Tag Archives: sustainable

Farm-to-Fork organic benefit dinner for UC Santa Cruz scholarships

Produce from the UCSC Farm & Garden for sale at the Market Cart

An organic, gourmet Farm-to-Fork field dinner on Sunday, September 9 benefits scholarships for UC Santa Cruz’s farm apprentice program. If you’d like to skip straight to the appealing menu, see end of this article.

The event takes place at the UCSC Farm (located on campus at 1156 High St.) and celebrates the work of the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS). All proceeds will support scholarships for participants in the CASFS Apprenticeship training of new organic farmers and gardeners – officially the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture program. Tickets cost $125; purchase online. For more information, call (831) 459-3240 or email casfs@ucsc.edu.

This is the 2nd annual Farm-to-Fork dinner, and it begins at 3 p.m. with a reception and farm tour. A 5-course dinner (including vegetarian entrée option) follows at 4 p.m., created with organic ingredients from the UCSC Farm & Garden and other local farms and ranches. See menu below. The tour includes access to gardens, fields, greenhouses, and orchards of the 25-acre farm.

The event, which is partly sponsored by Edible Monterey Bay and Slow Food Santa Cruz, also includes a silent auction and a preview of selections from the Fall Plant Sale, which takes place at UCSC on September 14 and 15.

Dinner will be prepared and served by students in the Apprenticeship program under the direction of a team consisting of program alumni. These alumni include Chef Matthew Raiford (he graduated last year and is Executive Chef, Little St. Simons Island Resort), Amy Padilla (Feel Good Foods organic catering), and Fran Grayson (Ristorante Avanti and The Truck Stop).

The internationally known Apprenticeship Program at UC Santa Cruz has trained over 1,400 organic farmers and gardeners during the last 45 years. Many have started their own training and apprenticeship programs on farms and at urban agriculture projects.

CASFS manages the 2-acre Alan Chadwick Garden and the 25-acre Farm at UCSC, which are both open to the public. Both sites are managed using organic production methods and serve as research, teaching, and training facilities for students, staff, and faculty. CASFS is committed to increasing ecological sustainability and social justice in the food and agriculture system.


Grilled Companion Bakeshop Sourdough with Tomatoes and Padron Peppers
Cucumber with Poke and Radish Sprouts
Artisan Cheeses with Plumline’s Tangerine and Bearss Lime Marmalades, Farm & Garden Apples and Walnuts
Roasted Poblano and Sweet Corn Gazpacho Shooter

Arugula & Endive with Peaches, Chèvre and Toasted Almonds
Cherokee Tomato & Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Drizzle

Lavender and Lemon Ice

Chicken Grilled with Padron Peppers & CASFS Honey
Polenta & Ratatouille (vegetarian)
Quinoa Prima Vera (vegan)

Chadwick Garden Apple Tart with Sweet Caramel Ice Cream

Dinner will be accompanied by wine from Bonny Doon Vineyard and other vintners

Some featured items in the silent auction: a private tour of the Grateful Dead Archives at UCSC’s McHenry Library led by Archivist Nicholas Merriwether, a guided tour of Big Sur’s Big Creek Reserve led by Reserve Manager Mark Readdie, a mountain lion tracking session with Environmental Studies professor Chris Wilmers, and garden and orchard consultations by Farm & Garden managers Orin Martin and Christof Bernau.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Santa Cruz Edible Gardens Tour with tomato tasting and more

Tomatoes that are featured in a tomato tasting during the Santa Cruz Edible Gardens Tour

The first (hopefully 1st annual) Santa Cruz Edible Gardens Tour is happening this Saturday, August 25, and it sounds like a fabulous event. It’s only $10 and it includes 16 gardens across town. Once you buy a ticket, you receive a map showing each garden. The Eastside and Midtown gardens are open from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. while the Westside gardens are available to visit from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. The event culminates with a gathering at the Odonata Wines tasting room (2343 Mission Street).

Buy tickets online. Tickets will also be available Saturday at the Live Oak Grange (1900 17th Ave). For more information call (831) 207-6069.

