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News n Notes
Scoop on Seafood
Feed the Fire!

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What's New Online
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Om Organics


Tasty Bites 8.22.07
Help spread the word & pass this on!

Oh, seafood. Tasty, tasty seafood. This issue is dedicated to what's happening in our oceans and our succulent seafood supply. There's a lot going on, and below is a hopefully easily digestable package. Check it out.

News n Notes

First, a few bits of news and info...

Calling all mixologists, bartenders & drinkers!
Get your drink on for the 1st Annual National "Square Off" Organic Cocktail Competition with Square One Organic Vodka, and benefiting Om Organics and CUESA....

Submit your seasonal cocktail idea on the site

Vote for your favorite single cocktail

Get tix to party at the Ferry Building on Tue 9/25 ~ Iron-Chef-style finals including competition cocktails made with a seasonal secret ingredient, and tasty morsels provided by Robbie Lewis at Bacar.
10 bucks. 5:30pm-7:30pm.

Yield is 1-year-old!
The coolest wine bar in the city by far, Yield in Dogpatch turned one this month! Unfortunately, co-owner Chris was busy training for his first marathon so didn't plan any celebration! Stop in and wish them well on their next year bringing us tasty biodynamic and organic wines, awesome flatbread pizzas, and funky local art. 2490 3rd/23rd. 415.401.8984. Closed Sundays.

Cool new restaurant, shop, wine bar:
Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant

What a great concept: Casual breakfast from the counter in the morn, California-Italian lunch and dinner in the dining room, and food & wine retail shop and wine bar in the adjoining space. All locally-sourced food ingredients (of course); global wine list. From the Oola crew: Ola Fendert, Maria Hilario-Fendert, Mark Bright and John Stricklin. Opening soon SOMA at 330 First/Harrisson.

Want to check out a farm?
Dennis Dierks at Paradise Valley Produce in Bolinas needs a few occasional farm helpers. Fun (work) in the sun, and you can take home freshly-picked organic produce! If you're interested, give Dennis a call at 415.868.0205 - early morning, midday around 1, or after 5 is best.

Check out some great shots on the farm.

Seafood Events
In theme with the issue, check out two upcoming seafood happenings:
Commonwealth Club Talk & Lunch: Fish Forever - at Farallon Restaurant - 8/30

Sustainable Seafood Benefit Dinner at Scott Howard Restaurant - 9/6

The Scoop on Seafood

sustainable seafood = wild-caught or farmed seafood that can maintain or increase its production in the long-term without affecting ecosystems.

bycatch = fish and animal species accidentally caught that are thrown back, usually dead.

Current Sad State of Seafood

  • 75% of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited (yielding less than their potential), overly-exploited (producing close to or above their sustainable limit), or depleted.
  • 90% of large ocean predators have been fished out in the past 50 years.
  • Many fish stocks are one-tenth what they were 50 years ago.
  • By 2050 major fish species, including tuna, scallops, lobster, and flounder, could all be extinct.

And yet……

  • 1 billion people around the world rely on fish as their primary source of protein.
  • Over the last thirty years, demand for seafood has doubled and is anticipated to grow at 1.5% per year through 2020.
  • Seafood consumption in the US has risen 10% since 2001.
  • To meet estimated demand by 2020, supply would have to increase 20% over 2005 production levels.
  • Aquaculture production would have to double by 2050 to meet this growing demand.
  • While fish are high in healthy omega-3 acids, they can be high in hazardous mercury levels and - increasingly - other pesticide toxins.

Typical Good Fishing

  • Hook and Lining (wild)—Any method with a hook, line and bait. Boats may have many lines in the water at once, which they lay across a large area (aka long-lining) or pull behind the boat to create a moving lure (aka trolling). This is a more sustainable way of catching fish, with minimal bycatch.
  • Static Traps (wild)—Traps and pots are placed on the ocean floor to capture and hold live bottom-feeders until they are hoisted up. This can be a good method if the traps do not damage the bottom floor and live bycatch is thrown back.
  • SOME Offshore pens (farmed)—Some (but very few) meticulously-run offshore pens in unpolluted waters have been shown to produce clean, sustainable species.

