in this issue
New Stuff!
Norway's Seed Ark
Meat CSAs
"Natural" Meat
Oysters v Natl Parks
Shrimperies
Kitchen Resources
Monsanto's Antics
2007..8 Farm Bill
Events
Feed the Fire!

featured links
What's New Online
Take Action
Om Organics



 



Tasty Bites 3.21.08
Help spread the word & pass this on!

Happy new year.....! Apologies for being a bit quiet the past few months. Hopefully we've redeemed ourselves by stuffing this newsletter with tasty news bits and happenins in the world of food n farming.



New Stuff!

Eat:

Blue Bottle Cafe- Mint Plaza - Munchies from the former chef of Medicine, wine, and coffee...from a $20,000 siphon machine; near 5th/Mission, SF, (415) 252-7535.

Coffee Bar - Light bites, fair trade coffee plus boozy libations in an airy Potrero loft atmosphere; 1890 Bryant/Mariposa, SF, (415) 551-8100.

Conduit- New American from ex-Jeanty at Jack's and Tra Vigne chef and manager; 280 Valencia/14th, SF, 415-552-5200.

Cottage Eatery - New American with an emphasis on French & Italian plus house-cured charcuterie; 114 Main St., Tiburon, 415-789-5636.

Epic Roasthouse - Surf n' turf from Jan Birnbaum (ex-Campton Place and Catahoula) sourced from Prather et al; 369 Embarcadero, SF, 415-369-9955.

Golden Natural Foods - NoeStro's answer to Bi-Rite, complete with pastured meats and organic produce; 130 Church/Duboce, SF.

Monk's Kettle - Niman burgers and other Om-friendly chow plus more beers than you can shake a monk - or, uh, a kettle - at; 3141 16th St./Albion, SF, (415) 865-9523.

Orson - Edgy New American from Elizabeth Faulkner of Citizen Cake; 508 4th Street/Brannan, SF, 415-777-1508.

Pot De Pho - Steaming pho with fresh, homemade noodles and organic beef; 330 Geary/Parker, SF, 415.668.0826.

Waterbar- Seafood galore w/ Mark Franz and Parke Ulrich from Farallon; 399 The Embarcadero, SF, 415-284-9922.

Elsewhere in the Bay Area:

Citronelle in Carmel - Carmel hideaway with a James Beard award-winning chef; 1 Old Ranch Rd, Carmel, (831) 625-9500.

Sante in Sonoma - Luxurious eats from a former French Laundry chef accompanied by a dictionary-sized wine list; 100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma, (707) 938-9000.

Oxbow Market in Napa - A wine country version of SF's Ferry Plaza, with outposts of the Fatted Calf, Taylor's Refresher and Hog Island Oyster Co. 610 1st St., Napa, (707) 963-1345.

More Bay Area restaurants serving local, sustainable fare.


Read/Watch:

Black Gold: A Film about Coffee and Trade - Oxfam America's new documentary about the global coffee trade shows why it's not just a cup, but a just cup you should be asking for.

Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty - Mark Winne, former Director of Hartford, CT's Food System, examines ways to bring local food and nutritious meals to the people.

Gardening at the Dragon's Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated World - A 30-year veteran of Stinson Beach's Green Gulch Zen Center shares her treasure trove of gardening knowledge and celebrates the fecundity of the soil.

Green Zebra 2008 Guides - Tips, events and discounts for green living in three regional flavors - San Francisco, Peninsula and Marin.

Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System - A sprawling examination of the corporatization of global agriculture, framed through a history of that other huge commodity crop - the soybean.

Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds - A former environmental lawyer and farmer looks at what happens when a few large corporations hold the keys to the world's plant genetics.



Norway's Seed Ark

Should an agricultural apocalypse strike, a James Bond-esque structure in the icy reaches of the Norwegian Arctic just might be our savior. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault has the capacity to save over 2 billion seeds from all over the world. It's the largest-scale and (supposedly) securest facility of its kind in the world, and it just opened this past February.

While the vault is not without its detractors, who argue that crop diversity should be preserved in the fields rather than in permafrost, we think there's some comfort to be drawn in this small step against global crop monocultures.



