Working for Good, Clean, Fair Food for All - Slow Food Urban San Diego Convivium of Slow Food International

In San Diego, local seafood is limited to the coast

We are very pleased to share the following guest blog from California Sea Grant on local seafood in San Diego:

Most of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported. Even in California, it is likely that less than ten percent of the seafood consumed is domestic. With our coastal location, why aren’t San Diegans enjoying locally caught seafood?

A new study shows that just eight percent of the city’s 86 seafood markets consistently carried San Diego-sourced seafood. Fourteen percent of markets carried it on occasion. The majority of markets that did carry local seafood were located within a mile and a half of the coast.

“Locally landed San Diego seafood isn’t that accessible to San Diego consumers,” said researcher Nina Venuti. “Few seafood markets in the city sell San Diego-sourced seafood.”

To buy locally-caught fish in San Diego, many shoppers have to visit the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market in downtown. It is one of few seafood markets that consistently carry local catch.

To buy locally-caught fish in San Diego, many shoppers have to visit the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market in downtown. It is one of few seafood markets that consistently carry local catch.

San Diego-based commercial fishermen Luke Halmay and Nathan Perez see the Port of San Diego redevelopment as an opportunity to reevaluate how space is distributed

One of the potential limitations to local seafood access identified by the study was a lack of waterfront workspace, including space for docking boats, maintaining gear, offloading and refrigerating catch, and for selling catch directly to the public. To maintain local seafood systems and the fishing heritage of many waterfront cities, reliable waterfront infrastructure is needed. With the Port of San Diego reviewing plans for a radical redevelopment of Central Embarcadero. San Diegans have an opportunity right now to fulfill this need.

The study also pointed to a lack of urban infrastructure as a potential barrier to establishing and supporting a local seafood system. Unlike agriculture, seafood production is limited to the coast. Therefore, local distributors may play a larger role in increasing community access to local seafood, bridging the gap between the waterfront and the city’s restaurants and markets.

“Urban infrastructure like seafood processing, packaging and transport facilities, as well as markets and restaurants to sell our locally sourced catch are all needed to increase access throughout the city,” said study author Theresa Talley. “This will ensure that more of the fish landed by our fishermen ends up on more of our plates here in San Diego.”


A version of this post first appeared on the California Sea Grant website

Snooze: Celebrate Bacon Day and Support Slow Food

Did you know Saturday September 3rd is International Bacon Day?  Slow Food USA is celebrating the holiday this year with Snooze an A.M. Eatery.  Snooze is throwing a Bacon Day event and donating 10% of their sales Saturday from all of their locations to Slow Food!


Snooze is a Denver based breakfast restaurant with locations in Colorado, Arizona and California with two locations in San Diego County – one in Hillcrest and one in Del Mar. Snooze operates under values very similar to Slow Food’s Good, Clean and Fair Food For All that they express through their menu, their sourcing practices and their involvement in their communities.

The Snooze menu includes breakfast classics with a twist (e.g., Breakfast Pot Pie, Caprese Benedict, Sweet Potato Pancakes) and they go out of their way to find and create foods that are the intersection of tasty and responsible.  We spoke with their sourcing lead, Spencer Lomax about their approach to souring their food to be Good Clean and Fair.  He says that the bottom line is that they want to serve their guests responsibly sourced and tasty food fulfilling their responsibility to the land, to their customers, to their communities and to Snooze.  They live up to that responsibility by providing real, tasty food that was produced sustainably and locally when it makes sense and by engaging with their local communities.  In San Diego they source from several local companies including Bread & Cie and Jackie’s Jams.  They support several local non-profits ARTS (A Reason to Survive)Bike To WorkMama’s KitchenDining out for LifeHelen Woodward Animal ShelterDel Mar Education School Foundation and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy.

In honor of Bacon Day Lomax talked specifically about his search for bacon that was both delicious and lived up to the Snooze standards.  Snooze sources their pork from Tender Belly.  Tender Belly is devoted to the well being of the animal through both the environment in which they live and the all natural, vegetarian diets they are fed. As a part of their Bacon Day celebration you can not only enjoy a full special menu full of Tender Belly bacon items you can register to win bacon for a year from Tender Belly.


Come by one of the Snooze San Diego locations on Saturday to enjoy the awesome bacon menu, visit with our Slow Food Urban San Diego team, and support Slow Food!

Vinavanti Urban Winery Brings Locally Sourced, Craft Wine to San Diego

Vinavanti Urban Winery, San Diego

In a San Diego market overflowing with craft breweries, craft wine could be considered the black sheep (or bottle) of the bunch. Until you try it, that is. Then you just might become a dedicated convert like we are at Slow Food Urban San Diego.

What is craft wine anyway?

According to Eric Van Drunen, winemaker and owner of Vinavanti Urban Winery, “Craft wine is the punk music of the wine world.”

Most makers today have their wines down to a science, adding yeast, sulfites and other flavors to fit a specific “classical” or “pop” flavor profile. Van Drunen, however, takes a truly minimalist approach to winemaking where he adds nothing more than San Diego County grown grapes (they have a great map in the tasting room that shows all the local farms they source from!) and lets nature do its thing. Unique and surprising wines with subtle flavors representative of the grapes and farms where they are grown are the result.

Vinavanti Urban Winery, San Diego

Van Drunen’s Vinavanti label and tasting room evolved out of many hours drinking wine and eating good food with friends. He started buying and blending wines in 2007 to develop flavors that paired well with food and that he could sell at an accessible price. In 2010 he made his own wine for the first time using conventional methods. It turned out so-so. Bored of the limited flavor profiles of traditional wines, in 2011 he made his first natural wine and hasn’t looked back. From there, he continued to refine his process, focusing on doing as little as possible (or nothing at all) beyond sourcing local, organically grown grapes and letting nature and wild yeast do the work in the fermentation process. He bottles his wines unfiltered, highlighting the terroir through distinct colors, textures, and tastes.

Now, five years later, Vinavanti has more than 11 wines on their always evolving tasting menu, ranging from a sparkling Ladona Muscat grown in Pauma Valley that tastes something like a cross between a sour beer and kombucha to their most popular GSM, a rich and smoky blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grown in Temecula Valley.

So what can you expect when stopping by the only certified organic winery in San Diego?

“We aim to create an environment where you can enjoy a unique tasting experience in an inviting space,” say Van Drunen.

Van Drunen himself is often pouring glasses at the bar and loves to chat about natural winemaking, his background in physics and many topics in between. Community tables make for great social gathering spaces, and romantic two-tops are perfect for quieter date nights. 

Vinavanti is located at 1477 University Ave in Hillcrest, and as Slow Food Urban San Diego’s newest Member Benefits Partner, they offer a 10% discount on wines to card-carrying Slow Food members. Be sure to check them out for weekly specials and events including cellar tours (they ferment most of their wines right in the urban winery) and movie nights, and ask them about their membership program and wines on tap.

Vinavanti Urban Winery, San Diego