Slow Fish 2016 - Building a Better Seafood System

by Sarah M. Shoffler, SFUSD Seafood Liaison

In March 2016, over 200 fishermen, fishmongers, chefs, scholars, activists, students and community leaders gathered in New Orleans for four days of stories, food, art and music. Slow Fish 2016 was glorious. We shared our successes and our challenges in striving for good, clean & fair seafood for all. Sarah tells us more about this event and how San Diegans can apply good, clean & fair values to our seafood consumption. 

“The world’s fisheries are in trouble. 70% are either exploited, overexploited or have already collapsed” is what media tells us. This leaves the impression that we manage our fisheries so poorly that we’ll soon empty the oceans of seafood. Not so.

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In the U.S. at least, our fishermen are among the most stringently managed. If they catch too many fish or harm protected populations (e.g. dolphins or endangered turtles), we have to do something – shut down the fishery, or change fishing gear, season, location, etc. The number of fish populations overfished in the U.S. is decreasing, not increasing.

Here’s a more thorough treatment of the issue that explains why the doom-and-gloom narrative is wrong and destructive.

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What can we do? How can we wade through the misinformation and support a healthy seafood system? Enter Slow Fish, a grassroots international campaign to promote good, clean & fair seafood. We do this while bringing joy to the efforts to restore marine ecosystems and support fishing communities. That’s a deep order, so how do we do it?

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In March 2016, over 200 fishermen, fishmongers, chefs, scholars, activists, students and community leaders gathered in New Orleans for four days of stories, food, art and music. Slow Fish 2016 was glorious. We shared our successes and our challenges in striving for good, clean & fair seafood for all.

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Local attendees included: Sea urchin fisherman and community leader, Peter Halmay, who shared how a fishermen's market in San Diego was created; Chef Drew Deckman of Deckman's en el Mogor, a Slow Fish advocate who cooked and shucked his weight in oysters for us; Scripps Institution of Oceanography student volunteers: Flora Drury, Kate Masury and Catherine Courtier, who's masters projects focus on fishermen's markets, value chains and sustainable seafood; SFUSD member, Eric Buchanan, who volunteered as official event photographer; SFUSD's vice chair and seafood liaison Sarah Shoffler, who was on the event planning team with partners from across the U.S. plus Canada and Italy.

Performers of "Cry You One," opening Slow Fish 2016 with the story of Louisiana's disappearing wetlands, so critical to fisheries. Photo: E. Buchanan

I met family fishermen from Florida to Alaska, who continuously adapt their practices to changing management and ecosystems. They fish in small boats. Or large. They use the most up to date gear with turtle excluder devices and pingers (to avoid dolphins). They fish weirs, fishing gear whose origin dates back to before the emergence of modern humans. They are young – I met a 20 year old woman named Erica from Nova Scotia, who fishes weirs with her father. They are not so young – San Diegan sea urchin diver Pete Halmay joined us and shared his story of starting San Diego’s first fishermen’s market – where fishermen sell their catch directly to the public.

These people love the ocean and what it brings us.

Fishmongers from Moss Landing shared how they started a community supported fishery (CSF) and a “Bay-to-Tray” program where they provide bycatch from the black cod fishery to school lunch programs –animals that would otherwise be wasted. Another fisherman shared his story of building a business where he takes people fishing on San Francisco Bay and teaching them to cook what they eat. We heard so many big and small ways of supporting a healthy food system, one based on good, clean & fair seafood for all.

Slow Food Urban San Diego member, CHef Drew Deckman and Louisiana fishermen, Lance Nacio shucking oysters -- Baja Kumiai and Louisiana. Photo: S. Shoffler

I was buoyed to learn that efforts in San Diego to support our small-scale fisheries are seen as successes elsewhere. And that by supporting local fishermen with my business, I invest in families and the local economy as well as give hope to folks who are so often portrayed as the enemy to our marine ecosystem, when in fact they offer many of the solutions to sustain it.