Meat CSAs

Two of our favorite purveyors have new CSA-type services for you to get that meaty fix. You know joining a CSA helps support trusted local producers and sustainable, humanely raised meat.

Point Reyes' Marin Sun Farms has just started a CSA to bring pastured meats to your neighborhood. Depending on the season, they've got beef, goat, lamb, pork and chicken - and there are packages suited to the most ardent of carnivores to the occasional indulger.

And for those who prefer their meat cured, Chris Cosentino of Incanto fame has recently started up Boccalone - a CSA-type offering of artisanal charcuterie created from humanely raised, heritage-breed pigs. Lots of unusual salumi ranging from porchetta di testa to guanciale created with "the rarest of ingredients - time". No more supermarket salami for you!



"Natural" Meat

The USDA came out with a new standard for the "natural" label on meat, which stipulates that the meat be free of growth hormones, antibiotics, or animal byproducts in their feed. But, the proposal leaves out a lot: access to pasture, any kind of animal welfare consideration and environmental stewardship. Cattle, for one, are ruminants naturally suited to eating grass on pasture - not to belching methane in a herd of 100,000. The proposed standards will confuse consumers and dilute the market for people who actually raise their animals sustainably.

Learn more...



Oysters vs Nat'l Parks

Sustainable agriculture works with the environment it's embedded in - not against it. Which is why we're a little alarmed over the furor up at Drakes Estero, where the Lunny family (fourth generation ranchers) and the National Parks Service are on opposite sides of a oyster bed dispute. The Parks Service claims that commercial activity on the leased shoreline disrupts harbor seal pupping and damages native eelgrass; Drake's Bay claims "scientific misconduct" and an effort to drive the oystermen out.

Here's the California Coastal Commission's position; here's what Drake's Bay Oysters has to say; and here's the Sierra Club's take. Let's hope for a positive outcome for everyone here...



Sustainable Shrimperies

America's favorite seafood - shrimp - is notoriously unsustainable. Wild-harvested, it trashes the ocean floor and turns tons of fish into bycatch; farmed, it fills the environment with chemicals and destroys tropical mangroves.

But, in what we hope is a trend, Oregon's pink shrimp fishery has become the first large-scale shrimp fishery (shrimpery?) to be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.

More info here, here and here.



Kitchen Resources

The Wild Farm Alliance and the Chefs Collaborative have partnered to make it easier on kitchen denizens to keep sustainability in mind, even with all the burners going. Their "Chef's Toolkit" contains sourcing checklists, a Wild Farm Alliance "food pyramid" and tips on how to put together a biodiversity-friendly menu, in addition to categorized links to all you'd ever want to know about sustainable food and where it comes from.



Monsanto's Antics

Monsanto, the agribusiness bully, and their RoundUp-ready alfalfa seed are up for another review by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Seems some important ground was neglected in the last review, like what its effect would be on growers whose fields could be inadvertently contaminated by GMO-growing neighbors. Um...duh?

Aside from that, they've started up an advocacy group called Afact (American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology) to try to prevent milk companies from labeling milk as rBST- or rBGH-free because it's hurting their hormone-laden products. "American Farmers"? ... Right.

Had enough? Take a moment to sign the Center for Food Safety's petition.



2007...8 Farm Bill

The Farm bill has been extended to April 18th.... There's a new deadline, but little, if any, new progress. This is the second extension by Congress. If a decision can't be reached by the 18th, President Bush is urging Congress to extend the bill another year. Oh lordy.

Funding remains the primary cause of the stalemate, with no clear signs on how to pay for an additional billion in funding for critical programs. Chairman Peterson (D-MN) says even if there is no additional funding, he will create a fallback plan to work on a new farm bill using only baseline funding.

Congress is on recess March 16th - 28th. Contact your legislator in your home district and urge them to pass the farm bill with the Average Crop Revenue program and funding for conservation, local foods and renewable energy.

Wanna bone up on details? Here's a summary of the two bills in excruciating detail. Want your head to really spin? Have a look.



Events

Check our organically-inclined Events page for more happenings beyond the next month and as they are announced.

