Holidays

Sharing the Slow Food Spirit with Those in Need This Holiday Season

By Kathryn Rogers, SFUSD Board of Directors

430_5003118The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. A time to select that perfect gift from a local vendor for someone special. A time to indulge in holiday libations and decadent feasts. A time to give thanks and share a little extra cheer with those in need.

With 1 in 7 San Diego County residents experiencing food insecurity, food distribution programs and meal donations can go a long way in helping families get their basic needs met. Aligned with Slow Food’s vision of Good, Clean and Fair Food for All, here we share our top tips for how to give back to our local community this holiday season.

  • Participating in the San Diego Food Bank’s 2015 Holiday Food Drive by purchasing a pre-filled bag of food at a local Vons, donating online, or hosting a food drive at your workplace or community center.
  • Joining Feeding America San Diego in its goal to raise one million meals for local families in need this holiday season. Learn more about how you can donate your time or dollars on their website.
  • Supporting our local military and veteran community by adopting a military family for the holiday season. When you purchase commissary or grocery cards for your adopted family, you are helping to nourish both their bodies and joyful spirits.
  • Donating a Farm Fresh to You box to a local family in need, bringing the gift of healthy produce to their doorstep.
  • Honoring your friends and family by donating to a local, sustainable food organization or ordering an organic CSA box in their name. This wonderful gift will keep on giving – supporting a healthier, more delicious and just world for them and their neighbors to live in. Check out Suzie’s Farm or San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project for inspiration.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and nourishing holiday season for all San Diegans!

5 Slow Things to Do in San Diego on Black Friday Instead of Shopping

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By Slow Food Urban San Diego Board Member, Kathryn Rogers

In sunny San Diego, with our near-perfect year round weather that is the envy of northern dwellers across the country, one of the strongest indicators (besides those 4:30 sunsets) of the long-anticipated holiday season is a whole lot of marketing. We get e-blasts, mailers and point-of-purchase reminders galore that the best way to celebrate this holiday season is by buying as much as possible.

Long gone are the days when retail employees spent the Thanksgiving holiday at home with their loved ones. Now we can jump on those holiday deals while we’re still in the first clutches of a Thanksgiving feast food coma. We’ve traded retail therapy for good, old-fashioned family time.

This Thanksgiving, Slow Food Urban San Diego invites you to reclaim your dining table with gratitude for the bounty of food and the people who produced it, with a heritage turkey and locally sourced, seasonal side dishes. You can enjoy slow living the whole weekend and throughout the season, perhaps by opting for these five local activities in lieu of the mad crowded rush that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

  1. Visit a Farmers’ Market. Whether you intend to purchase produce and homemade goods or just want a great reason to taste seasonal fruits and veggies and chat with local farmers, a day at the farmers’ market is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Many markets also have a wide selection of prepared foods (in case you’re still hungry) and some even have live music.
  2. Get Outside. The County of San Diego manages more than 120 parks and preserves throughout the region with locations ranging from the beach to the valleys, the mountains to the desert. Not to mention all our local parks and open coastline. These trails, scenic vistas, playgrounds, and lakes are perfect for hiking, cycling, strolling, or horseback riding. Being active is a great way to avoid the crowds and burn off some of those extra calories.
  3. Make Homemade Gifts. Nothing says “I love you” more than a gift crafted from the heart. Whether its beeswax candles, a hand knitted hat or your famous holiday cookies, you can “wow” your loved ones while saving time and money by making presents in batches. Stock up on your supplies and ingredients in advance so you can spend all of Black Friday cozy at home, crafting away. Any little ones in your house will surely enjoy lending helping hands as well.
  4. Enjoy Arts and Culture. This Friday, Balboa Park has scheduled more than 20 exhibitions, 15 film screenings, botanical garden tours and family activities including holiday puppet shows, many of which are free and open to the public. Hop on your local bus line or bike path to make it a completely green day while avoiding parking woes. Then enjoy the natural and historical beauty in the company of your dear ones.
  5. Share your Abundance. As you are feeling extra grateful for all the good in your life, take time to give back to your community. Local organizations offer a number of volunteer opportunities for individuals and families, including preparing and serving meals to people experiencing food insecurity. Wild Willow Farm and Shakti Rising are also hosting a Give 5 Black Friday Challenge where you can volunteer your time or make a donation in support of sustainable farm education programs.

If the buying bug is still tugging on your purse straps or wallet folds, shop local whenever possible. This puts money back in our local economy, and you’re likely to discover more unique gifts compared to online or in big box stores. Check out Edible San Diego’s Holiday Guide for tasty local gift ideas, stroll shops on Adams Avenue during Small Business Saturday (November 28) while enjoying festive libations, or head over to South Park on December 5 for the Holiday Happenings Walkabout.

To find additional small businesses in your area, check out the Urbanist Guide.

Wishing you and yours a slow start to the holiday season!

Serving and Saving Good Food: Where and Why to Buy a Heritage Turkey for T-Day

By Sarah M. Shoffler, SFUSD Board of Directors.

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Heritage turkeys are different from most turkeys sold in the U.S. Ancestors to the Broad Breasted White turkey, the most produced commercial breed of turkey today, heritage turkeys have retained some of their historic characteristics. Unlike industrially-produced turkeys, which are mostly raised in captivity, the heritage breeds are raised outdoors and roam freely in pastures. They are allowed to grow older and eat a diverse diet, so put on an extra layer of fat. These self-reliant birds are known for their good flavor due to more dark meat, and "thriftyness" or good meat yield. Many heritage breeds originated in the United States and since the 1960s have been difficult to find. Some are nearing extinction.

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The Broad Breasted White turkey is so often preferred by industrial food producers because it grows quickly and provides a great deal of white meat. However, like the Broiler chicken, the most produced food chicken, the Broad Breasted White turkey has so much breast meat and such short legs that it cannot mate naturally. This bird also can't fly, is prone to health problems and cannot survive without human intervention.

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Choosing to eat a heritage turkey may in fact save the breeds. By buying heritage breeds, consumers encourage breeders to continue producing the rare birds, thereby supporting their existence. To this end, the American Livestock Conservancy works to protect nearly 200 individual breeds of livestock from 11 different species. They developed the term "heritage" in order to help market historic and endangered breeds of livestock because "the loss of these breeds would impoverish agriculture and diminish the human spirit."

Slow Food's Ark of Taste, a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction, also includes eight of the heritage turkeys: Bronze, Black, Bourbon, Jersey Buff, Midget White, Narragansett, Royal Palm and Slate.

The Narragansett turkey, a heritage and handsome breed.

Wondering where to buy a heritage turkey? You may have to order one, but here are a few places we found carrying them:

  • Some Whole Foods (the Hillcrest store was out, but La Jolla was still taking orders as of 11/12), Bristol Farms, Barons Markets (taking orders starting 11/13) have heritage turkeys available or are taking orders.
  • Mary's Free Range Narragansett and Bourbon turkeys are available in a number of SoCal locations, including those listed above.
  • You can order Narragansett, Slate and Bourbon turkeys online from Local Harvest.
  • The Heritage Turkey Foundation also lists several heritage turkey sellers in SoCal.

Know someone else selling heritage turkeys? Please let us know: email sarah_at_slowfoodurbansandiego_dot_org.

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Learn more here.