Some of the gardens are at private residences, while others are at schools and different venues including Homeless Garden Project’s farm on Shaffer Road. Selected gardens will have different activities such as demonstrations, workshops, and discussions. One home gardener promises a delicious tomato tasting in addition to a poetry reading. Whether you go to just one garden or a dozen, you’re bound to learn something about sustainability and have fun at the same time!

The tour is organized by Slow Food Santa Cruz, an active chapter of Slow Food USA. According to its web site, Slow Food SC is “a diverse group of food enthusiasts with a curiosity about food traditions and heritage and local artisanal products.” You can read more about this dynamic group on the site www.slowfoodsantacruz.com. For more information contact info@slowfoodsantacruz.com.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

H&H Fresh Fish provides sustainable seafood to Santa Cruz and Greater Bay Area

Dish with H&H Fresh Fish

Seabass from H&H Fresh Fish cooked by the author with spinach, mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, bacon, and more

Santa Cruz-based H&H Fresh Fish offers sustainable seafood to customers in Santa Cruz and the Greater Bay Area. Folks can choose to get their extremely fresh fish via many methods; the main two are by making a weekly commitment and signing up for a subscription or by visiting a farmers’ market when the sustainable-seafood-craving strikes.

First, the weekly subscriptions:

These are similar to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The way H&H’s CSS (Community Supported Seafood) works?
Each week, members receive a cooler bag of sustainable fish by either 1) picking up the cooler at a designated drop-site or 2) having it delivered to their home or office. Members can choose between one or two meals per weekly delivery and can customize portions for exactly the number of servings they need.

I myself am a “one meal per week” subscriber and I receive a one-pound portion; the smallest size available is a single share for $10/week; this is approximately a half-pound. Recent fish I have savored include local halibut, local snapper, and local wild King Salmon. For the halibut, all I did was add olive oil and lemon and it was absolutely delectable. The week that I received the snapper, I made an easy and wonderful snapper taco recipe that H&H co-owner Heidi Rhodes had provided (the CSS started in June 2011 and at first members received hard copies of recipes each week; this process has now been streamlined into an online blog with recipes). In fact, I also used one of these online recipes with the salmon, creating a delicious cherry tomato salsa that complemented the fish perfectly. And just today (Tuesday, Aug. 21), I received local white seabass and used it to make a dish featuring ingredients like spinach, red onion, mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, and more (see photo above).

The CSS is available in many cities including Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Campbell, Santa Clara, Los Altos, and Los Gatos. To sign up, click here or go to http://csa.farmigo.com/join/hhfreshfish/css. If H&H’s CSS is not yet available in your city, click here to be put on a waiting list. The waiting list includes San Francisco.

If you pay ahead for a whole year instead of only paying for a month or half/full season (8 deliveries/16 deliveries), you receive a credit good at H&H’s online store. The amount of the credit depends on the portion size that you are reserving.

Next, the farmers’ markets:

H&H sells its sustainable, tasty fish at EIGHTEEN farmers’ markets each week (!). These include several in the Santa Cruz area, the Ferry Plaza and Stonestown in San Francisco, several in Oakland, plus Monterey, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto. Here is the full market schedule.

At the markets you’ll find both raw fish and ready-to-eat fish – the latter including smoked fish, Hawaiian-style poke, ceviche, oysters, and cooked Dungeness crab meat when in season.

Other information:

H&H seafood is now available as part of Westside bakery & café Companion Bakeshop’s menu on Thursday evenings. In July, Companion started “Taco Thursdays” from 5-8 p.m. by partnering with The Yam & Bean, a new personal chef and catering service. The Yam & Bean offers yam tacos and fresh fish tacos (featuring H&H fish), all made with handmade organic corn tortillas. You can eat your tacos inside the bakery, on the bakery patio outside, or next door at Odonata Wines. Learn about the experienced Y&B chef, David Stockhausen, here.

H&H would like to start doing weekly deliveries to offices in the South Bay. If you are interested and have an office with at least 10 people, email css@hhfreshfish.com or call (831) 461-1576.

