink vendors include Uncommon Brewers, Bonny Doon Vineyard, and Hallcrest Vineyard. Proceeds benefit Second Harvest Food Bank, a longtime New Leaf partner. If you donate a can of food to SHFB during the party, you’ll get a free raffle ticket (prize to be announced).

History and recent news
New Leaf has accomplished a lot over the years. When their very first store opened, it stocked produce from local Route 1 Farms—and Route 1 vegetables are still found at New Leaf today (in the regular produce bins and in the store’s popular, ready-to-eat Coastal Kale Salad). This is just one of the many local produce growers that New Leaf carries. In 2002, New Leaf became the first retail partner with non-profit marine conservation organization FishWise and launched a sustainable seafood labeling program.

In 2013, Portland-based New Seasons Market purchased New Leaf Community Markets. New Seasons was the first grocer in the world, and New Leaf the second, to become certified B Corporations, which recognize businesses that meet the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility. In late September 2015, New Leaf announced that effective January 1, 2016, it’s increasing the starting wage for all store staff from $10.30 to $12/hour. The pay rate for any staff whose rate falls below the new scale will move to the scale’s minimum, and any staff who have been with the company for more than two years will receive an additional adjustment based on tenure.
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Santana Row Holiday Wine & Dine benefits Second Harvest Food Bank

Santana Row is hosting a holiday wine & shopping event

Santana Row is hosting a holiday wine & shopping event

Santana Row shops and restaurants are offering a fun holiday event over four Tuesdays in December, and you have two more opportunities before it’s over.

The “Holiday Wine & Dine Around” is Dec. 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. Participants can enjoy complimentary wine and food tastings, plus shopping discounts, inside several Santana Row shops and restaurants.

Tickets are $15 and proceeds benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. The ticket price also includes a signature Santana Row wine glass. If you donate canned food when you purchase your ticket, you receive a $2 discount (this is when you buy in person through the Santana Row Concierge; note these tickets are cash only). Tickets are also available at SantanaRow.com. If you pre-purchase your ticket, go to the walkway between Left Bank and Sino Restaurant after 5:45 p.m. the night of the event to complete your registration.

You must be 21 years or older to attend. For more information, call the Santana Row Concierge at (408) 551-4611.

Santana Row, which features 70 shops and 20 restaurants, is located near Stevens Creek and Winchester Boulevards.

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Two Santa Cruz area food events this weekend: A Taste of Soquel & Sausagefest

scmb aleI want to share the news about two fun food events this weekend that benefit great causes: A Taste of Soquel Saturday (late morning through the afternoon) and Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing’s Sausagefest Sunday afternoon. More details are below; remember that Saturday is also the always-wonderful festival “Gourmet Grazing” that benefits Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group. Read details in my Sept. 11 article.

A Taste of Soquel: Saturday, Sept. 27, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
The sixth annual “A Taste of Soquel,” benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank, takes place in the courtyard of the Congregational Church of Soquel (4951 Soquel Drive). The theme is “Food & Music for the Common Good.” Read more about the Food Bank at thefoodbank.org.

There will be lots of live music, including Nina Gerber & Chris Webster headlining at 12:25, and the Steve Abrams Latin Jazz Quartet “Chile Con Soul.”

Attendees can enjoy food from restaurants and vendors such as:
Café Cruz, Carpo’s, Fogline Farm, Jeff Walls’ Family Honey, Fish Lady, Aldo’s Bakery, The Kitchen at Discretion Brewing, and Sawasdee

Plus, beer and wine from:
Discretion Brewing, Soquel Vineyards, Bargetto Winery, and Hunter Hill Vineyard & Winery

There will also be coffee from the Ugly Mug, plus tea, lemonade, water, and more from The Bagelry and Donut Station. A kids’ area will feature free activities such as miniature golf, crafts, and dancing. More than 60 local businesses participate in the raffle, featuring prizes such as Weber BBQs from Home Depot; gift certificates from Tortilla Flats, El Chipotle, The Little People’s Store, and Safeway; and a produce basket from Everett Family Farm.

Tickets are $25 for adults (includes music, food, wine) and $10 for youth 12-20 (includes music, food). Kids under 12 are free. Call 831-475-2867 or see ccsoquel.org for details. Advance tickets are available at the church or at www.brownpapertickets.com.