SFUSD Slow Fish Plans

(1) Now: Connect local chefs directly to local fishermen - this is the best way to get the freshest most sustainable seafood on our restaurant plates. If any chefs would like to meet our local seafood producers, please get in touch.

(2) Soon: Collaborate with local chefs, fishermen, fishmongers and others to bring you Seafood Saturdays - a campaign to promote local US-caught seafood in San Diego and to teach San Diegans how to prepare, cook and enjoy the local bounty. Check us out at the Tuna Harbor pier starting April 16th.

(3) Future: Research barriers to keeping local seafood local. Why is the local catch sent outside the City, County and Country? How can we keep it here? Why should we?

(4) Future: Keep our waterfront a working waterfront. How can we maintain our cultural heritage as a fishing community? How can we revive it? How do we keep the harvest of this healthy and delicious resource in our community?

What’s a seafood lover to do?

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Slow Fish 2016 fisherman and young winner of the rock, paper, scissors contest being lead by Slow Fish USA leader, Kevin.

Baja Kumiai oysters. Photo: S. Shoffler

Slow Fish 2016 attendees listening raptly to a discussion of fishery policy in one of our ever-changing venues. Photo: E. Buchanan

Slow Food members from Austin, San Diego and New Orleans talking fish. Photo: M Lothrop

Fisherman Lance Nacio's Loisiana shrimp. Photo: E. Buchanan

Bringing the Table to the Farm - Deckman's en el Mogor

by Sarah M. Shoffler, SFUSD Board Member

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In the heart of the Valle de Guadalupe wine country, up a hillside you’ll find the sensate joy of Deckman’s en el Mogor. Set on Mogor Ranch, this restaurant aims to “bring the table to the farm.” It delivers a Slow Food feast.

The extensive Mogor Ranch and winery grows or produces all the wine, vegetables, herbs, lamb and eggs that the talented Drew Deckman uses in his outdoor-served cuisine. Not only is the food fresh, you get to experience the terroir in which it was grown while you eat it. Sipping Mogor’s wine in the place its grapes were grown and the wine vinted, nibbling produce grown not feet away from where you sit opens the senses to a place. Drew sources all his seafood and other ingredients, from salt to cheese to beef, as locally and as responsibly as possible. He knows his food producers.

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This all means that the menu is seasonal, ever changing and made to order. I’m no food writer, but I can tell you his food is delicious, cooked with care and creativity. Deckman is also passionate about oysters. So if you love these bivalves, you’ll find a friend at Deckman’s.

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Deckman’s is an outdoor restaurant, sometimes equipped with haybale walls and a makeshift roof, but outdoors nonetheless. It overlooks the Valle. You see wineries for miles from your table. You smell the warmth from the Ranch rising as the sun sets. Deckman, who refers to himself as an ingredient facilitator not a chef despite his Michelin star, cooks on an outdoor grill. He chats with guests as they come and go. It’s altogether convivial. The Ranch dog, Pyrenea, might make a pass through the restaurant for a few scritches if she’s off duty from guarding the flock. All to say, it’s a magical experience rooted in the place.

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Slow Food Urban San Diego is pleased to welcome Deckman’s en el Mogor as one of our newest Member Benefit Partners. SFUSD members get 10% off their entire Deckman’s en el Mogor bill. We encourage you to make time to visit the winery, as well.

Magic night at Mogor Ranch. Photo credit: S. Shoffler

Deckman's en el Mogor Km. 85.5 Highway 3 Tecate-Ensenada San Antonio De Las Minas, Baja California, Mexico Contact them at mogor@deckmans.com / telephone: 646-188-3960

Board Members Sought

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Are you organized, passionate and willing to help with the nitty gritty of accomplishing Good, Clean & Fair? Then we want you! Seeking detail-oriented energetic folks to round out our board. All positions are voluntary. Send a resume or bio and letter of interest to volunteer@slowfoodurbansandiego.org with subject header "Board Application."

