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Celebrating San Diego’s local foods, season by season • No. 12 • Spring 2011

Jeff Jackson SDSU Embraces Sustainable Food Mountain Meadow Mushroom Farm Secret Suppers Cooking school with Deborah Madison Paul Ecke “Garden” School

spring 2011


Publishers’ Note 2 2 Publishers’ Note

Notable Edibles 3 3 Notable Edibles

In Season Interview: In Season Interview: Chef Patrick Ponsaty 8 7 Chef Jeff Jackson Liquid Assets: A Tale of Two Foodies 12 Warding off bad spirits 9 SDSU: Cultivating Farming in the Food Sustainability 15 Unlikeliest of places 14 Bootlegggers of Fine Food offer quite the Mix 22 Business is booming at Mountain Meadow Mushroom 24 World-Class Shopping at Balboa International Market 28

AnDrink eye onLocal the present 16 Eat Guide 30

Real American Cooking SchoolCheese 20 with Deborah Madison 32 Queen of cornucopias plays the markets—and An Elementary School is everyone wins 35 22 Becoming a garden

Down the Road 26 EatJust Drink Local Guide 36

Doing it Right: The Dog 31 Advertisers Directory 39

Edible SanFarmers’ Diego Gift Guide 41 32 Markets

How Sweet it is 34 Publishers’ Note 2 Eat Drink Local Guide 36 Notable Edibles 3 Advertisers Interview: In Season Directory 39 Chef Patrick Ponsaty 7 San Diego Faces Liquid Assets: Agricultural 40 Warding off bad spirits 9 Farmers’ Markets 41 Farming in the Unlikeliest of places 14

An eye on the present 16

Real American Cheese 20

Queen of cornucopias plays the markets—and everyone wins 22

Just Down the Road 26

Doing it Right: The Dog 31

Edible San Diego Gift Guide 32

How Sweet it is 34

c Pickles

Eat Drink Local Guide 36

Advertisers Directory 39

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San Diego Faces Agricultural Quarantine

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Farmers’ Markets 41

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Publishers’ Rant

Food and Consequences Feeding ourselves has become deceptively simple. We’re presented daily with, well, just about anything we want. Grocery store produce sections are uniformly bountiful wherever we go in the U.S., and whenever we go. The idea that fruits and vegetables are seasonal is irrelevant to the average consumer. And the cost? We spend less of our income on food than at any time in our history. Most consumers see this as a good thing. “Isn’t this cool? I can get blueberries in winter. They come from Chile! And they’re cheap!” But there is a cost, and it’s readily apparent when we look just beyond the surface.

CONTRIBUTORS Chris Costa Riley Davenport Dhanraj Emanuel Caron Golden Michelle Hackney Brandon Hernández Karen Kenyon Brook Larios Lauren Lastowka Mo Rafael Javier Ramos Diana Richardson Evan Ross Vincent Rossi Matt Steiger Britta Turner

The cost we pay at the checkout stand does not reflect the real cost of the industrialized global food system. There is the cost to the environment to transport food long distances; the cost of lost soil and pollution from industrial agriculture; the cost of impoverished farm workers; the burden an unhealthy population places on the healthcare system. Wwe are all paying the hidden costs that make our food cheap. These things don’t seem to have an immediate impact on our everyday lives and are for the most part easy to ignore. But the costs and consequences are there nonetheless. While we may not want to think about it, we already know more than we want to about what goes on in our out-of-control food system. We know obesity and diabetes are epidemic. We know our food supply isn’t always safe. We know we are losing farmland and topsoil at a rapid rate. We know our carbon footprint is huge. We’ve all seen distressing images of agricultural animal abuse. As Wendell Berry says, “eating is an agricultural act.” The simple truth is that every bite you eat came from some form of agriculture that has consequences in our world. But we can choose which consequences we want to participate in. Simple. You gotta eat. What’ll it be? Something that supports a healthy body, healthy planet, healthy local economy, or...whatever is cheap, easy, and readily available when we want it?

PUBLISHERS Riley Davenport John Vawter

EDITOR Lauren Lastowka

COPY EDITOR Doug Adrianson

Most of us do not want to delve too deeply into all the factors behind every bite we put in our mouths. We just want to trust that our food is safe and healthy for us and our world, that future generations will not suffer for our choices today and that animals, soil, and workers weren’t tortured in the process. If the question is whether I trust an agribusiness or a local farmer to have my best interests in mind, the answer is simple. Local farmer wins every time.

DESIGNER Riley Davenport

COVER PHOTO Dhanraj Emanuel Edible San Diego P.O. Box 83549 San Diego, CA 92138 619-222-8267

The good news is that people are learning that they have a contribution to make to the big picture by the simple act of eating consciously. Of knowing what the consequences of their food choices are and caring enough to choose to make a difference. One bite at a time.

ADVERTISING For information about rates and deadlines, call 619-222-8267 or email us at info@

Riley Davenport & John Vawter


Never miss a mouthwatering issue.


er of

Edible San Diego, P.O. Box 83549, San Diego, CA 92138


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ing San


food o’s local

s, season

by season

201 10 • Fall • No.

No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher. © 2011. All rights reserved. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If an error comes to your attention, please let us know and accept our sincere apologies. Thank you.




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Notable Edibles Here’s the Beef If you were trying to raise the best beef, there are a few things you might do. You would feed your cattle choice greens and veggies. You would check on them daily to make sure they were staying healthy. Instead of keeping hundreds of cattle on a few acres, you would keep a few cattle on hundreds of acres. And if you did all that and tried to sell your beef, you’d be in direct competition with Sage Mountain Farm. Phil Noble founded Sage Mountain in 2000, with a small plot in Aguanga. Now Sage Mountain encompasses hundreds of acres and supplies choice organic produce year round to restaurants, through a CSA and at farmers’ markets.

cattle everyday. Noble believes that the quality of his beef is directly proportional to the amount of care he puts into raising it. The good news for meat lovers is that Sage Mountain is now selling beef direct to the public. They began taking test orders in February and are moving into full swing this March. Customers can purchase meat by the pound, in increments ranging from five to 400 pounds, or as a monthly share in their CSA. Before you try to raise your own, talk to Phil. And check out —Matt Steiger

For the past nine years Noble has also raised high-quality beef, albeit just for his family and friends. His herd fluctuates between 10 and 30 cattle, and spends most of the year foraging on nearly 100 acres of certified organic wheat grass. During the drier months they are allowed to graze through fields of bolting broccoli and kale. Noble points out that “grass-fed” cattle are technically allowed to eat dry grains over the summer. His cattle are “green-fed,” eating fresh grass and veggies year-round. They are never given animal byproducts or hormones. He stresses that he has his hands on his

Young cattle grazing on wheat grass.

Cattle like cantaloup too. Here they are in the harvested cantaloup field.

Cowboy/farmer Phil Noble Photos: Dhanraj Emanuel spring 2011

edible San Diego


Notable Edibles Finding a Home for Wasted Food Merriam-Webster defines glean as 1: to gather grain or produce left by reapers, 2: to gather information bit by bit. I must admit that I only knew the second definition. However, gleaning is a very old tradition. Ancient civilizations used gleaning as an early form of welfare, encouraging farmers to leave a bit of food behind for the less fortunate to collect. Philip Dunn knows the original meaning of the word, and is striving to keep it relevant. Dunn is the founder of Harvesting San Diego, the newest project of SD Food Not Lawns. Their over-arching mission is food justice, or “improving access to healthy, local, seasonal produce for all people.” Harvesting San Diego gleans wasted fruit in the county and donates it to local food banks. Dunn is a three-time Olympian who lives and trains in San Diego. He was inspired while cycling through North Park last March, when he noticed an orange tree littering the ground with uneaten fruit. He began to contemplate the amount of wasted produce in our county and to look for a way to use it. Dunn called on his friends at Food Not Lawns, and Harvesting San Diego was formed. Harvesting SD has spent the last year canvassing the county for overloaded fruit trees. With the permission of the trees’ (often grateful) owners, Dunn and his volunteers harvest the fruit and donate it to the International Rescue Committee. The IRC helps feed refugees living in San Diego. So far Harvesting SD has delivered about 1,000 pounds of locally grown citrus, apples, avocados, pomegranates and loquats. The IRC reports that nearly all the fruit is gone within one day. Dunn is still looking for willing fruit donors and volunteer harvesters. If you have something to contribute, email —Matt Steiger

Banyan Catering: Fresh from the Farm With over 12 years of experience in the food/beverage and hospitality industry, husband and wife duo Jesse and Tess Brown create an array of food items that are made with local San Diego products. Their farm-to-table methodology offers a fresh approach to cooking and allows extreme versatility in their menus.

Spring has sprung and what better way to greet the new season than by hosting an outdoor event in the San Diego sun? How about a Pacific Rim picnic: teriyaki chicken on skewers, seared tuna handrolls, beef yakitori and miso pickled carrots and radishes from Banyan Catering? Their lunch baskets and boxes are a feast for the senses. 4

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“I am privileged to be able to visit the farms that I purchase from,” said Jesse Brown, co-owner. “I get to smell the produce, ask questions and shake the hands of the men and women who have harvested the food that goes into the entrées we make and that is comforting to me, to my wife and to our patrons.” Banyan Catering also offers a school lunch program that provides healthy, nutritious lunches for elementary, middle and high

school students. These menus eliminate processed foods and excessive salt and sugar, and are made fresh daily using natural ingredients, lean protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. In some instances, such as the program at Explorer Elementary Charter School in Point Loma, Banyan Catering incorporates produce grown by students in a learning garden. Whether planning an elegant dinner for 10, a lunch bunch on the beach or an event for 250, Banyan Catering offers a beautifully unique and personal experience while educating about local farming and sustainability. For more information or to make reservations, call 619-546-0650 or visit —Michelle Hackney

Notable Edibles Review: Cooking with Italian Grandmothers By Jessica Theroux Don’t pick this book up if you have evening plans, if you have work to do or if you’re expecting to tackle your to-do list. Because once you open its pages, not only will Cooking with Italian Grandmothers draw you in, it will lure you to the kitchen, put your hands to work and immerse you in several hours of an exceptional cooking experience. Seriously. I picked this book up to innocently thumb through it one evening and before I knew it, I was sleeves-rolled-up in the kitchen, kneading a semolina pasta dough while a hearty ragú sauce simmered away on the stove. This book will stop you in your tracks, captivate your attention and insist you spend some time in the kitchen. Not, I might add, unlike a loving but stern grandmother. Each recipe in this collection is full of history and character; the dishes are cherished, lovingly crafted and somehow both decadent and practical. You can’t read a recipe without learning at least some of the story behind it—how and when it is traditionally prepared, what ingredients are easy to come by and which a special treat, what the dish means to a family, a household, a culture. In fact, the best part of each recipe in this book is getting to know the people behind it. The book is organized by experience, rather than by

Jessica Theroux and Nonna Armida of Lunigiana

food or dish, introducing locations, households and those wonderful grandmothers from whom Jessica Theroux patiently learned each recipe. It is a delight to dive into each woman’s story and read the recipes that are so essential to each of them. That said, from a practical perspective, I also found myself starting at the index and working backward at times—the index is thoughtfully organized by dish type and ingredient, making skimming the book for weeknight inspiration a breeze.

