slow food urban san diego

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

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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

Join the SFUSD Board of Directors

Slow Food Urban San Diego is soliciting applications for our Board of Directors. If you are interested in joining our Board, please email a brief bio and letter of interest indicating the position in which you are interested in to info@slowfoodurbansandiego.org by October 15th. In-person interviews will be scheduled in late October. Join us in supporting good, clean & fair food in our community. Positions up for election are described below. SFUSD-logo-horizontal

Members of the Board serve up to two two-year terms in any one position, and newly elected Board Members will serve during 2016-17, beginning in January 2016. To be eligible, you must have or obtain a Slow Food membership. 

Education Committee Chair The Education Committee provides the San Diego community with education and enrichment opportunities and supports campus and school chapters. The Committee supports existing programs, including the School Garden program, Edible for San Diego Kids, Farm-to-School, as well as educational programming for families and adults. The Chair oversees the Education Committee, which meets monthly, striving to engage and include Slow Food Urban San Diego’s membership as much as possible.

Farm Liaison / Ark of Taste Liaison The Farm Liaison works to link Slow Food Urban San Diego with the local farming community and recommends strategies for the Chapter to advocate for and support farmers. The Farm Liaison sits on the Slow Food California Ark of Taste Committee (~2 conference calls a month and review of applications to the Ark) and to support Ark of Taste Programming and recognition in San Diego. The Farm Liaison may form a committee.

Membership Coordinator The Membership Coordinator oversees all things membership. S/he maintains and updates the Chapter’s membership list and leads in recruiting and retaining members; reports membership status at each board meeting; organizes membership drives and leads in planning Slow Food Urban San Diego’s “Slow Sips” events. The Membership Coordinator also maintains relationships with our Member Benefit Partners and continues to build the Member Benefit Program. The Membership Coordinator may develop and coordinate additional programs to build the Chapter membership and may form a committee.

Outreach / Food Justice Committee Chair The Outreach / Food Justice Committee spreads the word about Slow Food and collaborates with relevant community partners to promote sustainable food production and urban farming. The Committee represents SFUSD at community events and coordinates with the Membership Chair to develop and coordinate programs to build Chapter membership. The Committee also liaises with the Slow Food University Chapters, the SD Food Systems Alliance, and the Slow Food California Policy Committee, which meets monthly via conference call. The Chair oversees this committee and identifies community events and partnerships that best support the SFUSD mission and programs.

The Fund Development Chair The Fund Development Chair creates, maintains and updates an inventory of resources of potential donors and sponsors; develops and implements a fund-raising campaign to be supported by the Board. The Fund Development Chair may form a committee.

Secretary The Secretary records minutes during monthly Board Meetings, administers annual elections and coordinates a schedule of interviews for Board positions.

Treasurer The Treasurer maintains the books for the organization, handles expense reimbursements, accounts payable, and annual filings. The treasurer is responsible for leading the budgeting process and providing financial guidance to the Board, as well as presenting a Treasurer’s report at monthly board meetings. A working knowledge of Quickbooks is desired but training by the outgoing treasurer will be provided if necessary.

Vice Chair/Chair-elect The Vice Chair works with the current Board Chair to administrate the Slow Food Urban San Diego Board of Directors and maintain chapter standing. Candidates must have served on the Slow Food Urban San Diego Board for a minimum of one year and agree to assume the Board Chair position in 2017 for at least a one-year term.

Communications Committee Chair The Communications Committee facilitates Chapter communications through website maintenance, newsletters, social media and networking and ensures consistency of communications to members, media and the community. The Committee oversees marketing and getting the word out regarding Chapter activities. The Communications Chair oversees the committee and supports the Chapter Co-Leaders in tracking Slow Food California, Slow Food USA and Slow Food International activities of interest and in sharing SFUSD activities with other Slow Food entities. Strong writing, editing and communications skills required.

Sincerely, Slow Food Urban San Diego Board of Directors

 

Educating and Advocating for Healthy Bees in San Diego: Profile of San Diego Beekeeping Society Secretary Camille Smith

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San Diego Beekeeping Society Honeybees intuitively know when it’s time to nurture a new queen. So it’s no surprise that when Camille Smith landed in San Diego, the bees took flight to bring her a hive to nurture in preparation for a role as Secretary and Volunteer, Recruitment and Event Planning Coordinator of the San Diego Beekeeping Society.