Members of the Board serve up to two two-year terms in any one position. To be eligible, you must have or obtain a Slow Food membership. Open positions described below.

The Great American Slow Food Revolution

Good Food Community Fair Chair  Slow Food Urban San Diego is seeking an organized event planner that is passionate about building community around good, clean & fair food for all. The Chair will run committee meetings and organize/manage logistics, fundraising opportunities and special programming for the 4th annual Good Food Community Fair. The Good Food Community fair is a gathering of good, clean & fair organizations and a celebration of local food and craft drinks with cooking demos, art, discussion panels and more. For more information visit: http://goodfoodfair.com/. Also seeking Co-Chair to train up into the position.

 

Slow Sips March 5th @Tiger!Tiger!

Slow-Sips-March-2016 Join us for our first Slow Sips of the year. Meet our board and learn what's up for 2016 in the Good, Clean & Fair Food for All world. Plus, meet the folks behind the meat at Tiger!Tiger! and their friendly bakers.

But wait, there's more! Light snacks provided and SFUSD members get 10% off food and drinks. RAWR, indeed!

Slow Sips are networking and community-building events put on by Slow Food chapters. It's one of the ways we celebrate food as a cornerstone of community.

Join the Facebook event. 

Slow Fish 2016 - send a Valentine to a Fisherman

https://youtu.be/jhaCp2dD1s0 Show your love and appreciation for local fishermen by sending them to Slow Fish 2016 in New Orleans this March!

Slow Food Urban San Diego is sending two fishermen. Support the campaign to help send more from around the world! 

Slow Fish 2016 will bring together fishermen, chefs and other fishing community stakeholders from around the world to highlight successes and challenges in bringing good clean and fair seafood to all: from changing ecosystems to variable fish stock health; privatization of the public resource to issues surrounding fair price and working waterfronts; and how we can improve access to fresh local seafood.

More information here!

Best. Job. Ever. Making Slow Wine in a Fast World.

by Sarah Shoffler, SFUSD Board Member

I used to think that “rockstar” had to be the best job in the world. According to Cecilia Naldoni, winemaker at the Grifalco Winery in Basilicata, Italy, I was wrong.

“We do the best job in the world.”

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One of four winemakers from Italy touring southern California this month as part of Slow Wine 2016, Naldoni and her colleagues love what they do, despite the difficulties.

Join us for Slow Wine with the Matriarchs on Friday, January 29th.

Slow Food believes that wine, just as with food, must be good, clean, and fair – not just good. Slow Wine supports small-scale Italian winemakers who use traditional techniques, respect the environment and terroir, and safeguard the diversity of Italy’s grapes.

“Slow Wine is how we approach life. It is our philosophy,” says Naldoni. But this lifestyle, this philosophy is not easy to affect. “The difficulty is that our world is going the opposite way, and we have to resist and fight this a lot.”

Sorelle Bronca, whose winemaker Antonella Bronca is on tour, grows their vines on high steep hills in Veneto, where standing can be difficult, let alone farming. Moreover, organic wine, which all four visiting winemakers produce, in general tends to produce lower yields than conventionally-produced wines. Basilicata, where the Grifalco winery is located, is the most mountainous region in Italy, which can’t make farming grapes easy.

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While producing the high quality “Slow Wines” that these women make takes sacrifice and work in difficult land, they contend that making wine this way is worth it. The rewards are substantial. “Slow wine rewards not only the wine but also the relationship of the grower with the territory,” claims Elisa Piazza, enologist at Sorelle Bronca in Veneto, Italy.

Angela Fronti of Istine in Tuscany says that the most rewarding part is being able to produce what she loves in the way she loves. “Maybe in the beginning it was difficult to change the mentality of my parents. They are from a generation who produced conventionally. But actually, they are happy now, too,” says Fronti.

“We are a woman company that produces high quality wines and, like people do with women, we pamper our vineyards and land,” says Piazza whose family has been producing wine for three generations. “Wine is the pleasure of life,” she contends.