Typical Bad Fishing

  • Net/Trap Dragging (wild)—Dragging a net (aka trawling), a net with weights and/or wheels (aka bottom trawling), or a heavy trap (aka dredging) behind a boat. Anything in its path is captured, resulting in significant bycatch and severe damage to the ocean floor and coral reefs.
  • Nets (wild)— Can be an anchored wall of netting that fish’s gills get caught in (aka gillnetting) or an anchored net that fishermen scoop up a school of fish and close it like a drawstring purse (aka purse seining). These methods result in significant bycatch and damage to the ocean floor when they are anchored on the bottom floor.
  • MOST Offshore Pens (farmed)—Often overcrowded and left indefinitely in the same location causing:
    • Contamination of native species—Fish inevitably escape, contaminating or interbreeding with the native species.
    • Water pollution—Large amounts of feces can settle on the ocean floor damaging and polluting the water.
    • Disease—Diseases and sea lice are easily spread when fish are kept in close proximity, resulting in more antibiotics use. (Just this month, over 1.2 million salmon died or had to be killed due to a deadly virus found in fish farms.)
  • Enclosed ponds (farmed)—Because farms are enclosed areas and notoriously overcrowded like offshore pens, disease and antibiotics as well as growth hormones are common.
  • Unsustainable fishmeal (farmed)—It takes 2-10 lbs of ocean fishmeal to produce just 1.5 lbs of carnivorous fishmeat like salmon. Not sustainable.

Problems with Regulating/Certifying

  • Hard to monitor—Only 4 of the top 10 fish-producing countries have signed the 1995 UN agreement that monitors responsible fishing, and most international water fisheries are rarely monitored. There are international agreements protecting some species, but many laws and pacts are skirted.
  • Hard to certify—It’s hard to control the inputs of harvested seafood or toxicity in open waters. Fishmeal is often made from wild fish, and little is known about what they’ve eaten or absorbed. Certifying vegetarian fish is much easier.

What’s Being Done?

  • Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an independent nonprofit, has developed an international standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries, including their eco-label for consumers. Whole Foods Fresh Direct in NY, Wal Mart, among others, have partnered with MSC.
  • Seafood Safe tests mercury and PCBs in seafood and certifies consumer products with the Seafood Safe seal.
  • FishWise, based in Santa Cruz, helps retail stores source and label sustainably-caught seafood for consumers.
  • The National Organics Standards Board (NOSB) is meeting in November to discuss fishmeal, fish oil, and open-net pens. An interim bivalve report is up for public comment until Nov. 9th.
  • Over 20 countries recently approved a UN agreement limiting trawling. It takes effect this September 30th. Not sure how it will be enforced though...
  • Conservation Magazine interviewed the brightest minds in ocean conservation and came up with Top 10 Ways to Save the Oceans.
  • The Scottish salmon farming industry is conducting a groundbreaking assessment of the sustainability of their trade which will hopefully lead to other studies of its kind.
  • A new, more sustainable fishmeal is being developed by Advanced BioNutrition.
  • A multi-million-dollar Canadian experiment is underway to develop a sustainable, closed-containment salmon farming system.
  • UK’s Birds Eye, who produces nearly 80% of UK frozen fish fingers, are switching from increasingly rare cod to more sustainable pollock.
  • San Francisco-based CleanFish is a new brand and distributor of sustainably caught/raised fish.

What Can You Do?