The experience of cooking from this book is truly humbling. Each time I needed to refer back to the book to confirm a step or double check an ingredient, I couldn’t help but think of the woman who has repeated the steps so many times she could do them with her eyes closed. If you feel your cooking experience is lacking a knowledgeable mentor, if you miss the camaraderie of a family member in the kitchen or if you’re looking for wisdom passed down from generation to generation, this is a cookbook you must have on your shelves. It’s one I know I’ll turn to again and again. —Lauren Lastowka

CineCucina Returns To North Park On May 21, the San Diego Italian Film Festival presents CineCucina, an evening of film and food at the Birch North Park Theatre. The San Diego Italian Film Festival will be hosting chef and filmmaker Jessica Theroux, who will be sharing her documentary film and her cookbook, Cooking with Italian Grandmothers: Recipes and Stories from Tuscany to Sicily. This will be followed by the 2009 Terra Madre film Rupi del vino (Rubies of the wine) by master Italian director Ermanno Olmi. Jessica, a visual artist and trained chef, set off on a voyage of discovery in Italy to learn about how history and stories

arrived at the table through the love Italian grandmothers had for their families, their land and their traditions. As Jessica says, “The women profiled in my book are keepers of Italy’s rich culinary traditions. In their hands, food became a gentle language that communicated love, place, work, generosity and identity. Cooking with Italian Grandmothers is a testament to them and the culinary traditions they maintain.”

in Valtellina, a mountainous region requiring the care and traditions of ancient terracing, helping the land that in turn enriches its caretakers with amazing wines. Olmi calls this work heroic, and his visual poetry sings to us an epic song of local food culture in this region.

Continuing with the Italian food tradition, which is the foundation of Slow Food in Italy, the SDIFF will show Ermanno Olmi’s celebration of viniculture

Tickets will be available on the SDIFF website and at the door. For more information and to stay current, visit

spring 2011

edible San Diego


notable edibles Haggo’s Organic Tacos: A Bite of Fresh Air Photos by Chris Costa

James Haggard (Haggo to the locals) spent the afternoon cruising the streets of his town, taking in the colors of Encinitas. This is part of his research, part of his effort to craft an “eclectic” space that reflects and attracts his adopted community, and is as much an organic outgrowth of that community as the food he will sell there. The space he is creating, Haggo’s Organic Tacos, is actually a courtyard on the Coast Highway in the community of Leucadia. It houses a makeshift outdoor dining room, his gourmet mobile food trailer and the nexus of Haggard’s passion and dream: local, organic Mexican cuisine. His shop will serve in a tortilla the best regional ingredients he can source in fun but familiar ways. “I really want to focus on the quality of ingredients to start and then build Haggo’s cheerful outdoor dining courtyard. from that,” Haggard says, “based on what my customers want.” Feedback from the community is important to Haggard, who is focused on growing his business from the roots of his neighborhood and the fields of Southern California, and with the stamp of his particular sensibilities. “I want every supplier I choose to have substance. I want people who are passionate about what they’re producing.”


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The Cousteau Taco is full of fresh local ingredients.

Haggard is partnering with Laurel Mehl of Coral Tree Farm and Nursery, located in the heart of Encinitas, who is growing organic produce specifically for his project, including heirloom tomatoes, lettuces, peppers, avocados, potatoes, beans and herbs. He is also talking with other local farms, buying organic par-cooked tortillas from Mama Cesena’s (until he can make his own), and sourcing sustainable local meat and seafood. Haggard will combine these superior ingredients into his rendition on Mexican-American taqueria classics. Menu items will include the Burgundy Burrito (a carne asada treat named for San Diego’s favorite Anchorman) and the Cousteau Fish Taco (a tribute to a Haggard hero). Haggo’s Organic Tacos is set to open in late February at 1114 North Coast Highway in Leucadia, next door to the locally famous Plant Lady, a.k.a. Leucadia Florist. — ­­ Evan Ross

Find Your Inner Fork Point Loma Certified Farmers’ mArket Sundays 9:30am -2:30pm Rosecrans & Cañon Near San Diego Yacht Club

UTC Certified Farmers’ market

thursdays 3pm - 7pm Westfield Utc mall near Macys, on Genesee ave

Mission Valley Certified Farmers’ Market

Fridays 3pm-7pm Westfield Mission Valley Mall Near Target on Mission Ctr Rd

Farmers’ Market CSA - Multi-Farm - $15 small share - $25 Large Share - $35 set-up* *A portion of set-up cost goes to an emergency fund for farmers.




i w w. B r


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Farme Markets

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spring 2011

edible San Diego


In Season Interview

Jeff Jackson:

Sounds of clatter, of sizzling; scents of fresh tomatoes, strawberries, the grilling of fish and herbs fill the kitchen of the Lodge at Torrey Pines. This is the kingdom of Chef Jeff Jackson, who presides, guides and is actively involved in each day’s menu planning and preparation, as well as overseeing the work of a staff of 40. And it’s all a great pleasure, according to the exuberant and creative, sandyhaired ex-Oklahoman. “I don’t go to work. I go to play,” he says. Here, in his realm, only the freshest and best of fruits and vegetables, along with perhaps the catch of the day or some just delivered free-range poultry, will be assembled to create offerings with a hint of French cooking flair. The pick of the available food items will inspire the creations and choices he and his staff will present at the two restaurants at the Lodge: A. R. Valentien and The Grill.

From Farm to Table at the Lodge at Torrey Pines By Karen Kenyon

“I began to develop my style around ingredients, and then incorporating technique. I went back to simplicity and the integrity of ingredients.”


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Jeff Jackson practically grew up in the world of restaurants and cafés in Oklahoma City, starting as a bus boy at age 13, then gradually working his way up to cooking carrots and potatoes and beyond (all the while playing football in high school). Of the apprenticeship of learning to cook, he says, “It’s a craft you learn day by day.” When it was time to make a career choice, he opted for culinary school (the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York) instead of the engineering degree expected by his family. The creativity and hands-on aspect of the restaurant profession had appealed to him. After culinary training, he had a yearning to learn more about French cuisine and to do a little original research, so Jackson and a friend cycled all through Europe and into France where they visited small villages and sampled the local food. Jackson even picked grapes at the annual grape harvesting in Bordeaux (and lived in a

chateau!). The experience in France, he said, was like two years in Harvard. When, in time, he came to Santa Monica (after a sojourn in Chicago), he worked for 10 years as executive chef at Shutters Hotel. There he first experienced Southern California’s 365 days of fresh produce, and what he says are the best farmers’ markets around. “The flavor of a carrot you pick and eat one day is not the same if you taste it the next day,” he observed. He began to develop relationships with farmers, and to truly appreciate the freshness of just-picked produce. “I began to develop my style around ingredients, and then incorporating technique. I went back to simplicity,” he says, “and the integrity of ingredients.” At The Lodge at Torrey Pines, where he’s been executive chef for eight years, Jackson says he changes the menu daily depending on what he gets from the 10 or so farms he deals with. The basis is still classical French cooking, but the ingredients drive the menu. “It is important,” says Jackson, “to let the produce speak.” One way Jackson promotes the connection between San Diego chefs and farmers is the annual “Celebrate the Craft” (held in mid-autumn) where he invites both chefs and farmers to the Lodge. Guests can purchase tickets and enjoy the tasty concoctions the chefs create on the spot with the fresh seasonal produce. “I hope to get chefs to use local farms,” he says of one of his motives for the event. And does this Oklahoma-bred, Frenchinfluenced chef have a personal tasty favorite? He admits it’s Mexican food. But also he has a love of slow food, the long-simmered dishes with depths of flavor. Maybe his career is like that too—simmering together the flavors of the Southwest, the French countryside and whatever is fresh and in season.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Raspberry Syrup Pancakes 6 separated eggs 1½ cups ricotta cheese ½ cup melted butter 3 tablespoons lemon zest ½ cup all-purpose flour ½ cup sugar ½ teaspoon salt

In a mixer, combine egg yolks, sugar and lemon zest. Mix at medium speed for three minutes. Add flour and salt and mix for two more minutes. Add ricotta and melted butter and mix until incorporated. Meanwhile, whip egg whites to form stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture. The batter is now ready to cook as for regular pancakes.

Raspberry Syrup ½ cup water ½ cup sugar ½ cup raspberry purée First, make simple syrup. Boil water and sugar until dissolved. Cool to room temperature. When cool, combine simple syrup and raspberry purée in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes and serve at room temperature.

spring 2011

edible San Diego


Salad of Avocado, Citrus and Mixed Lettuces, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette Serves 6 A mixture of nice spring lettuces, such as Lolla Rosa, Red Perilla, Bibb, Little Gems, etc. are ideal for this salad. The best place to find an interesting selection of lettuces is at your local farmers market. Choose firm heads of lettuce that are white on the core where the lettuce was cut from the root. Browning on the core cut indicates age. 2–3 medium-size heads of spring lettuce 2 Ruby Red grapefruit

Separate the leaves of the lettuce and wash thoroughly. Dry in a towel and refrigerate until ready to use. Meanwhile, peel the grapefruit and oranges and separate the segments. Split the avocados, remove the seed and the skin, then cut into ¼ inch wedges. Arrange the lettuces onto six chilled salad plates. Scatter the citrus and avocado evenly over each salad and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette 1 large shallot, minced 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar Juice from 1 Meyer lemon ¼ cup grape seed oil ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil Zest from 1 Meyer lemon

2 Navel, Cara Cara or Blood oranges

1½ tablespoons chopped chervil

2 firm, ripe avocados

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 recipe Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Combine the minced shallot, vinegar, Meyer lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Allow to macerate for 15 minutes. Whisk in the grape seed oil, olive oil, lemon zest and chervil. Season to taste.

CERTIFIED Every Friday 3pm-6pm Falcon Street at Washington 10

edible San Diego

spring 2011

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SATURDAY MORNING LITTLE ITALY The Little Italy Mercato farmers’ market boasts 4 full blocks of certified California farmers, fishmongers, artisan foods and accessories and a stunning view of the bay, downtown in San Diego’s vibrant Little Italy neighborhood. 9 am to 1:30 pm.

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WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON ADAMS AVENUE The Adams Avenue Farmers’ Market is crammed with farm-fresh produce, meat, cheese, bread, eggs and more, on the street where Normal Heights meets Kensington. Shop, eat, meet your neighbors and enjoy 24-Carrot excitement every week, from 3 pm to 7 pm. THURSDAY AFTERNOON NORTH PARK If you haven’t been to the North Park Farmers’ Market lately, it’s time to see what’s happening. An expanding certified farmers’ market, seafood, eggs, local chocolates, pastry, jams and mustards, with live music to shop by. Year-round, 3 pm to 7 pm.

NURTURE THE SPIRIT. REGISTER NOW! 3784 30th St., San Diego • 619-231-3900 We bring farms to the city, and people to the table. 619.233.3901

spring 2011

edible San Diego



worldwide network of thousands of food producers, processors, distributors, cooks, students and everyday people sharing a passion for the planet and its edible bounty, Terra Madre is the unrivaled mother of all Earth-conscious food groups. Together, they work to advance initiatives that promote good, clean, fair food for the good of the planet and its inhabitants. “Terra Madre is a collection of many slow yet determined steps toward a new humanism, which just like the old Renaissance, stems from beauty,” says Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food International. “This beauty can be found in [our] food, in our villages and our landscapes and in our relationship with the environment from which they all grow.”

Photo: Candice Woo

A Tale of Two Foodies 12

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This year’s event featured the presentation of the network’s proposals for a sustainable future for agriculture and the planet, hitting on broad topics such as biodiversity, renewable energy and education down to localized efforts such as school nutrition programs and farmto-table restaurants. Over 5,000 attendees from 150 countries packed the Palasport Olimpico (built to host the 2006 Winter Olympics) for this and other presentations from Petrini, food writer and activist Raj Patel and American Slow Food champion Alice Waters. While those speakers’ words were powerful, the true might resided with the masses receiving their messages. Sustainability-minded foodies from San Diego to San Sebastian would have loved to have attended the event, but very few were granted the opportunity to do so. In fact, there was a rigorous application process that involved submittal of qualifications and answers to a variety of essay questions. Two of our region’s Slow Food champions—Candice Woo, co-leader of Slow Food Urban San Diego

Locals share memories of their time in Italy a Photo: Candice Woo

Photo: Candice Woo

Since 2004, Terra Madre has held bi-annual five-day world meetings in Torino (Turin), Italy. These are conducted in tandem with Salone del Gusto, a grand-scale open market of artisanal producers spanning the entire globe. Concerned citizens from all over the world converge to share ideas and lessons learned from fighting the good food fight in their indigenous lands.