As mentioned above, Heidi Rhodes is the co-owner of H&H. The other “H” is her life-and-business-partner Hans Haveman. Hans is a fisherman with decades of experience, and both Hans and Heidi are truly dedicated to providing local, sustainable and healthy seafood to all who desire it. They participate in many community events; just in the last few months they have brought their oyster bar to several beer and wine festivals and to an Edible Monterey Writers’ Dinner (the bar is also available for private catering events).

For more on the history of H&H, read my October 2011 overview article (note that the online form is out of date in that article; this article has current link).

Also visit H&H’s Facebook page for more info and photos.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz offers organic, farm-to-table benefit dinner with wine pairings

Attendees enjoying a previous “Sustain” dinner at HGP’s Westside Santa Cruz farm. Photo credit: Dana Forsberg

Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project (HGP) is holding an organic benefit dinner at its farm on Saturday, July 28, the latest in its “Sustain” series.

“Sustain” is a seasonal gourmet dinner series featuring organic produce from the farm, wine pairings, and guest speakers discussing sustainable topics. The admission fee, $55, benefits Homeless Garden Project – so you can have a great feast and enjoy good company while helping sustain HGP. Purchase tickets here (if you’d like a vegetarian meal, please specify that online). Read below for the menu.

This Saturday’s event is from 4-7 p.m. The family-style 3-course farm dinner will be prepared by Monterey Bay private chef Alyssa Twelker. Wine pairings, included in the $55 admission, are being provided by Hobo Wines. There will also be live classical guitar music performed by Carl Atilano. The guest speaker is Brendan Miele, Director of California Farming Operations at Jacobs Farm who will be talking about ‘Translating Sustainability Into Practice.’ For more information call 831.426.3609.

The setting is outdoors (the farm is located off Shaffer Road near the entrance to Seymour Center), so be sure to dress comfortably and bring a jacket. If you can’t make this Saturday’s event — or even if you can! — plan ahead for the next ones which are August 18th and September 15th (both from 4-7 p.m.).


First Course
Arugula, summer squash confit, cherry tomatoes, grilled corn, goat cheese and herb vinaigrette

Second Course
Fresh herb and edible flower crusted white fish with lemon-buttermilk mashed potatoes, braised greens and saffron cream
Vegetarian option: Grilled summer squash and torpedo onions with toasted bread crumbs and fresh herbs

Third Course
Zucchini lemon pound cake with strawberries and fresh whipped cream

Founded in 1990, HGP provides job training and transitional employment to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Some of the programs take place in its 2.5-acre organic farm, where trainees plant, grow and harvest. HGP also provides volunteer and educational opportunities for community members who want to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture and social justice, and operates a year-round gift shop.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

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

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Sand City’s The Independent Marketplace with organic produce, local meat and jam, food trucks, and more

Attendees at the debut of The Independent Marketplace in April 2012.
Photo credit: The Independent Marketplace Facebook page

There is a new monthly foodie event in Sand City — near Monterey — called The Independent Marketplace with organic produce and many independent food vendors plus drinks, music, and more. The July date is Thursday, July 5.

The first event was on April 5. The program occurs on the first Thursday of each month from 4-9 p.m. with rotating themes. Here are some details: it’s located at a building called “The Independent” which includes live/work spaces plus retail venues. Once a month it’s transformed to a market where inside, you can find organic produce, flowers, and plants; prepared foods such as jams; meat and fish from local ranchers and fishermen; crafts, and a kids’ area. Outside, there are hot food stands and food trucks. Plus, there is music, art, craft beer, and wine.

The July 5 installment has Americana as its theme (next month the theme is Santa Cruz). It features a “barbecue throwdown” between Carmel’s Bruno’s Market, Pacific Grove’s Aqua Terra Culinary, Castroville’s Central Texas BBQ, Monterey’s Kenny Wolf BBQ, and Spice It Up Catering and BBQ. Other specific vendors include Moto-Espresso Coffee Carts (serving coffee from their re-purposed Vespa, Penny Ice Creamery from Santa Cruz, and Sweet Elena’s Bakery & Café (selling pies).

For more information, check out The Independent’s Facebook page.

