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Slow Food Nation: Alemany Farm Makes the Cover

Jessica was going to write this Slow Food Nation Monday blog, but she had a delayed flight back to SF after doing a little summering in Michigan (which she’d like you to know is the “cherry pie capital of the world”). So I’m here—a bit last minute—to give yet another little shout out to SF-based Alemany Farm. The bounty of the farm is gracing one of our August covers right now. (We did two covers this month because we’re crazy like that.) You can read about Alemany Farm farmer Jason Mark in this issue and you can even see me doing a little video tour.

From the Earth to the Restaurant at County Line



Squash blossoms ready to be picked.

The food issue is out and for it, I interviewed four first-generation farmers. As magazines go, I did a lot of legwork (pages of notes, lots of talking, lots of driving), had many revelations and in the end, only got to write about 200 words about each person. (But, hey, the pictures are pretty! I have to thank our excellent photographer, John Lee, for that. If you don't have a hard copy of the issue, go to the homepage to view our new digital magazine. The article is called "The New Crop.")

Slow Food Nation: Ritual Roasters Gets Fresh

Today we start a month’s worth of Monday blogs, leading up to Slow Food Nation, which lands on SF this Labor Day weekend. I’m glad the big food festival is happening here, but I’d venture to say that in SF, Slow Food Nation is almost redundant. It’s kind of like putting an Obama bumper sticker on your car. There are Slow Foodies wherever you look.


Ritual Roasters' owner Eileen Hassi and her vacuum-packed baby.

The Milk of the Matter

San Francisco is a good incubator. Ideas take root here, trends grab hold, and before you know it, citizens of our fair city are fairly obsessed. First it was the farmers market, then artisanal foods (charcuterie chief among them) and then coffee—which has reached such a fevered pitch it’s almost ridiculous. In our own pages we’ve written about baristas and roasters, about hi-tech siphons and fair-trade shade grown beans. I would have thought, really, that we have covered this particular topic from every possible angle.


The milk of the matter
Photograph courtesy of Strauscreamery.com

Agretti: A New Taste of Old Italy


Agretti from Star Route Farms (photo by Stefanie Michejda)

Magazines are often one big coolhunt. Unlike the editors at Vogue—hot on the topic of motorcycle boots—my radar is more attuned to things like new menu ingredients. But just like fashion looks over its shoulder for inspiration (grunge is back, for the record), so does food—just usually a little farther back than the mid ’80s.

A Taste of Morocco in SF



My mother's family is Moroccan and to them, everything equals food. Visits from family: food. Saturdays: food. Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays: food. Getting on a plane = packing food. My suitcase from a recent trip to Toronto was, in fact, full of Tupperware containers of couscous, tagines and salads when I got home. Here’s how someone homesick for Moroccan copes:

1. I get preserved lemons from Rainbow Grocery. You can find them in one of the bins at the back of the store, near the olives. I dice them and put them in salads with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, hearts of celery and onion. And a dash of parsley.

S is for Swanton Berry Farm



I don’t think there’s any path you can take directly from SF that offers a quicker—certainly more breathtaking—antidote to city-living than a trip down Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. On a sunny weekend, like this last one, it was everything I needed. Find a friend to drive you, so you can gaze out to the sparkling ocean without careening off the steep cliffs to a horrible death. It’s impossible not to look.

Fresh Ricotta: You Know You Want It

We all think we’re the master (mistress?) of our own universe, but the truth is, we’re not. You think you’re drawn to that fuchsia top because you like it? Sorry. Most likely, a highly-paid fashion forecaster set the palette for Summer '08 way back, stores have placed it strategically and, voila: You’re suddenly overwhelmed with the need for a closet-full of hot pink.

Similarly, if you have fresh ricotta on the mind, the versatile cheese has, in fact, been subliminally wiggling its way into your collective craving conscious for most of spring. And there’s more than one chef to blame (or in this case, thank).

Green Almonds in the Market Now

I think native Californians have a terrible problem of not realizing quite how lucky they are. There’s the weather thing, of course, but what I’m talking about is the access—with all this gorgeous countryside just outside the city limits, things show up at the farmers markets here that are far from typical. You may already feel tired of asparagus after gorging on it these first few weeks, but elsewhere they’re still picking through the same tired heads of cabbage and barrels of potatoes. It’s not pretty.

Halibut Season Has Begun

With all the fuss we make over spring vegetables, the lowly wild Alaskan halibut gets pretty short billing. The largest of all flatfish, measuring up to four feet wide, eight feet long and over 600 pounds, wild halibut is considered a good choice on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch list. Fisherman use bottom longlines that cause very little damage to the sea floor and ensure a low by-catch; the fish is considered sustainable.


That's a big fish.
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