(SFUSD), and Jared Van Camp, executive chef of downtown’s Quality Social—made the grade and the trip. When asked the most exciting aspect of the event, Woo replied, “To have been given the opportunity to be in the same place with such a diverse group of people, yet know that we were linked by a common desire to create change and build awareness. The most meaningful interactions I had were with fellow delegates from all over the world. We shared ideas gleaned from our Slow Food experiences and exchanged stories from our local food communities. My days were filled with really energizing conversation about food from the moment I touched down in Italy to the bus ride to the airport on the way home.”

“One of the craziest things that happened was when the butcher and I went to his butcher shop on a mountain in the Alps,” said Van Camp. “One of the cows up there was having a calf and we got to help deliver it. We pulled a calf out of a cow with our own hands.”

Van Camp also had his fair share of quality back-and-forths with likeminded individuals. “[At Quality Social], we make all of our own charcuterie with local animals and one of the things I’m trying to do in San Diego is start a charcuterie certification program,” said Van Camp. “Many of the people I talked to at the event had organized and done this and hearing their stories was extremely helpful.”

Agreed Woo, “Seeing how Slow Food’s Presidia Program supports producers and growers of heritage foods, such as the last Basque pig bred in Spain or mulberries in Tajikistan, made me more attuned to what we can do locally. SFUSD is in the early stages of a project with heritage animals and we hope to do more educational events that can highlight and safeguard endangered foods and small-scale producers.” Lessons learned at the event were key, but both Woo and Van Camp got just as much out of their off-campus excursions. The latter of the duo

ventured to a remote village in the Alps to spend a day with a goat cheese maker and her brother, a butcher with whom Van Camp ended up spending eight hours talking salami. But that wasn’t his only adventure.

“It was also great to see the admiration that Italian brewers had for San Diego beer. I felt true hometown pride and it showed how food can really connect us.”

“One of the craziest things that happened was when the butcher and I went to his butcher shop on a mountain in the Alps,” said Van Camp. “One of the cows up there was having a calf and we got to help deliver it. We pulled a calf out of a cow with our own hands. I couldn’t believe it. Talk about being at the right place at the right time.” Meanwhile, Woo and fellow San Diegan and Slow Food devotee Greg Koch, the CEO of Escondido’s Stone Brewing Co., took a day trip to Birrificio Baladin, a famed Italian brewery, to taste its wares. “There’s a real sense of place and Slow Food–mindedness about the beer [in Italy]. The brewer at Birrificio Baladin still ages beer in his family’s house,” said Woo. “It was also great to see the admiration that Italian brewers had for San Diego beer. I felt true hometown pride and it showed how food can really connect us.” Like their belief and adherence to the Slow Food Movement, a central theme connects Woo and Van Camp when recalling their time at Terra Madre’s world meeting—it was a truly once in a lifetime experience. “But I hope it won’t be,” said Woo. Brandon Hernández is a native San Diegan with a passion for the culinary arts and the local dining scene. He has been featured numerous times on the Food Network hit program Emeril Live, regularly contributes to over a dozen national and local magazines, newspapers and online outlets and has authored and coauthored several cookbooks. Follow him at or drop him a line at

y at an inspiring international Slow Food gathering

By Brandon Hernández

Photo: Jared Van Camp

Photo: Candice Woo

Photo: Candice Woo

Displays of regional foods.

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t .D n ti h ssion .Ra Brew ort lash B ch. S ics y P i mi esm ne h. n F be ma an Al rm. M Salu lpi anc ree t Ab Wo Org u A Aq ic Fa ight arm. an R ms. G . Los urtis h. JR Expanded Hours: d t t n r m n sba rga ch. K qua F a. Ni af Fa Poin ese. C lesmi l Beginning March 1st r O t e Ca zies Ran ad A zani le Le allast Ch m. A . Tues-Friday Su man arlsb Man ap . B simo Far rted 4:30 to close M m i o c s N ssiC ddd ch. Far eni ani upp g n V d Saturday & Sunday c g r S g s. d Ra ani re. O ally s o ’ g n d r 12:00 to close e c h a d m o zi O ffs Ni zie’s a O g. Su ed. L Closed Monday Su talin win ourc e Ca r Br lly S o ca P Lo

4095 30th Street North Park 619.283.1618


All you need is soil, sun and water… we’ll supply the rest!

Thank you, San Diego, for

18 years on a roll!

Sushi on a Roll has been San Diego’s most sought after sushi caterer for 18 years. The first of its kind and the only rentable sushi bar in San Diego, as well as the longest in business, Sushi on a Roll has set the trend for the “live” sushi experience.

We’ll help you grow the foods that you like to eat. Our staff has over 25 years experience in farming and urban horticulture. We provide home orchard care, garden coaching, and permaculture solutions. We can teach you how to care for your garden organically, keeping your soil and plants healthy. Contact us for a garden consultation 619-563-5771

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We’ll continue to give you the freshest, locally and sustainably sourced ingredients we can get our chop sticks on. Thanks, too, to all the local farmers and seafood providers that have kept us supplied with their freshest and best products. Jeffrey Roberto, President, Sushi On A Roll, Inc. Chef Rotisseur Chef de Cuisine Chef of the Year 2009 & TeAm SOAR 619-702-1468 • 1620 National Ave., San Diego, CA 92113 14

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SDSU­: Cultivating Food Sustainability Local university takes leadership roll in San Diego’s sustainable food movement. By Diana Richardson

Photography by Javier Ramos spring 2011

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tudents and professors alike are leading the way for sustainable food education and options at San Diego State University. Momentum is growing as entire classes are now dedicated to food topics, and as student leaders are “digging in” by creating and building the Farmers Market, the Herb Garden and the Green Lunch Bag Series. Recently graduated alumni are out in the community working in urban garden development, for the San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project and other related endeavors.

Professors spread the word When did all this begin? For years, many courses across campus have included food topics, such as research about the health and environmental value of locally grown and chemical-free foods, and problems associated with chemicals in food production, the costs of moving food across continents and oceans to reach foreign markets, and hormone- and antibiotic-injected livestock. Students have been taking this information seriously. Seriously enough to fill up courses that deal exclusively with food, such as Dr. Pascale Joassart-Marcelli’s The Geography of Food, or Dr. David Larom’s Food Security Internship. Joassart-Marcelli’s course within the 16

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Department of Geography examines the production, distribution, consumption and preparation of food, not only in lectures and reading, but also in field trips to local farms, foodscapes and farmers’ markets. “Meaty” topics such as assessing the role of race, ethnicity, gender, nationalism and class in shaping meanings and representations of food, identifying causes of hunger and malnourishment in the United States and looking at the geographic distribution of obesity and factors underlying the patterns are just some of critical topics explored in the course. Last semester’s field trip through City Heights—starting at the New Roots Community Garden (recall that Michelle Obama thought this was a pretty great place!), through the ethnic restaurants and markets scattered along El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue, and ending at the farmers’ market—was truly a mouthwatering culinary extravaganza. Yum! Joassart-Marcelli is also one of a few geography professors and staff beginning a collaborative effort with the International Rescue Committee in San Diego to investigate and map urban lands that could eventually become community gardens. The Food Security Internship course exposes the unsustainable nature of U.S. food consumption, and teaches the critical importance of growing locally—and

Above: Student food “revolutionaries” at the SDSU farmers’ market. Upper left: Students and Dr. Marcelli (far right) on field trip to farmers’ market.

individually—if possible. Larom (of the Asia Pacific Studies Department) works with his student interns at Aztec Farms, a 10-acre farm located at the Santa Margarita Research Field Station. The students get a real hands-on education, melding lecture and text material with actual experience, by developing and managing many facets of the farm, such as soil analysis and food production. The 60-mile drive to the farm, which is located east of Temecula, is the only downside to the experience, somewhat counterproductive to the message of sustainability and locally grown agriculture, but better than the average 1500

“A community vegetable garden and grove should be established for an escape for some, gardening class for others, and all around social venue for students. The yields from the garden can then be sold, or distributed to students, who are attending the farmers market.” Jordan Laughlin

Jordan Laughlin working in an Upban Plantations garden installation.

miles food travels from farm to market.Larom would like to bring this level of education to campus itself, similar to the Seeds at City (College) half-acre campus farm, and UCSD’s Pepper Canyon Urban Farm , but in the meantime, he is working to get food from the farm to on-campus eateries and the Farmer’s Market. He is also trying to raise $10,000 to match a grant which will buy a tractor and other equipment for the farm.

businesses that value balancing the “three E’s” of ecology, ethics and economics. E3 initiated and promoted the development of the new campus bicycle lanes (there were no lanes on campus until fall 2009, and students were frequently ticketed for cycling and skateboarding); for creating an e-waste recycling event; for hosting a Green Careers Workshop and for many other environmentally related business and campus activities.

Students lead the charge

E3 was also the driving force behind developing the Farmers’ Market. With support from Brian Wynne, general manager of concessions for Aztec Shops, the market began on Earth Day 2009 and it’s been going strong ever since. Lannon would love to see one of the many grass lawns on campus converted to an

This goal of an on-campus garden is shared by student leaders on campus, particularly Erin Lannon, Holly Hellerstedt and Tara Kelly of the Enviro-Business Society (E3), a student club that promotes profitable, sustainable

urban garden, so that all SDSU students could have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as classes that teach farming methods. Time for SDSU to “step up to the plate” on this one! Another campus student group, Quest, has been successful in building a small herb garden next to the Faculty Staff Club, where Chef David McHugh picks fresh herbs to add to his sumptuous offerings. The garden is available for anyone affiliated with the university to use— faculty, staff and students alike. Recent graduates such as Sarah Campbell and Jordan Laughlin are carrying the messages they’ve learned from SDSU into the community. Campbell, an Environmental Science major, who, among other activities, was an intern for SDSU’s Center for Regional Sustainability (CRS), is now the public relations and outreach coordinator for San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project. CRS works collaboratively with educators, policymakers, citizens and researchers to identify and define our region’s most critical environmental, social equity and economic growth issues within the context of sustainable development. As one of its campus activities, CRS hosts the Green Lunch Bag Series, where students receive a FREE organic lunch Left: SDSU Farmers’ Market is managed by students. Right: Chef Dave selects herbs from the organic herb garden.

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while listening to speakers discuss a variety of “green” topics. The last lunch in November featured the topics of food accessibility, fair trade and the difference between organic and conventional food from a policy perspective. As part of CRS, Campbell helped to organize the third annual Food Justice Conference, held at SDSU in January 2010, and, recently she was one of the speakers at the Bright Green Futures Conference held at USD, where she spoke about food security and sustainable foodsheds. She walks the talk, as her own front yard is a delicious mix of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Laughlin now works for Urban Plantations, where he helps to build and maintain food gardens in people’s yards. He gained many of his skills while working as a landscaper for SDSU to pay his way through college. Though he cut roses and grass on campus, he learned a lot about gardening, and could transfer those skills to his passion, which is food gardens. His boss and owner of Urban Plantations, Karen Contreras, is thrilled to have Laughlin’s enthusiasm and hardworking energy as part of her team. He’s been thinking about a community garden at SDSU, too. As he said in a letter he wrote to Associated Students as part of a class assignment: “a community vegetable garden and grove should be established for an escape for some, gardening class for others, and all around social venue for students. The yields from the garden can then be sold, or distributed to students, who are attending the farmers’ market.” Why not?