The Details
The Independent Marketplace
July 5th from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
(and the first Thursday of each month)
600 Ortiz Ave
Sand City

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Chef Brad Briske & butcher Chris LaVeque at Santa Cruz Downtown Farmers’ Market July 4

A vendor at the downtown Santa Cruz Farmers' Market

Local chef Brad Briske, whose experience includes cooking at Gabriella Café and Main Street Garden & Café, will be at a special event at the Santa Cruz Downtown Farmers’ Market on July 4, 2012.

The Farmers’ Market recently started a monthly food/farm education series called The Foodshed Project, and this Wednesday is the second event (Next month’s theme is Peach Party). Beginning at 3pm, Briske and butcher Chris LaVeque (of el Salchichero) will be presenting. The event includes grilled grass-fed mini burgers, and provides information on the importance of pasture-raised meats and eggs.

Briske currently teaches classes at Let’s Cook!, a cooking school in Soquel. These include Sausage Making 101 (using organic pork from local Fogline Farms), Succulent Steaks, and Chicken 101. Read my recent article on Let’s Cook! LaVeque’s background includes a degree from San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy, an apprenticeship with Severino’s Community Butcher, an internship at renowned Los Gatos restaurant Manresa, and positions at local restaurants Cellar Door (now Le Cigare Volant) and Gabriella Cafe.

This Wednesday’s hours are 1:30-6:30 p.m. (summer hours for the market). The expanded hours usually last until Thanksgiving week. Between Thanksgiving and the week after Daylight Savings Time, hours are shortened to 1:30-5:30 p.m.

The Details
Santa Cruz Downtown Farmers’ Market special food/farm event
Wednesday, July 4, 2012, 3 p.m.
Cedar & Lincoln Streets (one block off Pacific, behind Logos/Toadal Fitness)

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Farm to Table dinners with organic food & local wine at Chaminade in Santa Cruz: June 29 menu enclosed

Attendees enjoying a Farm to Table Chaminade dinner in June 2011

This summer, Chaminade Resort & Spa hosts the 4th Annual Farm to Table Wine Dinner Series. The Friday evening series began on June 1 and it lasts until October; the next dinner is June 29 (see menu below). There will be seven dinners in all, each one prepared by Executive Chef Beverlie Terra and featuring fresh, seasonal offerings from local farms plus wine from the Monterey Bay region.

The cost is $80 per person plus tax and gratituity, and this includes a five-course gourmet meal plus endless wine. The setting is Chaminade’s outdoor terrace which has wonderful views.

Each event begins with a reception at 6 p.m. where wine and appetizers are served. Dinner follows at 6:30 p.m. For reservations, call (831) 475-5600. For more on the series, including future dates and featured wineries and farms, see Chaminade’s Farm to Table web site. Event attendees are encouraged to chat with the local winemakers and farmers at these special dinners.

The featured winery for the June 29 dinner is Kathryn Kennedy Winery; featured farms are High Ground Organics and Field to Feast. Watsonville’s High Ground Organics is an organic family farm focused on growing flavorful, nutritious vegetables and fruits including kale, cauliflower, lettuce, and strawberries. Field to Feast distributes natural grass-fed beef and lamb, line-caught tuna, estate-grown olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar and other items.

The June 29 menu will include Sformatini, Heirloom Tomatoes and Meyer Lemon Relish with housemade pesto and a baby arugula salad; Burrata and Roast Beet Salad with honey drizzle; Braised Beef and Roast Wild Vegetables and Potatoes, and Honey Lavender Goat Cheesecake with Blueberries.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

The Details

Farm to Table Dinner (second in series of seven)
June 29, 2012
6 p.m. reception, 6:30 p.m. dinner
Terrace Patio at Chaminade Resort, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz 95065
(831) 475-5600
$80 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

Cooking for Solutions 2012 at Monterey Bay Aquarium with 70 chefs, 60 wineries

This weekend's Cooking for Solutions benefits Monterey Bay Aquarium's unique Seafood Watch

Monterey Bay Aquarium is holding its annual Cooking for Solutions on May 18-20, 2012. The three-day event supports the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, which empowers seafood consumers and businesses to make choices for healthy oceans. Browse the fabulous Seafood Watch web site — a wealth of resources.

