BY EDIE BAKER / PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREW BAKER

commodity vs Specialty coffee 1

The turning of honey processed coffee under a solar dryer.


I'd wager that many people don't realize how much coffees differ. Besides being produced in different countries and regions there are different levels and ultimately different tastes in the cup.

 Coffee is grown in the Equatorial range between the Tropics of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. It needs elevation, rainfall and sunlight, shade trees and breezes, a nutritious soil and careful pruning to be produced well.

Read more: Commodity VS. Specialty Coffee

BY GEORGEANNE BRENNAN

Early fall is the crossover season. Summer fruits and vegetables are still available, such as tomatoes, eggplant and stone fruits. At the same time the seasonal hallmarks of fall begin to appear, such as apples, persimmons and quince. It's the time of year when peppers are at their sweetest, when grapes of all kinds become available and pumpkins start to show themselves in the markets. These recipes—some from my books, others from my personal collection—reflect the cooling days of the crossover season, when everything seems possible in the kitchen.

BY AMBER K. STOTT / PHOTOGRAPHY BY JANINE MAPURUNGA & MARITA MADELONI

oak park epicenter 1Is it plausible that the epicenter of our local food movement is in Oak Park? If you pull back the layers and look deep into the soul of that neighborhood, you'll find an inspiring and rising current of change and possibility.

Step into a local elementary school, and you'll find kindergarteners cooking with vegetables during an after-school food literacy program. Walk past a local high school, and you'll find a bustling school garden. Peek into a backyard, and you'll find a child's playhouse equipped with a rooftop backyard garden. Even the local food bank boasts a thriving vegetable plot tucked behind wrought iron bars.

Oak Park, Sacramento's first suburb, is a scene of collaboration, change and surprisingly delicious food. In many ways, the food itself is driving the improvements.

Oak Park was once known for violence, drugs and prostitution. In 2007, a grant called Weed and Seed invested funding to improve the area. Based on dialog with residents, existing nonprofits like NeighborWorks invested those funds in food. They created the Oak Park Farmers Market and garden crop swaps.

Meanwhile, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services was turning the idea of food banking on its head. Instead of asking hungry people to come to them, they began a series of mobile food distributions, reaching deep into this community to bring food where it was needed most.

Food. It's fundamental to a healthy life. Imagine living in a world where a majority of residents are hungry. Imagine a neighborhood where the nearest store sells only junk food and liquor rather than produce and groceries. This sort of neighborhood is known as a "food desert."

Read more: Oak Park: Epicenter of the Food Movement

BY MIKE MADISON / PHOTOGRAPHY BY BENJAMIN DELLA ROSA

farm to fork 1 0

The value of "farm to fork" (meaning a local, seasonal food economy with few intermediaries between farmer and diner) is supported by three main arguments:

1 The culinary argument is that local produce, harvested at the peak of ripeness when it is fragrant, delicious and fragile, will always be superior to produce shipped from a distance, which has to be harvested at an immature stage in order to survive the rigors of long-distance travel.

2 The argument of community solidarity emphasizes the social and economic connections between farmer and diner, which build a strong community and contribute to food security and political independence.

3 And the topographic argument describes the increased rootedness and sense of place, as well as the heightened awareness of seasonality, that come from a local food economy.

Read more: Farm-to-Fork and the Real Cost of Food

BY GEORGEANNE BRENNAN / PHOTOGRAPHY BY GEORGEANNE BRENNAN

a taste of denpasar 1

Denpasar, Capital of Bali


My trip to Bali began with missing my flight. Once on the plane, even if two days late, I set about soaking in every bit of food culture I could, beginning with the food on the Singapore Airlines flight originating in San Francisco.

 

I perused the dinner menu. It had Indian vegetarian, Korean or Western options. I was sorely tempted by the Korean Style Grilled Eel but instead chose Braised Beef Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes. It sounded bland enough to ensure no queasiness during the 20-plus hour flight.

Read more: A Taste of Denpasar, Bali

BY SUSAN BROWN CSW / PHOTOGRAPHY BY PENNY SYLVIA

clarksburg chenin blanc 1

The Farm to Fork movement in the greater Sacramento area has focused attention on local food production and consumption. This emphasis on products that end up in a kitchen and on a plate is important, but it would be remiss to overlook that which ends up in a wineglass. With over 200 wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms within an hour's drive of the city, no discussion of Farm to Fork would be truly complete without consideration of the region's wine grape crops.

The spirit of the movement supports the cultivation of agricultural crops that are appropriate for, and are successfully grown within our area, and this is certainly applicable to many grape varieties.

Read more: Clarksburg Chenin Blanc: Journey from Grape to Glass

BY AMBER K. STOTT

PART I

A THREE PART SERIES ON DEFINING FARM-T-FORK IN OUR REGION

farm to fork many voices

The City of Sacramento declared itself the Farm-to-Fork Capital of America in 2012. Since then, food has taken over the city. Streets and bridges that once held cars have been temporarily transformed to hold cows and dinner parties. Everything from bowling alleys to coffee shops has embraced the "local food" mantra.

Sacramentans have embraced their inner farm-to-fork. The way they choose to express it varies widely depending on who's cooking the food and who's eating.

Read more: Farm-to-Fork In Many Voices

BY GEORGEANNE BRENNAN

market talk interview 1

DAN BEST, COORDINATOR, CERTIFIED FARMERS' MARKETS OF SACRAMENTO, 11 LOCATIONS


Edible Sacramento Meets Our Region's Farmers Market Leaders
EDIBLE SACRAMENTO: How many farmer/vendors do you work with at peak season and off season?

DAN BEST: With the exception of a couple of bakeries and fishermen, we work exclusively with Certified California Agricultural Producers. Since we have five year-around markets there is no "off season" for us. Throughout the year we usually work with more than 200 different farmers.

Read more: Market Talk: Interview with Dan Best and Randii Macnear

BY MIKE MADISON / PHOTOGRAPHY BY BENJAMIN DELLA ROSA

the rise and fall 1

The knife, and later the spoon, were the first utensils. Forks didn't come to the table until much later.

The ancient Greeks had a large, two-pronged fork that they used to pin down a chunk of meat while they were carving it, but this was only for carving, not eating. Forks of the modern sort for getting food to your mouth showed up in the Renaissance, first in Italy and later in France.

When forks were first brought to England in the 16th century, they were disparaged as absurd affectations. But the nobles were attracted to them as a way to show continental sophistication, and as one more item to swell the ranks of polished cutlery on the table as a conspicuous display of wealth. And whatever the nobles did, the rest of the populace soon imitated.

Read more: The Rise (and Fall) of the Fork

Yisreal garden

It wasn't about celebrity chefs, it was about home cooking. It wasn't about sustainable caviar, it was about sun-ripened tomatoes. It wasn't about "foodie," it was about food. When the Yisraels learned this past summer that the Sacramento Farm-to-Fork week's Tower Bridge dinner would be selling tickets with triple-digit price tags, they took action to show that a celebration of good food did not require city permits or gilded pomp and ceremony. Instead, they hosted a farm to fork dinner at their own Yisrael Family Farm, pre-empting the Tower Bridge dinner by a week. For only $20 a seat, they helped to serve a five-course vegetarian dinner with their own produce to a garden-full of farmers, musicians, activists and neighbors seeking to share the bounty of a grassroots movement right where it was planted.

Read more: Yisrael's Urban Garden

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