Surprisingly, administrators support the change That takes us to the “admin.” Bureaucratic 18

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Photo: Chris Costa

Aztec Farms has had some very recent and positive developments. We now have a live-in farmer and will be expanding to 1 acre of row crops and 6 acres of hillside farming. We’ll be transitioning Santa Margarita’s 2 acres of orange groves and a test patch of avocados to organic management. University Dining will be making Aztec Farms branded meals on campus with our produce. We have received a $10,000 grant match from SDSU’s President’s Leadership Fund. We will soon be welcoming our second batch of Food Security interns to the farm SDSU’s ISCOR program. Fridays will be a workday with visitors welcome, and we’ll have occasional weekend visitor events. We are seeking community involvement, research and education partnerships, and restaurant contracts. For more information, to donate or get involved, go to Questions can be directed to

wheels are not known for speed, however, the SDSU administrators have been quite open to student pressure for progressive changes. Paul Melchior, director of Aztec Shops including food services, is proud of achievements made so far. These include the removal of all Styrofoam from campus eateries, support of the Farmers’ Market, diverting food waste from landfills and into composting, and going “trayless” at the Commons (which avoids excessive food selection and has resulted in an astonishing 50-percent reduction in food purchases for the same number of meals). Melchior, who manages food supply and service for this daily population of about 30,000 people, says that Dining Services does 3,000 food transactions a day, while trying to purchase all campus foods from as many local sources as possible. Though he likes the idea, he expressed that it is difficult to change land use on campus for a food garden or farm. Maybe continued student pressure will lead to eventual development of one, which could supply some of SDSU’s food for those thousands of students! The mix of student ideas and energy with faculty-driven research and course offerings has been a successful recipe for building progress in sustainable food development within the San Diego region. Go Aztecs! Diana Gauss Richardson is a lecturer, internship coordinator and the undergraduate advisor in the Geography Department at San Diego State University. She teaches Land Use Analysis, Environmental and Natural Resource Conservation, Regional Field Studies and U.S. Geography, and is also the faculty advisor for the student group Association of Environmental Professionals.


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4:58 PM

Bootleggers of Fine Food Offer Quite the Mix

Story and photography by Britta Turner


n elect group of 28 gathered at the edge of a dark alley in Golden Hill just before November’s final harvest moon. Having been summoned through anonymous email correspondences, the group comprised a synergistic amalgam of exceptional people, drawn by one common interest—incredible food—and the allure of a unique experience. Waiting gingerly and with uncertainty about the adventure they were about to embark upon, they were welcomed into a shadowed parking lot and greeted by two gentlemen clad in black garments and Western bandanas. “Welcome to the Supper Club,” one of the leaders uttered. “We have an incredible evening planned for you all tonight, so please, pour yourselves some cider, get to know your neighbors, and enjoy the fruits of our labors.” This group had come for one of San Diego’s most up-and-coming farm-to-table dinners—in secret, of course. The first rule about Supper


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Club is that you never speak about it. The creativity and reticence of these exchanges add to the appeal of this invitation-only dining adventure. The gentlemen running the Supper Club are doing it right—creating extraordinary five-course meals using only ingredients that are sourced from San Diego farmers, friends or their own backyard foraging. They offer an impressive spread of colorful, diverse and truly seasonal dishes, and share them with an intimate group of chosen attendees in creative, funky, sometimes suspect atmospheres. “We want to do these dinners in a big way, with exceptional service and unrivaled creativity,” said one of the founders, who wishes to remain anonymous. “We want to create a unique experience with every individual event that you simply can’t find anywhere else in this city. The Supper Club gives us, as artists and chefs, a channel through which we challenge ourselves to play with raw materials like food, music, setting, personalities, and push the edge of that notion of the absurd. Every dinner is different because the dynamics of the guests

The gentlemen running the Supper Club are doing it right—creating extraordinary five-course meals using only ingredients that are sourced from San Diego farmers, friends or their own backyard foraging. and the meal and the setting are constantly changing. We want people to show up five minutes before we serve dinner and think, “Wow, this is totally unreal.” Then we’ll make it happen, and we’ll have fun doing it.” “Mixing Autumn” was the coined theme of the Supper Club’s most recent dinner— as it happened to be staged in the back of a recording studio “somewhere in or around Balboa Park.” Patrons were welcomed into a sanguine tinged hallway carpeted by fresh fallen leaves and offered homemade mulled cider and locally sourced wines. As the charm of live jazz music wafted in the background, strangers became friends while seated at a huge, family-style table. Herbed crostini were offered with a warm fennel Parmesan dip as a starter, and guests nibbled on brightly hued crudites like Romanesco cauliflower, crispy apples and rainbow carrots, dipped in a fresh roasted pumpkin hummus. The stifled den full of equipment and tangled wires transformed into a warm chamber of congeniality and continuous conversation. Outside, the chefs and service team of dedicated friends and helpers plated freshly mixed salad greens topped with goat cheese–stuffed honey-roasted pears and candied walnuts. Served alongside was Butternut squash risotto, prickly pear purée and persimmon bread pudding with rosemary whipped cream—the best of fall’s harvest. Sourcing the food was “one of the more engaging aspects of the whole event,” this dinner’s guest chef described. The team collaborated with farmers and friends to purchase or barter for organic, locally grown edibles. Most of the vendors supplying “Mixing Autumn” regularly sell their goods at area farmers’ markets—Suzie’s Farms, JR Organics, Sadie Rose, Maggie’s Farm and Schaner’s are just a few suppliers who



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offer a huge variety of vegetables, meats, honey, fruit, eggs, bread and specialty items every week. San Diego is fortunate to host such an innovative and passionate group of people who truly want to push the boundaries of what is plausible with food and with people. The allure, the ingenuity and the magic involved in successfully running the Supper Club— from location scouting to decoration to meal preparation—shows a very promising future. Hopefully, the efforts of the gentlemen running the Supper Club will intrigue this community and inspire individuals to laugh, to create, to enjoy one another and to nourish culture for our city in new, exciting ways. The real secret is simply if we can learn to play along. Britta Turner is an emerging writer who enjoys the bounty of outdoor adventure Southern California has to offer. She has served as a projects manager for San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project, and worked as an assistant farm manager for Suzie’s Farm. Currently, she is traveling abroad, pursuing her interests in sustainable, transformative communities, yoga and learning how to fit in her own skin.

Downtown, East Village

1250 J Street San Diego, CA 92101 Phone 619 804 9430

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Suzie’s Farm CSA Program & Local, Organic Food

Y Eat It Now Apples, Apricots, Asian Pears, Asparagus, Avocados, Beets, Blackberries, Blueberries, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cherries, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Fennel, Grapefruit, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Nectarines, Okra, Onions, Oranges, Peaches, Peas, Pistachios, Potatoes, Radishes, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Scallions, Spinach, Squash, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Turnips

Plant It Now Beets, Cantaloupes, Carrots, Celeriac, Chard, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Fennel, Green Onions, Leeks, Lettuce, Okra, Parsley, Parsnips, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes (white), Radishes, Snap Beans, Spinach, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Watermelon, and dormant crowns of Artichoke, Asparagus and Rhubarb

ou already eat organic. Get with the program and eat organic and local. Suzie’s Farm CSA weekly and bi-weekly programs have 14 convenient pick-up locations, and we’re always adding more.

When it comes to planting, we’re not afraid to get our hands dirty. We’ve planted over 100 varieties at our farm in San Diego’s Border Field State Park. You can experience this bounty in every Suzie’s Farm CSA box or visit us at one of the local San Diego farmers’ markets. At the markets, you can hand select our veggies and greens, as well as our fine and fancy sprouts, microgreens, edible flowers, and wheatgrass all unique to our farm. That takes some real ingenuity if we do say so ourselves. When it comes to green thumbs, we have all our digits on the earth‘s pulse. If you are a San Diego chef, what are you waiting for? We have ample land to custom grow (in fact, we already do) and we deliver in San Diego five days a week. Plus, we have the distinction of growing your everyday go-to crops as well as speciality produce. You can find us the way that ever everyone does these days on our website, but if you want to talk to the person that drives the tractor, call us at 619-662-1780.

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Source: and spring 2011

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Business Is Mushrooming at Mountain Meadow

By Vincent Rossi

San Diego’s only mushroom farm thrives on public demand and sustainable methods. Photography by Chris Costa


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orth Broadway in Escondido doesn’t sound like the address of a mushroom farm. Those familiar with Broadway only as an artery in downtown Escondido might be surprised to know that if you head north just a few miles, you reach a point where the road narrows and begins winding among hills and open spaces. Tract houses give way to orchards and meadows.

“We believe you need to be within 50 miles of your market,” Crouch says. “We start our picking at 4 in the morning. By 8 o’clock we’ve already picked, packed and put it into a truck. By 10 or 11 that morning, they’ll be on the shelves.”

But the surprises aren’t over. Amid these relatively rural surroundings, entering the driveway of Mountain Meadow Mushroom one is faced with a tightly packed compound of long, white, onestory buildings, interspersed with equally long and towering rows of baled haystacks. The haystacks, standing 20–25 feet high, are covered with a gray tarp that makes the stacks look like big airplane hangers.

the skyrocketing public demand for mushrooms. That demand has made mushroom growing a process that, in Crouch’s words, “goes on 24/7, 365 days a year.” He said he’d worked 10 hours this past Christmas day. It’s an industry that has seen a great amount of consolidation, locally and across the country.

You see a creek ambling through the property, and guys driving heavy equipment around. What you don’t see are mushrooms. “It’s not your typical field crop,” says Gary Crouch, co-owner of Mountain Meadow Mushroom. The mushrooms are all in those long white buildings, which are divided up into 27 separate rooms. Mushrooms grow in the dark, Crouch says, “because they don’t photosynthesize,” and therefore don’t need light. In each of the 27 rooms at Mountain Meadow, wooden racks hold beds of compost going through various stages of a 63-day growing cycle. They go through about eight cycles per week, Crouch says. Mountain Meadow employs between 70 and 80 workers on its 17-acre site, although Crouch says mushroom growers tend to speak of growing space in square feet rather than acreage. “You plant about 750,000 square feet a year,” he says, “which yields seven pounds per square foot, or roughly 5–6 million pounds per year.” That scale of production reflects

“We are the only local mushroom grower in San Diego County,” says Crouch, adding that he’s talking about what are considered the basic varieties, “white buttons, criminis and portobellos.” More exotic types of mushrooms, such as shiitakes, are still grown by firms like Golden Gourmet in San Marcos. Mountain Meadow doesn’t compete with that segment.

as examples. He quickly adds that where he sells to chains, it’s only to local units of those chains. This is part of his commitment to encouraging consumption of fresh, locally grown produce. “We believe you need to be within 50 miles of your market, ” Crouch says. “We start our picking at 4 in the morning. By 8 o’clock we’ve already picked, packed and put it into a truck. By 10 or 11 that morning, they’ll be on the shelves.” Crouch also estimated that he supplies mushrooms to 90% of the county’s restaurants, mostly through brokers. Some individual restaurant proprietors, such as the owners of Sea Rocket Bistro, Vincent’s and Tango, have paid visits and become buyers that way. A March 2008 blog entry by Sea Rocket co-owners Elena Rivellino and Dennis Stein features a video of Mountain Meadow co-owner Roberto Ramirez showing them around the farm and explaining the growing process.