Naldoni describes the pleasure she has in producing Slow Wine and how the wines themselves benefit. “We are always under the sky, looking up and thinking about our vineyard. We can be responsible, sensitive and manage our grapes as we would a little child, leaving his best peculiarities alive, and just letting him be what he can be, at his best.”

Saluti to letting wine be its best self.

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Join us at Slow Wine with the Matriarchs to meet these Italian vintners on Friday, January 29th at The Rose in South Park. 6:30-8:30 pm.

Angela Fronti of Istine from Tuscany Antonella Bronca of Sorelle Bronca from Veneto Cecillia Naldoni Piccin of Grifalco from Basilicata Matilda Poggi of Le Fraghe from Veneto

Taste 8+ wines, enjoy a complimentary aperativo, and chat with four rad ladies making organic wine. $5 from every ticket benefits Slow Food Urban San Diego.

Buy your tickets ahead of time or at the door.

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The New Edible San Diego for Kids is Here!

ESD-Kids-web-page-masthead Slow Food Urban San Diego is excited to announce the arrival of the Winter 2015/6 issue of Edible San Diego for Kids. This issue is all about dairy and meat. It features articles written by and for San Diego kids, a delicious recipe and a gardening activity.

This issue is appropriate for 4th through 6th grade independent readers. It may also be worked into lesson plans for younger students or sent home for reading with their families.

Edible San Diego for Kids is produced by Slow Food Urban San Diego's Education Committee in collaboration with Edible San Diego.

If you are interested in having copies delivered to your school, please email LisaJoy@slowfoodurbansandiego.org

See past issues here.

Join us for a Slow Wine Tasting with the Matriarchs

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Please join us on January 29th for a Slow Wine tasting at the fabulous Rose Wine Bar in South Park. For this event The Rose is excited to welcome to their side bar four Matriarchs of Italian wine making on their USA Slow Wine tour. The tasting will include four wines from four producers and a complimentary apertivo. Tastings are $25 with $5 of each tasting going to Slow Food Urban San Diego. Hope to see you there!
Event details:
Date January 29th
Time: 6:30-8:30
Location: The Rose Wine Bar, Side Bar
Address: 2219 30th Street
Price: $25

Get your tickets here.

Share the Facebook page!

Join us for Slow Fish 2016

Join us for a collaborative gathering of fishermen, scientists, chefs, students, co-producers and gastronomes from across continental North America and beyond, searching to find solutions to the many challenges that affect fisheries, habitats, oceans, and cultural seafood systems in New Orleans, March 10th - 13th.  SlowFish2016Logo

In addition to a conference in the Old US Mint and a seafood festival in the French Market, Slow Fish 2016 in New Orleans will feature a traditional Lenten Friday Night Fish Fry at the French Market, tours of Louisiana’s rapidly disappearing wetlands and coast and other events around town and throughout the region.We guarantee that anyone brave enough to attend will have a great time, incredible food experiences, and will never ever look at watersheds, waterways, oceans and seafood the same way again.

We at Slow Food Urban San Diego are helping plan this awesome event. Let us know if you'd like to get involved or help send local fishermen and students. Here are some other ways you help: 

  1. Sign up and join the event.
  2. Want to host a local fundraiser to send local fishermen and students? Let us know
  3. LIKE and SHARE the Facebook Event Page
  4. Write a blog. If you or someone you know would like to write a blog on the topic of good, clean, and fair seafood for all -- we wanna highlight you!
  5. Be a presenter. Share stories and your experiences around seafood business, healthy oceans, and fish policy. See our request for Pesce-Kucha style presentations or email us directly.
  6. Sign up to volunteer!
  7. Share this information with your friends. 
Slow Fish 2016
Please contact us with any questions or if you'd like to get involved in any way!
Email: Sarah@slowfoodurbansandiego.org

 

SFUSD Welcomes New Board Members

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The pineapple has long been a symbol of welcome in the Americas. Here we use it to welcome our new board members. SFUSD welcomes three new board members this month: Darcy Shiber-Knowles, Lisa Joy and Stephanie Parker. Our full roster for 2016 is listed below. We've reorganized the board, collapsing and expanding some positions. We look forward to working towards a Good, Clean & Fair San Diego food system and sharing with our San Diego community this coming year! Stay tuned for upcoming celebrations and efforts.

