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Tasty Bites 12.20.07
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Still scrambling around for a tree, some gifts, and tasty morsels for your holiday table? We've got you. Haven't been keeping up with everything's that been happening in the world of food with all the holiday madness? We've got you there too. Happy reading!
Oh Christmas Tree...
Though you might not think of Christmas trees as a row crop like corn or lettuce, they're cultivated on over 450,000 acres across the country. That means you face the same choices in your Christmas tree purchase as you do with things you eat - organic or conventional, IPM or pesticide-treated, local or imported...
Luckily, a source for sustainably grown Christmas trees is close at hand: Double K Christmas Tree farm will be at the Ferry Plaza and Marin Farmers Markets through the holiday season.
Another super-green option this holiday season is Friends of the Urban Forests' tree program - they'll deliver a potted tree to your home and then pick it up from you and plant it once the holidays are over.
Real or Fake: Which is greener?
Treehugger's Guide to Pick A Green Tree
Treehugger.com's gift guide
Crabby About Crab
Though California state authorities have issued an official announcement declaring local crab safe, the season's been off to a slow start. Check for fresh-off-the-boat availability by calling the piers:
Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay: (650) 726-5727
Royal Seafood, Monterey: (831) 655-8326
Monterey Fish Co., Monterey: (831) 375-3511
Moss Landing Harbor, Moss Landing: (831) 633-2461
Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg: (707) 964-4719
Spud Point Harbor, Bodega Bay: (707) 875-3535
...or pick some up at the the Ferry Building's San Francisco Fish Company.
Get Rid of Leafy Green E.Coli, Not Small Farmers
The Western Growers' Association is trying to (over)compensate for the fallout from last year's E.coli hysteria by pushing a one-size-fits all marketing standard nationwide.
The problem is that the standards subject all farmers to the same regulatory burden -- from small, diversified family farms to huge corporate monocroppers. And they set the stage for less biodiversity, less flexibility in using organic soil amendments, and more costly bureaucracy for the small farmer.
There's also no distinction drawn between producers of fresh-cut greens from the field and pre-packaged bagged salad -- even though bagged greens are the source of 98.5% of contamination incidents.
Now, the USDA is considering implementing these rules under a federal Leafy Greens marketing agreement. If it passes, it would impose onerous standards on all producers of leafy greens who wish to distribute through channels other than direct-to-consumer (farmers markets, CSAs, etc.). This is not good.
Here's what you can do:
Sign an e-letter
Write a letter to the USDA:
Marketing Order Administration Branch
Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 0237
*Make sure that you reference Docket Number AMS-FV-07-0090*
Food Issues Radar
Feathers flying over confinement systems
The Humane Society and and Farm Sanctuary are gathering signatures to add a Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act measure to the California ballot. Basically, the HSUS and FS are calling for a ban on:
Gestation crates in hog production
Battery cages in egg operations
This shouldn't be an issue for the producers we like, but since California is a huge producer of eggs and dairy in particular, it's going to affect the way your food is raised.
As if you needed another reason to buy organic
The USDA just approved the use of methyl iodide, declared a dangerous carcinogen by a number of concerned scientists, to replace methyl bromide (MB) in strawberry production. Why do you care? California produces about 85% of the country's strawberries, and with Florida, accounts for about 75% of methyl bromide use in the country.
Sign the Pesticide Action Network's letter to the EPA
Biotech sugar beets designed to be Roundup-resistant are set to be planted on a large scale next spring. That means even more herbicide use as well as the entry of a new GMO crop.
Send a no-GMO message to the food processors who will be using the freaky sugar.
Adagia - Cal-Mediterranean eclecticism in a cozy, classy setting reminiscent of an art nouveau coffee salon. Bancroft across from UC Berkeley.
Bar Jules - The menu at this Euro/Latino-inflected newcomer changes daily, highlighting what's fresh and seasonal. Hayes/Laguna, San Francisco.
Blue Barn Gourmet - Purveyor of portable slow food victuals: sandwiches, salads, specialty cheese and Oak Hill Farm charcuterie. Chestnut/Pierce, San Francisco.
Flora - Get your (upscale) comfort food fix from the people who brought you Dona Tomas and Tacubaya, Telegraph/19th, Oakland.
Serpentine - A meat-lover's Cal-Med menu from the owner and chef of Slow Club. 2495 Third/22nd, San Francisco.
Tinderbox - Experimental modern American with a roll call of local farms and food artisans on the menu that reads like a who's who of NorCal organic. Cortland/Ellsworth, San Francisco.
The Warming Hut - Crissy Field's humble, yet beloved temple of organic, locally sourced snacks is back from the dead (read: fire). Mason/West Bluff, San Francisco.
New Books & Calendars
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto - Michael Pollan expands on his philosophy of "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
Tassajara Cookbook: Lunches, Picnics and Appetizers - Oodles of vegetarian and vegan ideas from the SF Bay Area Zen retreat, plus a formidable dairyless baking section.
Fresh from the Farm & Garden: Seasonal Recipes for Busy Cooks - 217 recipes plus cooking tips and food/nutrition background from the farmy folks at the UCSC Ctr for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems.
Kitchen Literacy: How We Lost Knowledge of Where Food Comes from and Why We Need to Get It Back - A detailed history of the modern food system and American culinary culture, from the 18th century kitchen and industrial food up to the farmers markets of today.
The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution - The newest paean to ethicureanism from the queen of local, seasonal, organic - Alice Waters.
Year of the Goat - An urban couple's romp across America in search of the caprine sublime from breeders and cheesemakers to auctioneers and barbeque chefs.
Gracias por los Campesinos - A 2008 calendar celebrating farmworkers across the country with photos and text describing the labor of love that is farming.
California Certified Farmers Markets 2008 calendar - Featuring the photography of Tana Butler, the blogger behind I Heart Farms.
Check our organically-inclined Events page for more happenins as they are announced.
Alice Waters in conversation
Thu, 12/20/08, 7:30pm
Holiday Benefit for Marin Organic
Sat, 12/22/08, 5:00pm-10:00pm
City Arts and Lectures - Michael Pollan in conversation
Thu, 1/3/08, 8:00pm
Is it safe to eat? CUESA Panel Discussion
Mon, 1/7/08, 6:30-8:30pm
Preserving in the Seasons - Marmalade
Michael Pollan speaks at Book Passage
Tues, 1/15/08, 7:00pm
Ecological Farming Conference
The San Francisco Beer Story: History, Culture, Taste, Cuisine
Fri, 1/25/08, 5:30pm
An evening with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm
Fri, 1/25/08, 6:00pm
Point Reyes Station
Vegetarian Cooking Class - Healthful Resolutions
Sat, 1/26/08, 10:00am-1:00pm
Full Moon Feasts featuring Joel Salatin
Sat, 1/26/08, 6:30pm
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 Paypal.com: to firstname.lastname@example.org
- by credit card: via the SFF CIF donation page
- by check: "Om Organics: Project of SFF CIF", 225 Bush St. #500, SF, CA 94104