Crouch says his nearest competitor for basic mushrooms is in Ventura County. When his family started out in the business in the 1980s, there were five others in San Diego County, but “the others all went out of business.” “Last year we lost six or seven mushroom farms across the U.S.,” he says. That’s out of a total of only 112 nationwide. Among those that went belly up were the two largest in the country.” Why? “This is a very capital-intensive, and labor-intensive, process. It requires lots of cash to maintain.” He focuses his marketing efforts. “Our niche is consistent. We supply all the specialty grocery stores,” says Crouch, mentioning Whole Foods and Jimbo’s

Gary Crouch

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“It’s still somewhat of an art. Not many people talk about it. You have to know the medium.” By medium he means the compost in which the mycelium spores will be planted. “The fruit of the mycelium is the mushroom,” he says. Besides the straw, the medium includes cottonseed meal, a byproduct of cotton growing, and grape pumice, made up of the stems and seeds left over from a grape crush. The grape pumice helps produce sugar, Crouch says, which will generate heat once all the constituent elements have been mixed together. In another section of the farm, long rows of compost are giving off natural steam. Here the nutrients are being created that are necessary for mushroom growth. Compost is treated with recycled water before use in the mushroom beds.

Mountain Meadow Mushroom is committed to farming sustainably. Those huge haystacks at the farm attest to that. The stacks are recycled stable bedding from Del Mar Race Track. “We divert over 8 tons of straw from Del Mar every year,” says Crouch. On a brief tour of the grounds, Crouch begins to describe a complex process.

Mountain Meadow recently joined up with the bureau’s San Diego Grown 365 campaign. Growers will display the campaign logo on their products to help encourage consumers to find local farm products.


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“There is no manure,” he states emphatically, so emphatically he actually uses a more colloquial word for manure. Crouch and co-owner Ramirez are happy to refute the conventional view of how mushrooms are grown. Any traces of manure and urine that might be in the straw will be broken down in the natural heating stimulated by the composting process, which runs 20 days. Once the beds of compost have been placed in racks in the growing rooms, they will be heat pasteurized again before the mycelium is planted. Crouch also pointed out oiled plastic sheeting hung at the entrances of each room. This is to catch insects, he said, to avoid using pesticides. The rest of the step-bystep process manipulates temperature to set up, stimulate, then end growth of the crop. New mushrooms can double in size every 24 hours under the right conditions, says Crouch. Mountain Meadow now gets six crops out of a room compared to four previously. An individual bed of mushrooms can be picked up to three times.

Compost that’s no longer needed is again heat pasteurized, according to Crouch. It is then offered for free for anyone “to put back into the earth.” A lot of neighboring farmers, as well community gardeners and topsoil companies, come around to take some, says Crouch. “Tons of material that would go into landfills instead gets recycled.” “We’re big supporters of Slow Food,” he said. “ Any event that wants to showcase fresh local produce, we donate to.” He also encourages people to come out and see his operation. Recent visitors included members of a sustainable agriculture class at San Diego City College. Crouch is an Executive Board Member of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, representing mushroom growers. Mountain Meadow recently joined up with the bureau’s San Diego Grown 365 campaign. Growers will display the campaign logo on their products to help encourage consumers to find local farm products. “By using that label you’re supporting local farms,” says Casey Anderson, Farm Bureau membership and marketing manager. “Gary has been very supportive of the campaign. He certainly recognizes the benefits of supporting local farmers.”

Vincent Rossi is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in newspapers (San Diego Union Tribune, San Jose Mercury News), online (San Diego News Network, and magazines (Westways, Edible San Diego). With his wife, Peggy, a professional genealogist, Vincent coowns StorySeekers, a publisher of family history, memoir and autobiographical books. His ItalianAmerican heritage has spurred an appreciation of the interrelationship between culture and food.

Pasta Primavera Serves 6–8 Recipe courtesy Sea Rocket Bistro ½ onion, small dice 1 tomato, small dice 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 red bell pepper, small dice 1 cup medium-diced squash/zucchini/ broccoli/snap peas 1 cup gilled and small-diced portobellos 1 cup mixed prepped mushrooms, bottoms cut off, mushrooms pulled apart—brown beech mushrooms, maitake and oyster mushrooms 2 pounds fresh fettucini pasta

Bring medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Separate pasta strands, put in pot of water. Let cook one minute. Drain in colander, coat with oil. In a large sauté pan, melt butter to cover surface of pan. Sauté onion, garlic and bell peppers for one minute. Add tomato, squash, zucchini, broccoli, snap peas and mushrooms. Add white wine; reduce by half. Add cream, bring up to a simmer, add pasta, and half of shredded gouda, salt and pepper. Gently toss pasta around, cover and let cook for one minute. Plate individually or in large bowl, garnish with rest of gouda and basil.

Open-Faced Mushroom Sandwich Serves 4–6 Recipe courtesy Sea Rocket Bistro 1 loaf ciabatta, sliced in half longways 4 ounces chimichurri sauce 1 pound portobellos, degilled and smalldiced 1 ounce extra-virgin olive oil ½ pound brown beech mushrooms, bottoms cut off, individual mushrooms separated ½ pound maitake mushrooms, pulled apart

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ pound oyster mushrooms, bottoms cut off, mushrooms pulled apart

1 ounce butter

2 ripe tomatoes, small-diced

2 cups white wine

6 leaves basil, chiffonade

2 cups cream

4 ounces goat cheese

½ pound shredded gouda

1 tablespoon salt and pepper

4 leaves basil, chiffonade

Toast bread in oven at 425° until starting to brown. Remove and set aside on baking pan. In sauté pan, heat olive oil, sauté mushrooms for 5 minutes or until tender. Turn off heat. Toss with salt and pepper, tomatoes and basil. Evenly drizzle chimichurri on cut side of bread, liberally covering most of the surface. Spread out mushroom mixture on top. Crumble goat cheese on top. Bake in oven 5–10 minutes, until goat cheese is starting to brown. Cut into wedges and serve hot.

2 teaspoon salt and pepper

Photo by Elena Rivellino

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One of the pleasures of today’s food scene in San Diego is our growing array of ethnic markets. As San Diego’s population continues to diversify, all of us are benefiting from the exposure we’re getting to new ingredients and products.

World-Class Shopping at Balboa International Market By Caron Golden

So, the expansion of Balboa International Market in Clairemont has been fun to watch and now, finally, it’s ready to dig into. Owned by Javid Javdani and his family, the market is in its seventh year of business. Now initially you might think that the focus is on Iranian food, but take a look around and you’ll find wide representation of different Middle Eastern cultures, along with Eastern Europe, India and even Mexico.

First things first My motto is never shop hungry, so your first stop should be the deli counter in the back. Run by Javdani’s mother, the prepared meals section includes chicken, beef and salmon kabobs, sandwiches made on flatbreads, and—my favorite—the lamb shanks. Or consider giving the tandoori chicken a try. No, the kitchen doesn’t have a tandoori oven, but they compensate with spices and yogurt that create a moist and punchy dish. You’ll also get huge portions of green salad, some flatbread

and fragrant basmati rice—made with dill if you get the lamb shanks or with saffron and butter, and topped by crispy tadig, which is the crust that is purposely formed on the bottom of the pot. Also available are dolmas and a variety of salads and dips.

Shopping adventure Sated? Then head over to the opposite end of the market. This is new. The produce is here— where you’ll find Persian cucumbers, black radishes, pomegranates, sweet lemons, fava beans, and other seasonal produce, along with staples like potatoes, onions, chiles, oranges and other items. Even better than the produce, though, is the new bakery. The market just installed a special oven to bake sangak, a delightful long flat wheat bread studded with sesame seeds that has been hard to find fresh in San Diego. There’s also another oven for making barbari, mashadi and rounds of Iranian sweet bread. All are flat but in varying thicknesses and cater to different Middle Eastern cultures. The mashadi, for instance,

Clockwise from left: Balboa baker displays freshly baked sangak; array of imported feta; fresh produce and dairy case.


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Photography by Riley Davenport

Exotic fare lines the shelves at Balboa International Market.

is a thin bread with just a little sugar that Afghans love. Eat these breads warmed, and topped with chopped feta or labne, a thick and slightly salty yogurt. You can find this in the refrigerated section in this alcove, along with Persian ice creams, half a dozen kinds of phyllo dough and frozen herbs.

Elie Raad brings these in from a local orchid grower who also raises chickens. The rest of the market is filled with aisles of staples like rice, noodles and grains. But you’ll also find a wide variety of pickles and stuffed vegetables, teas and Turkish coffee, bottles of herb-flavored water, dried herbs and spices and unusual ingredients like dried lime, lemon omani and rose buds.

Or go back into the main part of the shop to the back and pick up house-made labne or Greek yogurt in the deli section. You’ll also find several types of feta cheese, along with olives, other cheeses, sausages and herring. Nearby is a halal butcher. And take a look in the case to see if there are any mesh bags of eggs; they go fast. Manager


Javdani has been focused on more than the changes at Balboa International Market. For years he’s been working on building a restaurant next door. Sufi is slated to open at the end of February or beginning of March. The food will be similar to what is made at the

market but with an expanded menu. There will be seating for almost 300, and a stage for live music performances. And, making me happy, more ovens for fresh breads. Balboa International Market is located at 5907 Balboa Ave. Look for the strip mall with See’s Candies and pull into the driveway between the two banks. The market and restaurant are straight ahead in the back. Caron Golden is the author of the blog San Diego Foodstuff. She writes the Local Bounty column for San Diego Magazine and contributes to other publications. She appears monthly on KPBS Radio’s These Days to talk about food.


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El Take It Easy

Alchemy Restaurant

3926 30th Street San Diego, CA 92104 619-255-8778

1503 30th Street San Diego, Ca 92102 619-255-0616

Eat Drink Local Guide Food and drink providers are invited to participate in this guide because of their emphasis on using local, seasonal ingredients in their menus and their commitment to real food. By partnering with local farms, ranches, fishermen and food and beverage artisans, they are creating a distinct and sustainable dining experience unique to the San Diego region.

Please contact us if your restaurant, catering company, coffee house or bar meets our criteria and you would like to be included in Edible San Diego’s Eat Drink Local Guide. 619-222-8267 30

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A social club with excellent food.


Alchemy serves cultural fare, craft beer & cocktails. We prepare interesting food from high quality ingredients and local produce. Our restaurant serves nightly starting at 4:00 until at least 11:00 and the bar closes at midnight or so. Alchemy is also open for brunch on weekends at10:00am.

616 J Street San Diego, CA 92101 Facebook /JsixRestaurant Twitter @ JsixRestaurant Jsix is downtown San Diego’s culinary escape into the season’s best. Sourcing locally and using made-from-scratch methods, this sustainable restaurant embraces the slow food approach and sets the standard for thoughtful and inspiring cuisine.

Barrio Star 2706 5th Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 619-501-7827 Fresh, creative takes on traditional mexican food. Generous portions, innovative margaritas, friendly atmosphere. Wholesome ingregients, whimsical decor, unique south of the border cuisine! SOUL




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Blind Lady Ale House 3416 Adams Ave San Diego, CA 92116 619-255-2491 Blind Lady Ale House (BLAH) in Normal Heights offers a spectacular and “finely curated” lineup of local and craft brews, and is a Certified Purveyor of Honest Pints. BLAH serves Neapolitan-style pizza topped with fresh-made mozzarella (among others), local veggies (mostly certified organic) and sausage, chorizo, ciccoli and pate house-made from sustainably produced meats.

Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria 897 South Coast Encinitas, CA 92024 760-634-7671 We support local farmers markets, local businesses and sustainable practices. Our dough undergoes a 3-day fermentation process. Our pizzas are fired in a true wood burning oven. Our fennel sausage is house-made from sustainable Berkshire pork. Our mozzarella is hand-stretched daily in house. Our produce is local and organic and we feature local beer.

Mistral 4000 Coronado Bay Road Coronado, CA 92118 Mistral redefines modern French cuisine with an innovative dining experience. Blending influences from Europe’s Mediterranean coast, Chef Patrick Ponsaty marries responsibly-grown ingredients with brilliant technique to create robust, intense flavors in every dish. Sweeping views of Coronado Bay and San Diego skyline stretch out beyond floor-to-ceiling windows.

Ritual Tavern 4095 30th St. San Diego, CA 92104 619-283-1720 When you seek the finest drink and heartiest fare this evening, tread no further than through the doors of the Ritual. It is our pleasure to serve you piping hot food and a rich selection of beer and wine. Our tavern reflects the honor we pay to the traditions of old. Taste the worldly flavors of Britain, Germany, New Orleans, and the trade winds spirit blowing around us. Make your visit to the tavern a ritual.

Sea Rocket Bistro 3382 30th St San Diego, CA 92104 619-255-7049 Serving sustainable local seafood, small farm organic produce, rancher-direct pastured meats, San Diego craft beers and California wines in a comfortable, casual environment. Check our website for special events and promotions!

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Dinner. Cocktails. Late night dining. We are proud to offer you some of the finest ingredients found in Southern California. We emphasize handmade cuisine that uses the year round abundant produce available locally. Our menu changes frequently to accomodate seasonal products available in San Diego.

Tender Greens 2400 Historic Decatur Road San Diego, CA 92106 619-226-6254

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“Your magazine flies off the counter and brings in more local foot traffic than any other ad we run. Our COLLABORATION KITCHEN program is a huge hit due in part to working with you.” Tommy Gomes, Catalina Offshore Products



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The Linkery

320 South Cedros Ave. Solana Beach 760-207-5324

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Visit the Winery on Cedros and experience an authentic urban winery while tasting award-winning wines such as Sonoma Syrah, Napa Cab., & Dry Creek Zin, paired with artisan cheeses from a local CSA. Cheers!

Café Moto

3794 30th Street San Diego, CA 92104 619-255-8778 We gather people to grow, cook, craft and savor the best food and drink in San Diego.

3rd Corner 2265 Bacon Street San Diego, CA 92107 619-223-2700 897 S. Coast Hwy 101 Ste. F-104 Encinitas 760.942.2104 Casual, affordable, neighborhood bistro featuring a living wine list and late night dining until 1:00am. Over 800 bottles to choose from, wine tastings and wine dinners. Lunch and Brunch also served. Closed on Mondays.

“At first I placed an ad in Edible San Diego because I believe in what they are doing and I think this community needs what they have to offer. But I have been very impressed with the number of calls I get from the ad. I get at least a call a week from the ad, which is very good for a gardening and landscaping business.” Karen Contreras, Urban Plantations “Edible San Diego is the artisan food magazine of our city! Pete Balistreri, Executive Chef, Tender Greens

Carruth Cellars

The Fishery showcases a premier seafood market at the center of the restaurant. The menu is market driven and changes seasonally. Using ingredients at their peak of freshness, Chef Arias demonstrates that the best tasting food is fresh, local and in LUNCH, DINNER & SUNDAY BRUNCH season. The Fishery5040 invites to enjoy theBeach Cassdiners Street, North Pacific 858-272-9985 excitement of fish straight out of sea and local organically grown fruit and vegetables at our weekly “Tuesday Tastings”.

“We advertise in Edible San Diego because it’s a brand that is considered highly credible by our target demographic and that offers substantial backup to the print platform by engaging in ongoing social network marketing and event participation. We don’t usually purchase print ads, but we do invest in the kind of marketing partnership that we have built with Edible San Diego.” Catt Fields White, SD Weekly Markets

Sushi on a Roll has been San Diego’s most sought after sushi caterer for 18 years. The first of its kind and the only rentable sushi bar in San Diego, as well as the longest in business, Sushi on a Roll has set the trend for the “live” sushi experience.



1620 National Ave. San Diego, CA 92113 619-702-1468




5040 Cass Street San Diego, CA 92109 858-272-9985

The Forage Supper Club was launched in the Fall of 2009 to celebrate sustainable farming and local culinary traditions. Inspired by a vivid abundance of farmers and food artisans in California, Chef Jordan Russell hosts a series of nomadic dinners using ingredients sourced from a 90 mile radius. To follow The Forage’s whereabouts visit

Sushi on a Roll

Tender Greens is an organic restaurant chain offering organic salads, hormone free beef, free range chicken, artisanal baked goods, and house made charcuterie. Tender Greens Point Loma sources produce locally.

The Fishery

PO Box 91520 San Diego CA 92169


3175 India Street San Diego, CA 92103 619-358-9766

2619 National Ave. San Diego, CA 92113 619-239-6686 Proud roasters and drinkers Barrio Logan solar powered factory of coffees and teas. Weroasting are a second-generation Fair Trade, Organic, and Kosher business certified coffees family owned and operated that for San Diegans. 619.239.6686 encourages sustainability, by fostering beneficial relationships among farmers and our customers. We purchase organic and Fair Trade products, promoting a healthy environment, fair wages, & permitting relationships to pass on to our future generations.

“Riley has done an impressive job of developing Edible San Diego into a highly sought-after local resource. Not to mention the beautiful and constantly evolving website that reinforces for the on-line community just how important and exciting it is to support local purveyors and savor the many wonderful foods that can be grown and harvested in the region.” Elena L. Rivellino, Sea Rocket Bistro “Edible San Diego is the journal of good food in San Diego County and our neighboring areas. It is the go-to guide for finding what is local, fresh and delicious to eat and drink.” Gary Spoto, Slow Food San Diego

“Edible San Diego supports and encompasses the same vision as Caxao Chocolates. It was important to us to select a publication that fully represents our philosophy of using local and seasonal products and promoting artisan products. Edible San Diego has given us great exposure. We are happy with the positive outcome.” Caxao Chocolates

spring 2011

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Cooking School with Deborah Madison: An education in slow food Story and photography by Brook Larios


dinner party featuring short ribs, root vegetable hash and homemade cranberry chutney might be touted as a short rib dinner, asking vegetables to play second string. The typical American meal is characterized by a centerpiece of meat.

the award-winning Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers Market, The Savory Way, What We Eat When We Eat Alone and, most recently, Seasonal Fruit Desserts from Orchard, Farm, and Market.

Enter Deborah Madison, acclaimed chef, slow food maven and author of 11 cookbooks and other books, including

Madison helmed the inaugural series of intensive cooking classes at La Cocina Que Canta (The Kitchen that Sings) at


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Rancho la Puerta, just over the border in Tecate, Mexico. The four-day Discovery and Rediscovery of the Kitchen course, co-piloted by kitchen coach Penni Wisner, was designed to bring people closer to their food and alleviate the common fear of from-scratch cooking. The caveat: In this class, vegetables, grains and legumes were the headliners.

The four-day course was designed to bring people closer to their food and alleviate the common fear of from-scratch cooking. A background on Deborah Madison Several of my cooking counterparts were familiar with Madison’s repute while others attended based on the curriculum. A change maker and advocate for local, sustainable and accessible fare, Madison’s dance with food began with her upbringing on a walnut orchard in small-town Davis, California, and, subsequently, on a dairy farm in upstate New York. As a youngster, she thought little of her experiences— growing and eating bamboo, freshly picked quince and the like was commonplace—but she now attributes her food philosophy, in part, to those formative years. “This was just something that permeated my life from the beginning,” she says. “It’s hard to explain. This is kind of what I grew up with and it didn’t occur to me that it was unusual to want to use fresh produce and interesting produce.” Madison spent many years in the Bay Area, where she cooked at Green Gulch, City Center and in other posts at San Francisco’s Zen Center. Prior to opening her own restaurant, Greens, she spent time as a chef at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, which impacted her life dramatically.

“It just opened my eyes. This sounds really corny, but it literally was like a dream come true because Chez Panisse had food that I always imagined,” she says. “I ate my first meal there and that was it. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this isn’t the French food I was so disappointed in.’ I was going to restaurants where everything was kind of that continental cuisine type, but this was so sparkling. This was way before there were gardens and connections at Chez Panisse and all of that. It was not at its high point; it was at its starting point. It was just, ‘Oh yeah, that’s it; this resonates 100%.’”

The class When rain wasn’t a deterrent, class began by walking Rancho Tres Estrellas, the property’s six-acre garden that fuels Rancho La Puerta’s daily menus and where we picked some of the ingredients for our class creations. Rotating partners each day, we selected one of Madison’s recipes to prepare for the entire class, like Winter Squash Soup with Fried Sage, Red Lentil Soup with Lime and Spinach, Cabbage Gratin/ Pain au Chou and even a nonvegetarian dish: Poached Wild Salmon with AvocadoTarragon Sauce. Creating dishes from Madison’s own recipes that would soon be sampled by her might sound daunting but, instead, it was engaging. We were encouraged to ask questions, and when we or she felt one of our dishes was under-seasoned, she walked us out to the garden to find that perfect sprig of fresh marjoram or thyme.

Each five-hour day was devoted to a different topic: soups, salads and dressings, legumes and grains and vegetables. And each class began with a multi-varietal tasting: olive oil, vinegar and salt, respectively. Instructors shared kitchen basics, essential tools and knife skills (the proper way to dice an onion). Madison set before us devices that appeared foreign to some. And we learned to be resourceful. When all blenders were in use, and the motor of the one my partner and I were using burned out, we were presented with a food mill—a handcranked device that purées and strains soft foods—moments before being overtaken by that deer-in-headlights look. The act of preparing food with little or no electricity was novel, and most welcome, especially given our setting of rustic beauty. It was largely an exercise in slow food. Madison urged us to experiment—no pressure for perfection. On a whim, I seasoned and crisped kale remaining from a classmate’s recipe and received raved reviews from classmates, who have since replicated the simple recipe. Making hummus from scratch was humbling; it tastes fantastic, but is both time and labor intensive. Nowhere was the slow food mantra more apparent than during these classes. The experience was reminiscent of Girl or Boy Scouts: We learned, laughed and grew, forging relationships over a commonly beloved topic: food.

Madison’s Food Philosophy Madison and I sat down to breakfast together and discussed food culture and her philosophy on food. She shies away

She shies away from titles, like vegetarian, favoring instead a critical-thinking model of consumption. From where does your food come and how was it treated as it was grown or raised?

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edible San Diego


from titles, like vegetarian, favoring instead a critical-thinking model of consumption. From where does your food come and how was it treated as it was grown or raised? “I was always uncomfortable with vegetarian labels because, to me, it was kind of a shutting door instead of an opening door,” she says. “When I wrote Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, I didn’t even want to use the word vegetarian [in the title]. I thought, it can be for everyone; it doesn’t have to be an exclusive way of eating. We have a nation of non-vegetableeaters and here’s a huge resource for people to include more plant foods in their life; whether or not they’re vegetarian makes no difference to me. It’s their decision. My decision changes all the time, too.

her interest in health. She refused to change her eating habits. “She literally would rather die than lose weight,” he said. A personal relationship this destructive would be abruptly put to an end by most men or women, but severing ties with processed foods is just that—a process, and one that begins with getting to know our food more intimately. The fact that the Ranch’s wonderful staff kept us supplied with resources and did the dishes didn’t hurt, either.

