In late June, I had the pleasure of visiting Soul Food Farm—an expansive 55-acre plot of pasture and farmland among the bucolic, rolling hills of Vacaville, California. Under the golden afternoon light, myself and others gathered around a beautiful, locally-grown meal for the first of a three-part dinner series on regenerative farming.
“Part of the consequences of a food system rife with anonymity is that you end up not knowing the stories and people behind the food. And unfortunately most of that story is rather problematic - industrial agriculture’s exploitation of animals, people, and the land…But we think the story could be really different, and we’re committed to telling that story…” – Jered Lawson
Organic practices abound at Frog Hollow Farm, a decision Farmer Al made in the late eighties as the organic movement gained momentum within the agricultural and scientific communities. “I always wanted to take care of the environment,” Al says, “I didn’t want to be polluting the soil, the air, or the groundwater with chemicals and I certainly didn’t want to pollute my own body or affect the health of the people eating the produce.”
The story starts with pigs. Well, not exactly––Mark Pasternak had grown up around horses during his childhood in Southern California. But in 1971, at the age of nineteen, he purchased a 65 acre plot of land in Nicasio, Marin County, North of San Francisco, to start a ranch of his own.
In September UC Davis Political Science student, Alyssa Chapman attended Food Tank's first FarmTank Summit. It was a full day of experiences that advanced conversations around access to healthy food and thoughtful discourse and education that could potentially improve our local food system.
If Bellingham, Washington is all you would expect of a small, blue-collar city, busy, chaotic, dense, nearby Lummi Island is everything the opposite, sleepy, calm, sparse. After a 15-minute ferry crossing, stepping off into another world rehydrated the senses.
Cochon555 & the launch of Piggy Bank: A Late-night Asian Speakeasy Pop-up in Culinary/Culture rich San Francisco
On October 14th, Chef Tu David Phu (formerly of Chez Panisse, Quince, Acquerello, and Daniel Boulud) and a handful of the Bay Area's top chefs for Cochon 555 hosted Asian Speakeasy Night in San Francisco. San Francisco’s young talent showcased their culinary skills, one dish at a time, to an entourage of 600+ guests.
Valentina Guolo-Migotto and her partners, Dario De Conti and Stefano Migotto were born and raised in Italy to families that impressed upon them early on the value of food and family. For Valentina these kinds of childhood experiences translated into a life-long passion for crafting delicious meals that bring people together.
We're in our final days collecting information from our Peak Plate surveys (farmers, food service providers & consumers) to lessen food waste across the food chain. Depending on where you fit in the food chain, we appreciate your time to take a short 11 questions (or less) survey.
Patagonia launches a new food line, Patagonia Provisions, showcasing Riley Starks' Reef-Net Caught Salmon
Farmhouse Culture was headlined at this year’s 36th EcoFarm Conference, with more than 1700 farmer attendees. They were one of three farms featured in a pre-conference farm tour lead by the EcoFarm Conference founder himself, Amigo Bob Cantisano.
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Peak Plate has been working on a solution to the sad dichotomy that 50% of America’s food is sent to the landfills, while 1 out of every 7 Americans go hungry. One speaker at the conference stood out on this issue, a West Coast food distributer responsible for tons of product per year.
CUESA’s Summer Celebration brought together the Bay Area’s best chefs, bartenders, wine makers, farmers and food lovers for an unforgettable evening last Sunday at San Francisco’s “Church of Food,” the majestic Ferry Building Marketplace.
The lavish walk-round feast showcased peak-season produce as its star. The abundance made for a full evening exploring the summer bounty of cucumbers and melons, berries, stone fruit, edible leaves and flowers, plus alliums; talking to the farmers, chefs and specialty food purveyor’s; and savoring their artfully crafted bites and cocktails. I left the event feeling nurtured and connected to this committed community of sustainable farmers, like-minded chefs and food lovers. Click on title to continue reading.
Every Saturday of the year, the San Francisco Ferry Building is alive with a magnificent farmer’s market. Camped in with the veggie, fruit, meat, fish, bread, flowers, food and coffee vendors is CUESA, the organization that manages the market. At their tent with seating for 100, CUESA produces and leads a weekly educational outreach focusing on sustainable foods allowing farmers to showcase their products and chefs to conduct cooking classes using the products of the market. Click title to continue reading.
Eighteen years can bring a whole heck of a lot of change. In 1998, I photographed Sam, Raph, and Mama Mogannam, family owners of Bi-Rite Market for Bon Appetit magazine. Just a few months ago, we met in the staff/test kitchen at the market, which Sam had built recently to provide his staff with a great meal at every shift. Bi-Rite Market has been a Mission District institution since it opened in 1940, and it has been in the Mogannam family since 1964. What was once a neighborhood bodega run by brothers Ned and Jack has matured into a nationally recognized family of sustainable businesses, with two neighborhood markets, a creamery, a farm, a catering operation, and their non-profit 18 Reasons, a community cooking school which empowers their community with the confidence and creativity needed to buy, cook and eat good food every day.
This week I was invited to learn about the agricultural work being done for our future at Grass Up!, one of many national think tank pop-ups lead by Organic Valley’s educational campaign to promote a more sustainable food future. Theresa Marquez, Organic Valley’s Mission Executive, invited an influential group of farmers, scientists, educators, and activists who are leading dynamic conversations about the benefits of sustainable farming for soil, pastures, produce, animals, people, and our planet.
Restaurateurs Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz have embraced sustainability with their new project The Perennial, with the long term goal of establishing "carbon neutrality as a new kind of value in the restaurant industry, along the lines of organic, local, an artisanal." Lead by chef Chris Kiyuna, The Perennial presents outstanding food and ecological responsibility at the same table. With community driven projects like a 2,000 ft aquaponic greenhouse, is The Perennial the future of the restaurant industry?
Our ecology is being dismembered for the sake of having fish on our plates. Yes, planet Earth is running out of fish simply because we've been taking them out of water faster than nature can put them back. Commercial fishing, which is excessive to say the least, is exploiting the earth’s aquaculture – and that directly impacts our food system, ecology, and marketplace. Thanks to people like Bill Foss and Kenny Belov, though, fish doesn't have to be wholly off the menu. The duo is responding to threats to our aquaculture with a vengeance.
We interviewed Bill and Kenny in August to write about Two X Sea. The duo wooed us with stories about the amazing taste of McFarland Springs Trout, so we met up again at FISH where the kitchen prepared a seasonal tasting menu of sustainable delights, including (of course) THE trout. It was incredible! There’s typically a line out the door of FISH and this day was no exception. The place was so packed we had to move to the back of the house to learn more about their end-to-end sustainability efforts.
Which brings us to our latest adventure. When we learned more about the McFarland Springs Trout farm we had to take a road trip to Susanville to see the operation in action.