Smith has always been interested in bees, but it wasn’t until she moved to California in 2008 that she had the opportunity to keep a hive of her own. That summer, three swarms came through her backyard, enticing her to buy a bee box. The bees didn’t return, but a few months later a friend called saying they had caught a swarm. Her forays as a suburban beekeeper had begun.

Over the next few months, she read a numerous books about beekeeping, watched educational videos on YouTube and joined the San Diego Beekeeping Society. From her mentor and working with society members, she learned hands-on how to properly care for bees to help them thrive.

Her initial interest in working bees quickly transformed into heartfelt passion.

“I love working with the bees,” gushes Smith. “It is so amazing how they work completely collectively with no ego. Everything they do is for the benefit of the entire hive. Even at the end of their lives, they go outside the hive to die so their sisters don’t have to clean out their bodies.”

This level of collective thinking inspires Smith in her role bringing people together at the San Diego Beekeeping Society. She and more than 1,000 volunteer members work to educate people about bees and best practices in responsible beekeeping. They visit schools and participate in community events to increase awareness about pollination and bees among people of all ages.

“The more information people have about bees, the more people are aware to not use pesticides/herbicides in their yards,” explains Smith.

The San Diego Beekeeping Society also works to advocate for legislation that is friendlier to bees and beekeeping. They had success a few years ago working with a coalition to loosen restrictions on urban beekeeping and designate best practices for keeping bees in the City of San Diego. More recently, the San Diego Beekeeping Society has worked with the County of San Diego to update their policies to make it easier for beekeepers to comply with the ordinances.

“We’ve made good progress,” says Smith. “We are proud to be doing our little part to help support the bees, and we have more people every month interested in becoming beekeepers.”

Even with growing efforts to support them, bees are not out of danger. Colonies are still collapsing from the combined effects of exposure to pesticides and herbicides, monoculture that limits access to food sources when crops are not blooming, and weakened immune systems from parasitic mites.

What can you do to learn more and support healthy bees?

Like the community-minded bees, together we can do more. Take it from a resident Queen Bee:

“Bees pollinate one third of the crops we eat,” explains Smith. “There is a direct relationship between the bees, our food, and our health. By voting with our pocket books – choosing to support local and sustainable food production through farmers’ markets and CSA – the food vendors will have to adjust. And the bees will fare better too.”

Making Mead and Better Food Systems for Us All - An Interview with Golden Coast Mead CEO, Frank Golbeck

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View More: http://taylorabeel.pass.us/goldencoast A few years ago, Frank Golbeck came home from his eighth 16-hour workday in a row and collapsed from exhaustion on his living room floor. His wife, Theresa, came up to him and said; “Frank, you’re not happy. Look at you, just lying on the floor there miserable after work. If you had all the time, money and energy in the world, what would you do?”

Golbeck had never stopped to ask himself if he enjoyed what he was doing with his life. Prompted by his wife’s question, his mind drifted back to his early years growing up in Orange County. He often visited his grandfather’s apple farm in San Bernardino and has fond memories of watching him share his honey wine (mead), hard cider and fruit wine with customers.

During his college years studying economic development at UC Berkeley, Golbeck and some friends worked at the student organic garden and made mead to share with their friends. Those were some of his favorite moments – breaking open a bottle of home-brewed mead to kick off a dance-until-the-sunrise kind of night.

Inspired by his wife’s encouragement and the joy of recollecting such happy times in his life, Golbeck called up his college friend and fellow mead maker, Joe Colangelo (now Golden Coast Mead Director of Sales and Marketing). They brainstormed about how to turn their love of mead into a viable business plan. Quickly recognizing a need for someone to manage their finances, they reached out to Praveen Ramineni (now Golden Coast Mead CFO), and working together, developed the concept for Golden Coast Mead (of which Golbeck is now CEO).

In 2010, after sending inquiries to more than 50 local breweries and wineries, the Broomell family (of Triple B Ranches and Vesper Vineyards) was the only respondent willing to share their capacity and expertise. With Triple B’s support, the Golden Coast Mead team sold their first batch of mead in 2011.

Today, almost five years later, Golden Coast Mead is fermenting mead in their own fully licensed facility with 4,370 gallons of fermentation capacity, and they distribute their ferments to nearly 100 accounts throughout San Diego County. They also serve select locations in Orange County, Los Angeles, New York and New Jersey.

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So what makes Golden Coast Mead special?

Golbeck calls their process and product “magic.”