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing’s Sausagefest: Sunday, Sept. 28, 1-4 p.m.

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is hosting the 8th annual Sausagefest which includes sausage from vendors el Salchichero, Freedom Meats and Corralitos Market, and homemade sauerkrauts, relishes, pickles, and mustards. Additional food will be available from vendors including Buttercup Cakes, Penny Ice Creamery, Companion Bakeshop, and Firely Coffee House.

There will also be lots of organic ale from SCMB, plus beverages from locals including Santa Cruz Cider Co., Uncommon Brewers, and Hallcrest Vineyards. San Francisco punk/polka band Polkacide is performing for the second consecutive year.

The festival has an admission fee of $10 for adults and teens, and it’s free for kids under 12. Food and beverages will be for sale; event proceeds benefit Friends of Santa Cruz Parks. There will be “Radical Redwood Rootbeer” and other non-alcoholic drinks, and some kids’ activities.

Buy tickets at the SCMB taproom, Discretion Brewing, 99 Bottles of Beer, or online at eventbrite.com. Doors open at 12:30pm and the event is at the location of the Westside Farmers Market at the corner of Mission Street Extension and Western Drive. Call 831-425-4900 or see scmbrew.com for details.
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Second Harvest Food Bank hosts holiday food drive kickoff lunch in Santa Cruz

Second Harvest Food Bank invites you to “Set a Plate for Kate”

Second Harvest Food Bank is having a kickoff lunch for its annual holiday food drive  on Nov. 13 in Santa Cruz. The event is at the Cocoanut Grove from 11:30a.m. – 1p.m. The lunch will be a buffet, and the program will include the event’s co-chairs speaking about why they are involved with Second Harvest. Tickets are $25; purchase online. For more information, email bly@thefoodbank.org or call (831) 722-7110, x226.

People are encouraged to attend this lunch to find out how they can help this holiday season. Distribution at Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County has increased by 32% in the last five years. Second Harvest needs donations of time, money, and food – what a great way to give back this holiday season!

Second Harvest Food Bank (831-722-7110, located in Watsonville) distributes several million pounds of food per year to local families, children, individuals and seniors in our community through over 180 agencies and programs. The organization helps 55,000 people each month. You can donate online — every $1 you give becomes four healthy meals that Second Harvest can distribute, and these meals include fresh fruits and vegetables.

Founded in 1972, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County was the first food bank in California and is the second oldest in the nation. It began by distributing food from a parking lot in Santa Cruz to groups operating the Breakfast For Kids programs.

Second Harvest’s current campaign is themed “Set a Plate for Kate.” The campaign messaging includes the idea that if certain people gave up their “luxury items” even for one day, a lot of hungry people could be fed. For example, by skipping a $5 latte you could purchase 20 meals for Second Harvest, and instead of going out to a $50 restaurant dinner, if you gave the money to Second Harvest this would provide 200 meals! That is some serious food for thought.

Event details:

  • Second Harvest Holiday Food Drive Kickoff Lunch, Nov. 13 11:30a.m. – 1p.m.
  • Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz 95060


Santa Cruz’s Soif has 10th anniversary party with waiters race, food, and music

Soif chef Santos Majano at the weekly Wednesday downtown Santa Cruz farmers’ market

Santa Cruz’s Soif, a great restaurant and wine bar, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a party from 1:30 – 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 5th.

The party commences outside Soif with a special “waiters race.” Live music by Hot Club Pacific (the band plays gypsy jazz) will begin after the race is over, and delicious food from Soif – cooked by talented chef Santos Majano – will be available for purchase (details below). The Penny Ice Creamery is going to have a cart at the event, and wine will also be available.

You may wonder what a Waiters Race is. Here is an overview: eight teams, each representing a different restaurant, are competing. Team entry fees (a $100 gift certificate from each restaurant) will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank for auction at their September fundraiser.

There will be several races, each with two teams battling each other to start. The winning team will need to win three races to become champion. The teams will have to perform tasks including traversing an obstacle course and balancing full glasses of water without spilling them. There are three judges, and I am honored to say that I have been selected as one of them. Teams will be judged on elements including speed, technical skills (posture, grace carrying tray, etc.), personal skills (communication with spectators, etc.), and uniform/grooming. The grand prize is a 5 Liter bottle of 2006 Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva. There will also be prizes for one runner-up team and “People’s Choice Team.”