  • Look for the Marine Stewardship Council MSC label.
  • Carry the Seafood Watch pocket guide for eco-friendly shopping and dining out. Eat less of the big guys such as salmon, tuna, swordfish, and sharks; eat lower on the food chain such as clams, oysters, mollusks, anchovies, and sardines; they reproduce faster and are more abundant.
  • Check out the Oceans Alive easy-chart to identify high- and low-mercury seafood choices.
  • Shop from sustainable seafood retailers and suppliers; some can deliver right to your home. And be sure to suggest these suppliers at your favorite restaurant!
  • Snack on Whale Tail Chips, a new whale-tail-shaped tortilla chip, whose shape is perfect for scooping and whose profits fund ocean conservation.
  • Cook with the Sustainable Seafood Cookbook. Published by the Smithsonian, includes 150 recipes and shopping tips from some of America’s top chefs.
  • Talk to fishermen at your local farmer’s market about their fishing practices.
More info
Fishing methods
Seafood Watch
Oceans Alive
...and more resources


Check our organically-inclined Events page for more happenins as they are announced.

McEvoy Olive Ranch Tour
Fri, 8/24/07, 10:00am-12:00pm
Petaluma; $15 MALT member / $20 non-member

Full Moon Feasts
Sat, 8/25/07
Berkeley; $40 donation / $10 for kids under 12

Mediterranean Food Gardening Class
Sat, 8/25/07, 10:30am-12:30pm
Palo Alto; $25

Seasonal cooking demonstration ~ Bryant Terry, Co-author Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen
Sat, 8/25/07, 11:00am
SF; Free

Slow Food Yolo Village Feast
Sat, 8/25/07, 12:00pm
Davis; $65/person, $55/Slow Food members

Seasonal cooking demonstration and book signing ~ Annie Somerville, author of Field of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes From The Celebrated Greens Restaurant
Sat, 8/25/07, 12:00pm
SF; Free

Food and Farming On Film: 3 short films + a series of shorts
Sat, 8/25/07, 5:00pm-10:00pm
Pittsburg - near Brentwood; $15; $10 for students & slow food members

Tomato U-Pick at Mariquita Farm
Sat, 8/25/07, 9:00am-2:00pm
Watsonville; Free

U-Pick Sunday's at Chileno Valley Ranch
Sun, 8/26/07, 10:00am-3:00pm

Heirloom Tomato Cooking Class at Millennium Restaurant
Sun, 8/26/07, 10:00am-3:00pm
SF; $135/person

Organic Planet Festival
Sun, 8/26/07, 11:00am-7:00pm
Eureka; $7 advance, $10 at the door

Taste of Marin 2007
Sun, 8/26/07, 4:00pm reception, 6:30pm dinner
San Rafael; $150

Recchiuti Dinner at Slow Club
Sun, 8/26/07, 6:00pm-9:00pm
SF; $75 per person, not including tax and gratuity.

Valley Orchard Farm Tour
Sun, 8/26/07, 8:45am-5:00pm
SF; $25, includes lunch

Storrs Winery Sustainable Farming Case Study & Open House
Mon, 8/27/07, 11:00am
Corralitos; Free, but please RSVP as parking is limited to 25 cars.

36th Birthday of Chez Panisse
Tue, 8/28/07

Jorgé Ordoñez Spanish Wine Dinner at Baywolf Restaurant with Farmstead Cheeses & Wines
Tue, 8/28/07, 7:00pm
Oakland; $115 per person, including tax and gratuity

Annual Tomato Dinner at Millennium Restaurant
Wed, 8/29/07, 5:30pm-9:00pm reservations
SF; 5-course prix fixe, $60/person, $22/optional wine pairing

Commonwealth Club Talk & Lunch: Fish Forever - at Farallon Restaurant
Thu, 8/30/07, 11:30am checkin, 12:00pm lunch/program, 1:30pm booksigning
SF; $65 for Members, $75 for Non-Members

Gastronomy by the Bay - San Francisco
Sat-Mon, 9/1/07-9/3/07
SF; $350-$1000

Seasonal cooking demonstrations ~ Mark Dommen of One Market (11) and Roland Passot of La Folie (noon)
Sat, 9/1/07, 11:00am-1:00pm
SF; Free

Local Chef & Farmer Pairing: Macy's Cellar ~ Ame Restaurant & Devoto Gardens
Wed, 9/5/07, 6:00pm
SF; $10 donation to CUESA