“We are capturing sunshine and turning it into something you can pour for your friends and drink together,” gushes Golbeck. “Modern mead-making is a journey of discovery and craftsmanship.  Using a combination of innovation, science and educated guesswork, we unlock layers and styles of mead that no one has ever tasted.  There is a whole spectrum of mead for us to create that runs wider and deeper than that of beer and wine, and we are proud to do it in a natural, refreshing, and balanced way with no sulfites, filtration, or forced carbonation.”

Golden Coast Mead’s signature San Diego-style mead is a result of this commitment to innovation.

“By adjusting ingredient ratios, we are able to change the body and flavor profile to make it really well suited to our San Diego climate,” says Golbeck. “By using ale yeast and less honey, we are making meads that are crisp and light instead of thick and syrupy.”

View More: http://taylorabeel.pass.us/goldencoast

An all natural product? Check. Unique flavor profiles? Check. But what about the impact Golden Coast Mead is having on the bigger ecological system in the San Diego region and beyond?

“The bees enable and inspire this whole thing,” says Golbeck. “With colony collapse disorder, we have an opportunity to right an imbalance caused by monoculture, which is harmful to bees’ fragile immune systems. We are trying to promote organic agriculture business models by helping to build the market for local, organic honey on a large scale.”

So what’s the takeaway?

Golbeck hopes Golden Coast Mead will inspire people to do what they love and share it. In turn, perhaps this will create more sustainable food systems for us all.

You can taste Golden Coast Mead’s latest brews at their tasting rooms in Oceanside and Julian, look for them at a local beer and wine store near you, or try their mead at Slow Food Urban San Diego’s “Sweet Sips” Networking Event and Screening of “More than Honey” on July 23.

View More: http://taylorabeel.pass.us/goldencoast

Photo credits @Taylor Abeel of www.sojournimagery.com

Join us for a Wooly Pig Carnitas Cook-out!

Turn in your taxes and Join Slow Food Urban San Diego, The Linkery, Chef Jair Téllez of Laja Restaurant in the Valle de Guadalupe and Rancher Sam Woolley of Valley Center for a carnitas cook-out.  Arrive early for a presentation on this Ark of Taste recognized breed and a meet and greet with the Chef and Rancher.

Tickets are $15 for three tacos and a small draft beer or soda.  Tacos will also be sold á la carte for $4/each the day of the event.

Ark of Taste Presentation begins at 12:30 PM

We'll see you there!

Salone del Gusto, Terra Madre and the International Congress in Italy

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Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, Slow Food’s biennial international food fair and sustainability conference concluded last week in Turin, Italy.  This year, the event was attended by Slow Food Urban San Diego’s Co-Leader, Candice Woo and the chapter’s Co-Founder, Donna McLoughlin, who were among the 200,000+ attendees - including Slow Food leaders, activists, educators and farmers - who participated in educational sessions focused on animal welfare, health, social issues and food waste and attended taste workshops featuring wine, craft beer, cheese and artisan food.  Among the speakers at the event’s opening ceremony were Alice Waters, Slow Food’s vice president, famed restaurateur and founder of the Edible Schoolyard and Nikki Henderson, Executive Director of the People’s Grocery in Oakland.

The week in Turin also hosted the International Congress, a global Slow Food gathering of 650 delegates from 95 different countries, including two delegates from Southern California.  The key event purpose was to help define the future of the organization and was led by Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food and the non profit’s current president, who was re-elected for another term.  Petrini spoke about his next goals for Slow Food, or “Slow Food 2.0”, including increasing the number of food gardens being created by Slow Food chapters in Africa, expanding the work to protect biodiversity of food products around the world and growing Slow Food’s network, which is currently comprised of 1,500 international chapters.

Speakers from countries across the globe, including China, Israel, Brazil and Somalia, gave presentations on issues concerning their local food communities and U.S. delegate Michael Dimock, Slow Food Russian River founder and President of Roots of Change, proposed a motion and received the delegation’s support of the goal of Proposition 37, the Label GMO ballot initiative in California, which Slow Food Urban San Diego also supports.

 

- By Candice Woo

Slow Food Urban San Diego hosts the first Southern California Regional Chapter Dinner

Slow Food Urban San Diego was honored to host a regional chapter dinner that included leaders and board members from Slow Food Orange CountySlow Food Temecula and Slow Food San Diego North County. Our guest for the evening was Michael Dimock, President of Roots of Change and Slow Food Russian River board member. Special Thanks to Chefs Jeff Jackson, Kara Snyder and the staff at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. [nggallery id=10]

In Case You Missed It… Fermentation!

by Erin Batty May 10th was standing room only at the Triangle building, and emails and calls continue to filter in requesting information about ginger-beer, raw milk cheese, water kefir, and the like.  I think this calls for another fermentation class!

