in this issue
Events This Week
Butternut Squash
Delicious Dishes
Brain Food
Need Your Help!

featured links
What's New Online
Take Action
Om Organics


Tasty Bites 10.19.04
Event updates each week; more extensive edibles every other

Events This Week
Millennium Restaurant Annual Chili Dinner
Wed, 10/20/04
Millennium Restaurant, 580 Geary St, at Jones in SF;
4-Course $45 Prix Fixe Menu/$12 Beer Pairings
Some Are Hot, Hot, Hot & Some Are Not, Not, Not! ...A celebration of the Pepper of all shapes, sizes, colors, and spice levels. Eric Tucker has designed a 4-course menu chock full of crazy amounts of chilies, and don't be alarmed if Amy's desserts have got them too! Plenty of mouth-cooling libations readily available to hose down your palates in between courses. Call 415.345.3900 for reservations.

FOOD FIGHT! A Lively Discussion of Today's Most Challenging Food Choices
Fri, 10/22/04, 1:00pm-6:30pm
The Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St. in SF;
$65 SFPFS members, $75 non-members
The first major educational forum organized by the San Francisco Professional Food Society. A half-day forum to discuss the impact of the decisions we make about food--from federal policy to personal preference--on the world around us. FOOD FIGHT! will explore competing claims, their risks and benefits, and the impact of various choices both globally and in our neighborhoods.

Meet the Farmer: David Winsberg of Happy Quail Farms
Sat, 10/23/04, 10:00am-10:30am
In front of the Ferry Building, Embarcardero/Market; Free
Get the lowdown straight from the producer.

Organic Winter Gardens
Sat, 10/23/04, 10:00am-12:30pm
Crissy Field Center, 603 Mason Street at Halleck; $15/person
Wondering what to grow in the winter months, besides kale? Visit the Presidio community garden, then create a customized planting and planning calendar for your garden. Includes info on cover cropping and transplant seedlings to take home. Call 415-561-7752 to register.

Fall Fruit Tasting & Cooking Demonstrations
Sat, 10/23/04, 10:00am - 3:00pm
Berkeley Farmers' Market, Center St. at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way; Free
With Annie Somerville (Greens Restaurant; author, Field of Greens) at 11am and Lucy Aghadjian (Lucy Aghadjian Catering) at 11:30am, as well as the best local organic farmers and prepared food vendors. An opportunity to sample the Apples, European pears, Asian pears, persimmons, etc., cooking demos and book signing.

Shop With the Chef: Molly Stevens~ Cookbook Author
Sat, 10/23/04, 10:30am-11:30am
In front of the Ferry Building, Embarcardero/Market in SF; Free
See and taste what seasonal produce local chefs are buying and cooking!

SOL (Sustaining Ourselves Locally) Fall Harvest
Sat, 10/23/04, 11:00am-4:00pm; 8:00pm-late
Sol, 1236 23rd Ave. in Oakland; $5-10 donation
To celebrate the fall harvest Sol is having an open house, fundraiser, and party. Open house 11am-4pm: Come for a guided tour of the site, meet the Sol members, and hear about plans for the future. Party (8pm-late): At night, hang out at a more relaxed fundraising party with live bands, open gardens, and local residential artists open studios.

Butternut Squash

One of the most popular and versatile winter squashs, with a thinner rind (can be peeled with a carrot peeler) and a sweet, rich, nutty flavor - similar to sweet potatoes.

You can bake, boil, saute, steam or roast butternut squash; you can also cube, slice, mash or puree it. Whatever your hungry heart desires. Before cooking it with any method, cut it in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds.

Look for: Squash that is heavy for its size, and has a uniform shape, and no soft spots. If they're picked at the right time, they're a creamy tan color with yellow-orange flesh.

Storage: Keep at room temparature and off the ground, if possible. Don't stack squash, or store in paper or plastic bags. If stored properly, they should last up to 2 or 3 months.

See pictures and read more about What's in Season - Squash.

Delicious Dishes

What can you make with butternut squash? Basic bakers should place squash, cut side down, in glass baking dish, pour on a cup of water, and bake at 350°F until skin is blistered and brown, and flesh is tender. (About 1 hour, 15 minutes.)

Or, expand your squash horizons with a version of these...

Venus Restaurant: Butternut squash & goat cheese tart w/ apple salad.

Firefly: Italian provolone-stuffed risotto cakes w/ roasted butternut squash sauce & mixed zesty greens.

Bizou: Spicy coppa salami & grilled butternut squash w/ salsa verde & watercress.

Greens: Deep dish pie of yellow finn potatoes, butternut squash, crimini mushrooms, turnips, celery root, carrots, peppers & leeks baked in a mushroom sherry sauce under a parmesan-mashed potato crust.

Absinthe: Grilled rib-eye steak with thyme-bread-crumb salsa, brussels sprouts & roasted butternut squash purée.

Read more about butternut squash recipes in What's in Season - Squash.
Send us your dishes, and we'll post them on our next newsletter!

Brain Food

Your semi-weekly snack of knowledge.

This week's topic: the stuff we drink and need to survive...Fresh Water.

The largest negative impact of conventional farming is its contamination of our fresh water supply. This is the #1 urgent health concern according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

Run-off from normal irrigation Farms use chemicals on their crops where they soak into the soil. From natural irrigation, these substances run off into the groundwater (wells, basins, rivers, etc.), which supplies about 30% of our fresh water.

Water supplies test positive The U.S. Geological Survey found that more than 50% of the fresh water wells they sampled contained one or more pesticides. Results were worse in areas close to agricultural areas.

Beginning in 1995, the Environmental Working Group also began testing tap water pesticide and herbicide levels in agricultural areas of the U.S. and discovered widespread contamination by several types of pesticides. The levels were remarkable, exceeding federal lifetime health standards in just a few weeks or months.

Increased exposure to toxins When these pesticides and fertilizers enter our natural water supply, we again are exposed to the ill health effects of the toxins. (More...)

Irreversible damage In a recent WorldWatch report, the "toxic brew" of pesticides, nitrogen-rich fertilizers and industrial chemicals are said to be creating irreversible pollution to our groundwater around the globe.

Farms harming their own resource Ironically, the conventional agriculture industry uses approximately 70% of our freshwater to grow its crops, and yet it is responsible for the most contamination to its own essential resource.

Organic alternative For our own health and sustainability, we need to adopt farming methods that do not contaminate our vital resources.

More about the benefits of organics.

Are you a knowledge binger? Read ahead about What's Organic?
Why Local?

Need Your Help!

Om Organics is a project of the San Francisco Foundation-Community Initiative Funds, and can only continue with the help of foundation grants and individual contributions. If you support sustainability in the Bay Area, please help us with your tax-deductible donation.

Any amount is appreciated!
You can make a donation:

  • via to
  • by credit card: 415-733-8583 (SFF CIF Office)
  • by check: "Om Organics: Project of SFF CIF", 225 Bush St. #500, SF, CA 94104


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