Cooking for Solutions includes a variety of events, beginning with a sold-out gala on Friday night. Several events on Saturday and Sunday are also sold out, but there are some that you can still attend, and event organizers invite you to “savor sustainability” with more than 70 chefs and 60 wineries.

One highlight of the weekend is the all-day sustainable foods information fair, held both Saturday and Sunday in the aquarium galleries and on the Great Tide Pool deck. This is a bargain – it’s included with regular Aquarium admission! It features a Whole Foods Marketplace and a Kids’ Zone, too. You can learn about sustainable seafood, organic agriculture, and “earth-friendly winemaking” at various information booths. Local growers and food artisans will be present to speak with you, and you can attend “talk and taste” demonstrations with culinary experts on the deck. See cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs including Sam Choy, chat with the Whole Foods Market Seafood Team to get tips on selecting and preparing seafood, and learn about local olive oil, produce, cheese, honey, ice cream and other treats. Want more? Visit chef Hákon Már Örvarsson at his station and taste samples of Icelandic seafood.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Santa Cruz Homeless Garden Project events: Cigare Volant dinner/film, & kale festival

Homeless Garden Project's farm in Westside Santa Cruz, the site of Sunday's Kalefest

Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project is hosting two events this week: “Dinner and a Movie” at Le Cigare Volant on Tuesday, and “Kalefest” on Sunday.

Dinner and a Movie
Dinner and a Movie, part of HGP’s Sustain dinner series, sounds like a unique and wonderful evening. The event begins at 6pm Tuesday April 24 at Bonny Doon Vineyards’ Le Cigare Volant restaurant (formerly Cellar Door) in Westside Santa Cruz. Dinner features organic leeks, green garlic, chard, edible flowers and strawberries grown in HGP’s training program; the entrée will be arctic char. The movie is “Happy,” an award-winning documentary that “…leads viewers on a journey across five continents in search of the keys to happiness.” The film addresses issues like how to balance the allure of money, fame and social status with needs for strong relationships, health and personal fulfillment.
Purchase tickets – which include two glasses of BDV wine, 2010 Clos De Gilroy & 2009 Vigonier (made using biodynamically farmed grapes) – in advance for $25 online, or $35 at the door.

Kalefest was originally scheduled for March 31, but had to be rescheduled to Sunday April 29 due to storms. It’s from 12-4pm at HGP’s Natural Bridges Farm; the $5 admission (kids are free) gets you a “Kale Kit” (passport to demos and workshops, tickets for voting, and Kalefest button).

At the festival, guests will enjoy hourly farm tours, gardening workshops, a raffle, and cooking demos. In addition, there will be live music, a “kids’ kale kingdom” including art activities, and lots of food and refreshments including a beer garden with Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery and Boulder Creek Brewery beverages. Food includes India Joze items from 12-3 p.m. and The Truckstop goodies from 3-4 p.m. There will also be two contests: one for “best bunch of kale” and one for “best kale recipe” — top recipes will be featured in HGP’s upcoming cookbook.

Below is a schedule showing selected activities; for more information including directions to the event, click here.

Cooking Demos & Workshops

12:30 p.m. – Oai Phan, Santa Cruz Zen Center and volunteer cook at HGP
1:30 p.m. – Forrest Cook, Farm Manager at HGP
2:30 p.m. – Jamie Shields, Food Service Director at Santa Cruz City Schools

Gardening Workshops

1 p.m. – Benefits of soil fertility with Brian O’Toole
2 p.m. – Kale nutrition with David Stockhausen
3 p.m. – Kale planting and Q&A with David Stockhausen and Mike Erickson

Recipe contest – entries accepted 12 – 1:30 p.m. Winners announced 2:30 – 3 p.m.
Kale bunch contest – entries accepted until 1 p.m. Ribbons placed on “Best in Show” by 2:30 p.m.

Founded in 1990, HGP offers many programs – some of which take place in a 2.5-acre organic farm. The organization also operates an organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program) from May-October. Get more details on the CSA (I highly recommend it!) at HGP’s web site.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie

Dinner and a Movie at Le Cigare Volant
: 328 Ingalls Street, Santa Cruz
Kalefest: HGP Natural Bridges Farm, the intersection of Shaffer Road and Delaware