Little did I know that fermenting is a passion shared by so many Urban San Diegans.  But to my pleasant surprise, the lacto-fermentation class sold out and a sizeable donation was generated for Seeds at City Urban Farm.  Thank you to all who attended for your interest, enthusiasm, and participation!

Lacto-fermented foods are uniquely nourishing to the body and open the door to a world of complex flavors.  Enhance your sandwich with Stogsdill’s kraut, suit your salad with fermented dressings, make a snack of pickled vegetables, or pair your potatoes with homemade ketchup.  There are endless possibilities for fermented foods, if only there were more hours in the day to try them all!

Pickled carrots are elementary.  Who is ready to step it up a notch at the next fermentation workshop?

In the meantime, enjoy this surprisingly simple recipe for delicious homemade ketchup…

Joint Green Drinks and SFUSD Mixer at SOL Markets

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Members and friends of Slow Food Urban San Diego and Green Drinks San Diego met at SOL Markets on Thursday, March 29th to celebrate local food artisans in our community.  Proceeds from the event benefitted Second Chance's JOLT Program.  In attendance were The People's Produce ProjectCatalina Offshore ProductsGluten Free by Betsy G.Chuao ChocolatierVesper Vineyards and Triple B. RanchesSouth Coast WineryCafe VirtuosoSadie Rose Baking CompanyJackie's JamsStogsdill's PicklesSolar RainHess BrewingFoxy Treats and SuperFood Drive.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and making this event such a success!

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Volunteer Day at Seeds at City Urban Farm

[singlepic id=69 w=500 h=400 float=] Members from the Urban San Diego and USD chapters of Slow Food came together at Seeds@City for a tour, a lecture and some hands-on learning led by Head Farmer Paul Maschka.  Paul's talk focused on the farming program at Seeds@City, farming methods, composting, soil, worms, bugs and how it all comes together to create the lush farm that exists in the urban setting at City College.  Afterwards, everyone got to get their hands dirty cultivating soil, putting down irrigation tubes, and planting seeds that will produce colorful gourds.  All in all, it was a fun-filled morning of education supporting this fantastic program at City College.  Stay tuned for more events, and in the meantime Seeds@City welcomes volunteers on any Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday morning.  For more information, visit:  http://www.sdcity.edu/SeedsAtCity

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FEEDING AMERICA: SAN DIEGO'S FARM2KIDS PROGRAM

Please Join your fellow Slow Food Urban San Diego members in a food justice volunteer event with Feeding America San Diego's Farm2Kids program.

We will learn more about the Farm2Kids program, which provides low income children a selection of fresh produce for their families to make healthy meals at home.

In this community service project, we will help sort and clean bags of produce that will be delivered to various schools throughout San Diego County for after-school distribution.

You must pre-register for this event by tomorrow, Friday, September 16th.

Date and Time: Tuesday, September 20 5:30-8pm

RSVP: Must RSVP by Friday, Sept 16 Meet at: 9455 Waples Street, Suite 135 San Diego, CA 92121

Notes: Arrive at 5:30pm to sign-in and fill-out waiver forms. Wear closed-toe shoes, comfortable clothing and pull back long hair (hats are encouraged).

To Learn more about Feeding America San Diego and the Farm2Kids program visit: Feeding America San Diego

Join SFUSD on Aug. 27th for Fair Farm Bill mixer!

HOME BREW CLASS WITH BALLAST POINT BREWING CO. JULY 17th

Join us for a special Slow Food Urban San Diego brewing session at Home Brew Mart and Ballast Point Linda Vista.  You'll learn the basics of home brewing as we create a locally-sourced beer using White Labs yeast and hops from Ramona's Star B Hop Ranch .  


Tickets are $15 for Slow Food Members and $20 for Non-Members.  Two tasters of Ballast Point Brewing Co. beer are also included in the class plus you'll have the opportunity to return to taste our Slow Food beer. Space is limited.

WHEN:  July 17th, 1:00pm-4:00pm
WHERE: Home Brew Mart
5401 Linda Vista Road, San Diego  CA 92110