Our relationship with food

In Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, the author asserts that the way a culture eats may have just as much of a bearing on health as She lights up when describing one method she employs for recipe what a culture eats. Our class interactions were an integral element creation: Determining which plants come from the same family and of cooking school. We congregated for each meal, digging in with pairing them accordingly. the excitement of a praise service at a church in the South. I’ve since dined with two classmates from San Diego, “I’m a real produce person. I didn’t grow up in a The greatest impact of the where we shared updates about our meatless family that ate a lot of meat, and the meat we ate cooking endeavors. was not that good, so I didn’t really grow up with course was its capacity to an appetite for it or a craving for it,” she says as she change our relationship with The greatest impact of the course was its describes her recipe-making methodology. food. The course was an antidote capacity to change our relationship with food. The course was an antidote to this sordid food “Usually I have some [initial] idea. For example, to this sordid food relationship relationship festering in our culture. By bringing I was just writing about plant families: salsify, us closer to our food, we can literally change the artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, radicchio—I festering in our culture. way we eat. thought , they’re all related and wouldn’t they be an interesting dish. So, there’s a clue,” she offers. “Then But it was also time spent outside of class, gleaning wisdom from I have them in front of me and I’m starting to think, ‘OK, how are unexpected food icons who have long called Rancho La Puerta their they best treated? Maybe roasting, but not the radicchio necessarily casa away from casa, like famed cookbook author Patricia Wells, who unless it’s a dry roast, so maybe it would be seared. I start thinking lives in Paris, where her thriving cooking school is popular among people about how these things would work together.” from around the world. We shared conversation over lunch, where she described Julia Child’s red KitchenAid mixer, now in her possession, and It’s trial and error and, if it doesn’t meet her standards within the first her adventurous life as a journalist, food writer and, now, food icon. three tries, she lets it go. Noted for her accessible meatless cooking, Madison seeks to put people in touch with preparing food cultivated from the Earth. “If you’re not used to it, it’s a stretch because it’s unfamiliar. For me, because I’ve been cooking and eating for a really long time, now I’m just happy,” she says. “The other night I made a radicchio salad and I had two or three other vegetables and some new potatoes from the garden. I thought, “Oh my god, this is the kind of vegetarian meal that people are scared to death of because it’s just plain vegetables. To [my husband and me], it tasted so good; it was so incredibly satisfying.”

Classmates Noah Laufer, one of 15 students who attended Deborah Madison’s four-day cooking school at La Cocina Que Canta, is a doctor in Anchorage, Alaska. He is also the main cook in his household, attending the classes to enhance his skills. The puzzling relationship with food we Americans have (counting calories rather than the miles our food travels, for instance) is clear to Laufer, who often treats patients who sorely need to change their eating habits. One such patient struggled with her overweight, but her love for the food she had long embraced trumped Noah Laufer observes Deborah’s knife skills.


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After 20 hours in the kitchen, miles of walking and a large helping of peace and quiet, I left the Ranch with an undeniable shift in energy, a vigor for veg and feeling charged with a slow food mentality. Brook Larios’ food articles appear online and in publications across San Diego County. She pens Nibbles, a weekly column in San Diego CityBeat; The Slow Lane, a monthly food justice column in San Diego Uptown News; and regularly contributes to Edible San Diego. Brook is principal/CEO of PlainClarity Communications. Her blog,, is dedicated to dishing the delicious.

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Leucadia’s Paul Ecke Central Elementary School teaches environmentally sound practices and sustainability by example


t is easy to see why the weekly Leucadia 101 Farmers’ Market and Craft Fair is one of the liveliest markets in the county. In addition to fresh produce, a multitude of other farm-direct foods, delectable international meals prepared on site, a dizzying array of crafts, and terrific products for the home gardener, this market boasts an array of user-friendly amenities for all comers. Its location at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School (PEC) on Vulcan Avenue provides an abundance of shaded picnic tables, a generous sand lot playground for youngsters and an inviting, grassy-sloped live music venue for music lovers of all ages.

An Elementary School Is Becoming a Garden By Mo Rafael

“A school curriculum and school lunch program where growing, cooking and sharing food at the table gives students the knowledge and values to build a humane and sustainable future.” edible San Diego

spring 2011

Bringing the community together Kathleen and Dennis Lees, Leucadia residents and happy habituės of the market, call it one of the highlights of their week. In addition to buying the fresh fruits and vegetables, they thoroughly enjoy the impromptu encounters they have with friends and acquaintances every Sunday. But what makes their hearts sing the loudest is witnessing more than 1,000 locals come together for this weekly happening and seeing the school used as a gathering place and community resource. Before the arrival of the farmers’ market many Encinitas-Leucadia residents had never had occasion to set foot on PEC’s campus. Now they are enjoying it every week with real pride of place. Indeed, they have adopted it as their neighborhood community center. Many locals like

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Under the direction of Ron LaChance, Paul Ecke Central’s PTA and the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association have hosted this 10am to 2pm Sunday market for six years, creating a real win-win for the community. Sixty percent of the market’s proceeds go back to the elementary school and the Main Street Association, and the schoolyard is transformed into a lively community park where local residents can shop and play in a festive atmosphere every weekend.

Photo: Ronald Gerber

Photos: Mo Rafael

Ron La Chance’s Leucadia Farmer’s Market and Craft Fair offers an abudant selection of organic produce.

Carol Patton and Mitch Shapiro, Nancy Princetta, Lexy Zingg, and Mike and Pohai Daugherty have noticed and taken delight in the successive enhancements made to the school grounds. In addition to the newest brightly colored mosaic tile wall installation (made by each member of PEC’s graduating sixth-grade class), locals get to witness and are welcome to participate in the “greening” and refurbishment of PEC’s campus. In 2009, the creation of an expansive succulent garden with a meandering Art Walk path was spearheaded by the PTA president, Carol Parker. “Everyone wants to join a winning team” is Carol’s pet saying, and she proved it true. No sooner was the succulent garden plot chosen than quantities of grass and weeds were rousted by a crew of 30 volunteers from Solana Presbyterian Church. Then students, parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors rallied to contribute succulent cuttings from their own yards. Design, rock and dirt moving, boulders and digging were all donated by businesses, including The English Gardener, Western Dirt, Southwest Boulder and Stone and Encinitas Union Elementary School District. Contributions to the Art Walk will be accepted on an ongoing basis.

As green transformations go, many landscape improvements made at PEC will take time to reach maturity and full visibility. But all farmers’ market visitors with a keen environmental eye have noticed a plethora of subtle aesthetic, ecological and educationally oriented improvements that have been made over the last five years.

Environmentalist Levan to the rescue! The vast majority of these improvements are thanks in large part to Russell Levan, a PEC parent, ecologist and green champion, and Kate David, a gardening wizard who lives just across the street from PEC. The most eyecatching of these is the transformation of the most visible student vegetable garden, known as the Friendship Garden, into a colorful raised-bed education center, complete with nearby “fertilizer factory”—an enormous red wriggler worm composting bin. Visiting the farmers’ market one day late last spring, Leucadia resident Michael Schmidt saw the Friendship Garden for the first time. He immediately caught the vision behind it. By late July he had singlehandedly organized a live music fundraiser in downtown Leucadia that netted $500 for the elementary school’s gardening program.

In addition to the student gardens, Russell Levan has left his green signature in several other areas at PEC over the last five years. Among these was a brilliant overhaul of PEC’s lunch program that proved to be ecofriendly, kid-friendly and teacher-friendly to boot. By switching the order of events during their lunch recess, the children now play first and then eat their lunches. One result of this switch is that the children are eating better and throwing away less food than they used to when they hurried through lunch so that they could get up and play. Another result that delights the PEC teachers is that their students are less tired, more attentive and better behaved than they used to be during afternoon classes. Other lunchtime modifications initiated by Levan include the substitution of recyclable paperboard cafeteria lunch trays for wasteful, ecologically unsound Styrofoam trays and a simple, child-sized waste station designed by Levan that enables the students to easily separate out trash, recyclables and reusables and wash their hands. These efficient modifications have reduced PEC’s haul of daily lunch waste from 20 large garbage sacks to only four. Note: The recyclable paperboard trays introduced by Levan have been adopted throughout the Encinitas Union Elementary

Photo: Ronald Gerber

Photo: Ronald Gerber

“I see it as totally necessary for us to help children see that environmentalism is the wave of the future and that we all must incorporate nature into our lives.”

Left: Russell Levan in the Friendship Garden. Above: Plant a Tree mosaic from the student mosic wall. spring 2011

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School District. This translates into the elimination of one trash dumpster at each of the district’s nine schools and the potential “greening” of the school district’s budget by $30,000 per year when they renegotiate their waste collection contracts. Without a doubt, Russell Levan qualifies as one of North San Diego County’s most enthusiastic environmentalists and community activists. As an environmentalist he is the founder of Recycled Products Cooperative, which sells well-priced recycled office and other paper products. As a community activist he has logged thousands of volunteer hours advocating for and helping construct parks in Encinitas and Leucadia. But he has clearly given his environmentalist’s heart and community activist’s soul to Paul Ecke Central Elementary, where his two daughters attend school.

A shady solution Slowly but surely, PEC has been undergoing a green metamorphosis thanks to his vision and community organizing know-how. Flowering vines have been planted along the eyesore chain-link fence that runs the length of the schoolyard; their eco-purpose is to temper the constant road dust and exhaust kicked up by the endless stream of cars on Vulcan Avenue. Deciduous shade trees have been planted on the west side of the third-grade classrooms to shield them from the heat of the afternoon sun in spring and fall and to reduce the need for and expense of air conditioning. As well, Levan has designed a clever water catchment system for watering these trees by catching the copious amounts of condensation produced by the air conditioners that are currently in use until the shade trees mature. Speaking of shade trees, PEC’s gardening committee will be calling for students, parents, teachers and community members to show up with shovels in hand come Earth Day this year. A grant proposal submitted to CAL FIRE by Parker and Levan was funded to the tune of 26 new shade trees and 14 fruit trees. The plan calls for an assortment of fruit trees that will be kept pruned to child height for easy harvesting. From one side of its campus to the other, PEC is benefitting from Levan’s green thumb and can-do attitude this school year. He and fellow eco-gardener Kate 38

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“My real interest is in teaching the children so they can go home and teach their parents. I believe that’s how real change will happen.” Levan shows students the red wiggler worms that compost food and paper waste from the school, creating fertilizer for the gardens. Photo: Ronald Gerber

David have installed water-efficient ollas (porous, unglazed clay pots long used by Native Americans as a watering system) in new garden beds on the west side of the schoolyard. On the east side of the campus the dynamic duo is constructing storage units out of scrap lumber with the goal of housing all of the students’ gardening equipment that has had to live out of doors until now. Upon completion these sheds will sport ecological green roofs covered with water-wise succulents. When asked what keeps him motivated Levan replied, “It’s seeing the children learn about and connect with their environment. My real interest is in teaching the children so they can go home and teach their parents. I believe that’s how real change will happen.” Creating a wealth of opportunities for PEC students to connect with their natural environment is what he and Kate David have in mind. In 2009 they spelled out their vision for PEC in a comprehensive 17-page proposal titled “Paul Ecke Central: School as a Garden.” First articulated by renowned chef and restaurateur Alice Waters and her Chez Panisse Foundation, the concept of School as Garden holds this vision for America’s schools: “a school curriculum and school lunch program where growing, cooking and sharing food at the table gives students the knowledge and values to build a humane and sustainable future.”