Preserving in the Seasons - Marmalade with June Taylor
1/12/08-4/13/08, 9:30am-2:00pm
Berkeley

Frugal Foodies Tuesday Night Dinners
Tuesdays, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Southwest Berkeley

UNICEF's nationwide Tap Project
Sun-Sat, 3/16/08-3/22/08
SF

Egg-stravaganza: Seasonal Cooking Demo and Book Signing
Sat, 3/22/08, 11:00am
SF

Garden Tour at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
Sat, 3/22/08, 1:00pm
Occidental

Marin Organic presents Food, Farming and the Future
Sat, 3/22/08, 5:00pm
Point Reyes Station

Ferment Change! A Benefit for West Oakland's City Slicker Farm
Sat, 3/22/08, 7:30pm-10:00pm
Berkeley

Harvesting for the Hungry
Sat, 3/22/08, 8:30am - 1:00pm
Palo Alto

Meet the Faces Behind the Food We Cook Dinner Series
Sun, 3/23/08, 5:30pm-8:30pm
Menlo Park

Conexions presents Fun Informative Food Films
Thu, 3/27/08, 7:30pm-9:30pm
Palo Alto

Georgeann Brennan author of A Pig in Provence reads at Cody's
Weds, 3/28/08, 7:00pm
Berkeley

CITY CHICKENS, AND DUCKS TOO!
Sat, 3/29/08, 10:00am-12:00pm
SF

Vegetarian Cooking Class - Demystifying Tofu and Tempeh
Sat, 3/29/08, 10:00am-1:00pm
Oakland

Seasonal cooking demonstration ~ Charles Vollmar of Tempus Clinic
Sat, 3/29/08, 11:00am
SF

Millennium Restaurant presents a Spring Farm Cooking Class
Sat, 3/30/08, 10:00am-3:00pm
SF

Cooking Class- From Farmer's Market to Table
Sun, 3/30/08, 4:00pm-6:00pm
Half Moon Bay

SF Zen Center's Annual Benefit Dinner at Greens Restaurant
Sun, 3/30/08, 5:00-9:00pm
SF

Climate-Friendly Eating ~ a panel discussion about environmentally conscious food choices
Mon, 3/31/08, 6:30pm
SF

Summer Camp Open House at Devil's Gulch Ranch
Sat, 4/5/08, 10:00am-12:00pm
Nicasio

MALT hike: Stewart Ranch Wildflowers
Sat, 4/5/08, 10:00am-2:00pm
Bolinas

Meet the Farmer - Warren Weber of Star Route Farms
Sat, 4/5/08, 10:30am
SF

Seasonal cooking demonstration - Liza Shaw of A16
Sat, 4/5/08, 11:00am
SF

The Earth Cafe Culinary Program
Sat, 4/5/08-6/7/08, 9:30am-5:00pm
Bolinas

Share our Strength's 17th Annual Taste of the Nation Benefit Dinner at Acme Chophouse
Sun, 4/6/08, 5:30pm
SF

Sheana Davis, The Epicurean Connection presents Community Kitchen Dinner
Sun, 4/6/08, 6:30-9:00pm
Sonoma

The Sage Table presents Springtime Feasting: Asparagus, Artichokes & other Spring treats
Tue, 4/8/08, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Oakland

Sonoma Valley Film Festival
Wed-Sun, 4/9/08-4/13/08
Sonoma

Meet the Farmer - Nigel Walker of Eatwell Farms
Sat, 4/12/08, 10:30am
SF

Seasonal cooking demonstration - Karla Oliveira of Conscious Eating Cuisine and co-Author of Tassajara Cookbook
Sat, 4/12/08, 11:15am
SF

The Sage Table presents the Magic of Fermentation
Wed, 4/16/08, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Oakland

MALT presents Hog Island Oyster Co. and Strauss Dairy
Thu, 4/17/08, 11:00am-3:00pm
Marshall

Conexions presents Fun Informative Food Films
Thu, 4/17/08, 7:30pm-9:30pm
Palo Alto

MALT presents McEvoy Olive Ranch
Fri, 4/18/08, 10:00am-12:00pm
5 miles south of Petaluma

Seasonal cooking demonstration - James Peterson, author of Cooking
Sat, 4/19/08, 11:00am
SF



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 donate@omorganics.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

THANK YOU!



2008 Om Organics 3.21.08-70