Soif food available for purchase during 8/5 party:

1 – Ancho chili barbecue baby back ribs, summer corn, cherry tomato-cabbage salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette
2 – Honey-ginger glazed chicken wings, butter lettuce & grilled summer vegetable salad
3 – Bread Pudding w/ vanilla whipped cream & berries

Numbers 1 & 2 are $10 each, and number 3 is $5.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

105 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz
(831) 423-2020

Wine and dine in Santa Cruz with 12 restaurants & wineries at outdoor benefit

Wine from Surf City Vintners

Surf City Vintners is joining with Second Harvest Food Bank and a dozen local restaurants and food vendors for a party in Westside Santa Cruz on Saturday night. The second annual “Sunset at Surf City Vintners/Food & Wine Faire” benefits Second Harvest Food Bank. The goal is to raise enough funds for 9,600 meals for kids in Santa Cruz County who aren’t getting enough regular meals while they are out of school this summer.

It’s actually a two-night event: the first Food & Wine Faire is Saturday July 14 and the second one is being held August 18. Both are from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the parking lot near Copious Winery & Equinox at 427 Swift Street. Organizers refer to the event as a “dinner market…urban picnic…and community banquet.” See surfcityvintners.com for more information.

The wineries of Surf City Vintners (see list below) will be selling wine, and restaurants/food vendors will each sell their own dishes. There is no separate entry fee; you just pay for the specific foods and/or drinks you select. Choose food from sellers like Stagnaro’s, Uncle Ro’s Pizza, Café Iveta, Akira Sushi, Conscious Creations, Bruno’s BBQ and True Olive Connection. There will also be an oyster bar from H&H Fresh Fish (read more on H&H in my article). The restaurant Thai Orchid will participate on August 18, but not July 14.

Attendees are encouraged to “go sustainable” and bring their own plates, utensils, and wine glasses. The Cabrillo Jazz All Stars are providing live music.

Surf City Wineries

Bonny Doon Vineyard
Equinox Champagne
Rexford (formerly Hillcrest Terrace)
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard/Quinta Cruz
Silver Mountain
Sones Cellars
Trout Gulch
Vino Tabi

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A Taste of Soquel: Restaurants and wineries benefit Second Harvest Food Bank

Food booths from A Taste of Soquel in 2009. Photo credit: Hillary Nicholson

The third annual “A Taste of Soquel,” with plenty of food from local restaurants plus wine and music, will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. Last year’s Taste of Soquel raised enough money to provide meals for over 20,000 children in Santa Cruz County.

The event is Saturday, September 24 from 11am-4pm at the Congregational Church of Soquel. Local restaurants, wineries, and musicians are joining together for a very worthy cause. Adults pay $20 and receive a souvenir glass as well as food and wine tastings at all festival booths. Attendees ages 12-20 pay $10 and receive food booth tastings (there will be complimentary kids’ beverages). Kids under 12 are free. There will also be live music all day. For more information see event web site.

You can buy tickets at the door or in advance via the church (4951 Soquel Drive, Soquel, (831) 475-2867). There will be a raffle with more than 50 prizes from local businesses– these tickets will only be sold at the event. Prizes include gift certificates to Safeway, Little People’s Store, Aldo’s Bakery, and Home Depot and items from businesses such as Starbucks and Everett Family Farms.

Participating Soquel restaurants are Aldo’s, Carpo’s, El Chipotle, D’Anna’s Deli, The Fish Lady, Main Street Garden & Café, Sawasdee, Michael’s on Main and Tortilla Flats. Soquel’s Fogline Farm will also provide food. Participating local wineries are Bargetto Winery, Hunter Hill, Poetic Cellars, and Soquel Vineyards.

KPIG DJ Ralph Anybody is emceeing the live musicians: Celina and the C Monkeys, Farmer’s Market String Band, Brian Quinn Group, and Bryn Loosley & the Back Pages.

There will be children’s activities such as supervised games and crafts, face painting, and music. You’ll also want to stop by the hospitality table – it offers complimentary coffee, tea, lemonade, ice water, and food from the Bagelry and Donut Station.

The Details

A Taste of Soquel

Saturday September 24, 11am-4pm

Congregational Church of Soquel, 4951 Soquel Dr, Soquel, 95073 (in the courtyard – and there’s free parking)

$20 Adults, $10 Kids 12-20, under 12 free

Please follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.