Sustainable Seafood Benefit Dinner at Scott Howard
Thu, 9/6/07, 6:00pm
SF; $300/person; $5000/corporate table (5 guests)

Dairy Delight: Straus Dairy Tour with Greenbelt Alliance
Fri, 9/7/07, 11:30am-2:00pm
Tomales Bay; Free

Seasonal cooking demonstration ~ John Toulze, Chef at the girl & the fig and Co-Author of the girl & the fig
Sat, 9/8/07, 11:00am
SF; Free

Local, Organic Supper and Fair-Trade, Organic Chocolate Tasting
Tue, 9/11/07, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Palo Alto; $50; $45 for Conexions members, seniors and lower-income

Thu, 9/13/07, 11:00am-3:00pm
Point Reyes Station; $25 MALT members / $30 non-members

Cooking Class: Back to School – Salads and Vegetables at TWO Restaurant
Sat, 9/15/07
SF; $80/person

National Organic Homebrew Challenge 2007
Your house

Vegetarian Cooking Class: "Demystifying Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan"
Sat, 9/15/07, 10:00am-1:00pm
Oakland; $45 (in advance), plus $5 food/materials fee (due on day of class).

Seasonal cooking demonstration ~ Keith Hammerich, Executive Chef of City College
Sat, 9/15/07, 11:00am
SF; Free

35th Anniversary FUNdraising Garden Party for Common Ground
Sat, 9/15/07, 5:00pm-9:00pm
Woodside; Donations

Bay Wolf Restaurant's Annual Double Duck Dinners
Sun-Tue, 9/16/07-9/18/07
Oakland; $52/$45

Point Reyes Vineyard Grape Stomping - Benefit for Marin Agricultural Land Trust
Sun, 9/16/07, 11:00am-3:00pm
Point Reyes; $20 MALT members / $25 non-members, Children $5 / $8 non-members

Tomato Fest
Sun, 9/16/07, 12:30pm-4:30pm
Carmel; $85-$295

Milk & Honey Tour with CUESA: Spring Hill Cheese, Petaluma Creamery, Marshall's Farm Honey
Sun, 9/16/07, 8:30am-5:00pm
Petaluma; $25, includes lunch

Commonwealth Club: Great Wine Can Be Made Sustainably ~ with Mike Grgich, Cofounder of Grgich Hills Winery
Wed, 9/19/07, 5:30 p.m., Reception | 6:00 p.m., Program
SF; $8 for Commonwealth Members, $15 for Non-Members

Tour: McEvoy Olive Ranch
Fri, 9/21/07, 10:00am-12:00pm
Petaluma; $15 MALT member / $20 non-member

Second Annual Berkeley Sustainability Summit
Fri, 9/21/07, 9:00am-3:00pm
Berkeley; tbd

Seasonal cooking demonstration ~ Robbie Lewis of Bacar
Sat, 9/22/07, 11:00am
SF; Free

Marin Sun Farms Tour
Sun, 9/23/07, 10:00am-2:00pm (approx)
Inverness; $30 per Adult, $10 per Child (no children under 5)

National Seasonal Cocktail Mixology Finals: party, cocktails and snacks ~ with CHOW Mag, Om Organics, Square One Vodka & Bacar Restaurant
Tue, 9/25/07, 5:30pm-7:30pm
SF; $10/person

Feed the Fire!

Even a little snack! If you use these newsletters, use our website, or simply enjoy having delicious, organic food in the Bay Area, please support our programs that serve local, organic farms and the community. Om Organics is a project of the San Francisco Foundation - Community Initiative Funds, and can only continue with the help of contributions from conscientious people like you!

Any amount is appreciated!
You can make a donation:

  • via to
  • by credit card: via the SFF CIF donation page
  • by check: "Om Organics: Project of SFF CIF", 225 Bush St. #500, SF, CA 94104


© 2007 Om Organics 8.22.07-67