Bringing the classroom outside David and Levan’s proposal envisions weaving educational outdoor activities and learning opportunities into the elementary school curriculum. In addition to learning their math, science and language skills through hands-on activities in the soil-based and hydroponic gardens, children will learn cooking and nutrition from visiting chefs

and community volunteers in two proposed outdoor kitchens on the campus. Admittedly, this is a grand vision. But it appears that Russell Levan, Kate David and a coterie of dedicated PEC parent volunteers have generated an irrepressible movement in favor of getting the students out of the classroom and into nature. This school year Paul Ecke Central’s PTA has funded a new position for a coordinator of science education. That coordinator, Darcy Lyons, is bringing teachers and parents together to implement science curriculum in the gardens for the students of PEC. Joan Whitley, a teacher at Paul Ecke Central School since 1977, is an enthusiastic supporter of the School as Garden approach. She sees it as a fabulous way for children to make a connection with their natural environment, to learn to care for the environment and about what they put in their bodies. “In fact,” she says, “I see it as totally necessary for us to help children see that environmentalism is the wave of the future and that we all must incorporate nature into our lives. It would be so cool to see PEC ‘let go of the walls’—get the kids outside for their education and have the same community members who attend our farmers’ market come in and be hands-on in the gardens with us.” To volunteer your time, efforts or products to serve PEC’s larger vision of School as Garden, please contact PEC’s office manager Amy León at 760-944-4323, Mo Rafael is a freelance editor, writer, nutritionist, cooking teacher, vermiculturist, organic gardener, and novice outdoor hydroponic gardener. She is delighted to spread the word about the people and activities that champion healthier living, environmentalism and community building. She can be reached at

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Carruth Cellars is a boutique urban winery in the heart of Cedros Design District. Featuring California North Coast Reds along with Russian River Chardonnay & Lake Country Sauvignon Blanc. Our tasting room is open to the public 5 days a week. Cellar Club Members taste for free.


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North County’s Farm to Table Pizzeria 1503 30th Street in South Park 619.255.0616


Congratulations to Luca Banfi from Tender Greens San Diego for winning Best Pickles in the 2010 Good Food Awards!

Organic Wine • Craft Beer spring 2011

edible San Diego


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Pinch it . Grind It Shake it A peck of natural sea salt can bring out the depth of natural flavors in any dish.

Try our infusion, smoked and block salt.


Advertiser Directory


Our heartfelt gratitude to all our advertisers for their support in sustaining Edible San Diego. Please support them and thank them for helping make us a part of this community. You can find a complimentary copy of Edible San Diego at any of our advertisers and at local farmers’ markets. Other distribution spots are listed on

Alchemy 619-255-0616

Cafe Moto 619-239-6686

Hale Holistic 619-804-9430

San Diego Botanic Gardens Starlite 619-358-9766 760-436-3036

Ampolos Kitchen & Bath Design Center 858-576-9009

Carruth Cellars 858-847-9463

Italian American Art & Culture

Catalina Offshore Products 619-297-9797

JSix 619-531-8744

San Diego County Farm Bureau 760-745-3023

Anthony Imbimbo, CPA 619-497-1040

Art Academy of San Diego Coastal Sage Gardening 619-223-5229 619-231-3900 El Take it Easy

Barrio Star 619-501-7827

Fixtures Living

Blind Lady Ale House 619-255-2491 Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria 760-634-7671 Brian’s Farmers’ Markets


edible San Diego

San Diego EarthWorks

Sushi on a Roll 619-702-1468

Mistral 619-424-4000

SD Weekly Markets 619-233-3901

Suzie’s Farm 619-921-8135

Palomar Mountain Spring Water 800-227-0140

Sea Rocket Bistro 619-255-7049

Tender Greens 619-602-4721

She Sells Sea Salts 619-795-7433

The Fishery 858-272-9985

Slow Food San Diego, Urban San Diego and Temecula Valley

The Linkery 619-255-8778

Ritual Tavern 619-283-1720

Good Earth Plant Company 858-430-0575 Ron La Chance Farmers’ Markets 858-272-7054 Green Beef 888-524-1484 Sage Mountain Farm 951-767-1016

spring 2011

Sun Grown 619-921-8135

Specialty Produce 619 -295-3172

Urban Plantations 619-563-5771

Farmers’ Markets MONDAY

Escondido—Welk Resort 8860 Lawrence Welk Dr. off Old Hwy 395 1 – sunset fall/winter 3 – 7 pm spring/summer 760-751-4193

TUESDAY Coronado 1st St. & B Ave. , Ferry Landing 2:30 – 6 pm 760-741-3763 Escondido * Grand Ave. btw Juniper & Kalmia 3:30 – 7 pm May to Sept 2:30 – 6 pm Oct to Apr 760-745-8877 Mira Mesa * Mira Mesa High School 10510 Reagan Rd. 3 – 7 pm (3 – 6 pm winter) 858-272-7054 Otay Ranch—Chula Vista 2015 Birch Rd. and Eastlake Blvd. 4 – 8 pm (4 – 7 pm winter) 619-279-0032 Spring Valley Opens March 15 Bancroft Dr. & Spring Dr. & Hwy 94 3 –7 pm March to Sept 3 –6 pm Oct to March 619-449-8427 UCSD/La Jolla UCSD Campus, Town Square at Gilman/Meyers 10 am–2 pm (Sept. 30 to June) 858-534-4248

WEDNESDAY Adams Avenue 4674 35th St. at John Adams Elementary 3 – 7 pm year round 619-233-3901 Bonita Valley Reopens Mar. 16 Bonita Valley Comm. Church 4744 Bonita Rd. 3 – 7 pm 619-954-4810 Carlsbad * Roosevelt St. btw Grand Ave. & Carlsbad Village Dr. 1 – 5 pm 760-687-6453

Ocean Beach 4900 block of Newport Ave. 4–7 pm (summer 4–8 pm) 619-279-0032

San Marcos *# Cal State San Marcos 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd. 1 – 6 pm (1 – sunset, fall-winter) 760-751-4193 Santee * 10445 Mission Gorge Rd. 3 – 7 pm 619-449-8427 Temecula* 40820 Winchester Rd. btw Macy’s & JC Penney 9 am – 1 pm 760-728-7343 Tu Mercado University of San Diego Campus 5998 Alcalá Park 11 am – 2 pm

THURSDAY Chula Vista Center St. off Third Ave. 3 – 7 pm (3 – 6 pm fall/winter) 619-422-1982 Del Sur Mkt & Family Festival Camino Del Norte & Lone Quail Rd. 3 – 7 pm 858-586-7933 Horton Square San Diego 225 Broadway & Broadway Circle 11 am – 3 pm, March to November 760-741-3763 North Park CVS Pharmacy 3151 University & 32nd St. 3 – 7 pm year round 619-233-3769 Oceanside Market & Faire * Pier View Way & Coast Hwy. 101 9 am –1 pm 619-440-5027 Oceanside Sunset Tremont & Pier View Way 5 – 9 pm (winter 4 – 8 pm) 760-754-4512 SDSU Campanile Walkway btw Hepner Hall& Love Library 10 am – 3 pm

University Town Center Genesee Ave. at UTC Westfield Shopping Plaza 3 – 7 pm 619-795-3363

FRIDAY Borrego Springs Christmas Circle Comm. Park 7 am – noon, November 5–June 760-767-5555 Encinitas – FAME Opens in May Encinitas Town Center 2 – 6 pm 760-230-2512 Fallbrook 102 S. Main, at Alvarado 10 am – 2 pm 760-390-9726 Imperial Beach * Seacoast Dr. at Pier Plaza 2 – 7:30 pm (Oct-Mar, 2 – 7 pm) 619-397-1917 La Mesa Village * 8300 block of Allison Ave. 3 – 6 pm 619-440-5027 Mission Hills Falcon St. btw West Washington & Ft. Stockton 3 – 7 pm (3 – 6 pm winter) 858-272-7054 Mission Valley # Mission Cntr. Rd. at Camino Del Rio N. 3 – 7 pm 619-795-3363 Rancho Bernardo Bernardo Winery parking lot 13330 Paseo del Verano Norte 9 am – noon 760-500-1709 Southeast San Diego 600 Euclid Ave. at Market St. 2 – 6 pm 619-262-2022

SATURDAY Carlsbad * Roosevelt St. btw Grand Ave. & Carlsbad Village Dr. 1 – 5 pm 760-687-6453 City Heights *#! Wightman St. & Fairmount Ave. 9 am – 1 pm 760-751-4193

Del Mar 1050 Camino Del Mar 1 – 4 pm 760-586-0373

Little Italy Mercato Date St. (Kettner to Union) 9 am – 1:30 pm 619-233-3769 Pacific Beach 4150 Mission Blvd. 8 am – noon 760-741-3763 Poway * Old Poway Park 14134 Midland Rd. at Temple 8 – 11:30 am 619-440-5027 Ramona * Mid-March 1855 Main St. (K-Mart) 9 am–1 pm 760-788-1924 Scripps Ranch 10380 Spring Canyon Rd. & Scripps Poway Parkway 9 am – 1 pm 858-586-7933 Temecula * Old Town Temecula Sixth & Front St. 8 am – 12:30 pm 760-728-7343 Vista * County Courthouse 325 Melrose Dr. South of Hwy 78 8 am – 12:30 pm 760-945-7425

SUNDAY Bonsall (closed until spring) River Village Shopping Center 5256 S. Mission Rd. at Hwy 76 9:30 am – 1:30 pm 208-553-4700 Escondido NEW! Sikes Adobe Farmstead 12655 Sunset Dr. 1 – 5 pm 760-670-8642 Fallbrook (temporarily closed) 139 S. Main 11 am – 3 pm 760-390-9726 Gaslamp San Diego 400 block of Third Ave. 9 am – 1 pm 619-279-0032

spring 2011

Hillcrest * DMV parking lot 3960 Normal & Lincoln Sts. 9 am – 2 pm 619-237-1632

Julian Wynola Farms Marketplace 4470 Hwy 78, west of Julian 11 am – 4 pm 760-885-8364 La Jolla Open Aire Girard Ave. & Genter, La Jolla Elem. School 9 am – 1 pm 858-454-1699 Leucadia * 185 Union St. & Vulcan St. 10 am – 2 pm 858-272-7054 Point Loma # Corner of Cañon & Rosecrans 9:30 am – 2:30 pm 619-795-3363 Rancho Bernardo – Webb Park 16826 Bernardo Center Dr. 10 am – 4 pm 858-206-5704 Rancho Santa Fe Del Rayo Village 16079 San Dieguito Rd. 9 am – 2 pm ; 10 am – 2 pm fall/ winter 858-922-5135 Solana Beach 410 to 444 South Cedros Ave. 1 – 5 pm 858-755-0444 * Market vendors accept WIC (Women, Infants, Children Farmers’ Market checks) # Market vendors accept EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) ! Currently only City Heights accepts WIC Farmers’ Market Checks and the WIC Fruit and Vegetable Checks. All San Diego County markets listed except SDSU are certified by the County Agricultural Commissioner. Please visit and click on “Resources” for more complete information and links to farmers’ market websites.

edible San Diego


San Diego EarthWorks presents…

EarthFair 2011 “Take It Back”

Sunday, April 17 • Balboa Park • 10am - 5pm

The World’s Largest Free Environmental Fair and Earth Day Celebration produced by Volunteers –––––––––––––––––––––––––

More than 350 Exhibitors on our environment and quality of life Children’s Earth Parade & Activity Area eARTh Gallery Cleaner Car Concourse Entertainment Earth-Friendly Foods

––––––––––––––––––––––––– For complete information, or to volunteer, visit EarthFair 2011 is sponsored in part by a grant from the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture

Edible San Diego - Spring 2011 issue  
Edible San Diego - Spring 2011 issue  

Jeff Jackson, SDSU Embraces Sustainable Food, Mountain Meadow Mushroom Farm, Secret Suppers, Cooking School with Deborah Madison, Paul Ecke...