Rachel Helmer - Chair Sarah Shoffler - Vice Chair & Communications Coordinator Dana Palermo - Secretary Darcy Shiber-Knowles - Treasurer Kathryn Rogers - Food Justice Chair & Outreach Coordinator Tania Alatorre - Good Food Community Fair & Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Parker - Farm Liaison & Ark of Taste Chair Lisa Joy - Education Chair

Learn more about them here.

We also extend our warmth and gratitude to the board members who recently stepped down: Jennifer Leong, Chelsea Coleman, Owen Salerno, Lydia Wisz, Aundrea Dominguez, Jessica Barlow, Christina Nelson and Adina Batnitzky. We so appreciate your contributions and leadership over the past several years and know that our future accomplishments will rest on the shoulders of your efforts.

Interested in joining our board? We still have room for a Communications Chair, Fundraising Chair and Membership Chair. Learn more about these positions here.

How the New Pacific to Plate Bill is Bringing Good, Clean and Fair Fish to San Diegans

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Pacific to Plate Bill San Diego

By Kathryn Rogers and Sarah Shoffler, Slow Food Urban San Diego Board Members

Slow Food Urban San Diego (SFUSD) joined the San Diego Food System Alliance (SDFSA), local fishermen, scientists, government leaders and community partners this week in celebration of local fisheries.

On December 7, 2015, more than 100 fish-loving friends gathered together at the waterfront Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego for inspiring speeches, a lively panel discussion and delicious local seafood served in honor of the recent passage of the “Pacific to Plate” bill AB226. The new bill, sponsored by Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and signed into law in October by Governor Jerry Brown, allows fishermen’s markets to operate as food facilities, vendors to clean their fish for direct sale, and multiple fishermen to organize a market under a single permit. Put simply, the bill makes it easier for fishermen to sell directly to the public, much like farmers can.

Chef Graham Kent, of SoCal Fish, and his staff prep uni shooters for attendees to try

The process to develop the bill sprung from the early success of Tuna Harbor Dockside Market (THDM), which opened to the public in August 2014 and averaged more than 350 customers and 1.1 tons of seafood sold each week in its first months of operation. Recognizing the potential of a longer-term, direct-to-consumer market (the original operated under a temporary permit), County Supervisor Greg Cox, the County’s Department of Environmental Health, Port Commissioner Bob Nelson, the Unified Port of San Diego, California Sea Grant, NOAA, California Restaurant Association, The Maritime Alliance, California Coastal Conservancy, the local media, fishermen, researchers and supporters collaborated to draft a bill that met the desires of local fishermen and consumers. It received unanimous support in the California Assembly and Senate.

How does the new bill align with Slow Food’s mission of Good, Clean and Fair Food for All?

Good: The bill makes it easier for local fishermen to sell directly to consumers, and eliminates added transit time and processing/freezing compared to seafood imported from other countries or regions. The fish sold at THDM is caught by San Diego fishermen in local waters, most of it coming out of our oceans no more than a couple of days before it ends up in consumers’ kitchens. If you’ve ever tasted fresh caught sea urchin (a San Diego local favorite), you can tell the difference - big time. If you haven’t, get yourself down to THDM for an uni scramble or shooter. Your taste buds may never be the same.

Clean: Local sourcing means a smaller carbon footprint - no added fuel costs for fish flown or trucked to our markets from other states and countries. And US fisheries are among the most stringently regulated the world, meaning that if there’s a problem – either we’re fishing them too fast, there are too few or we’re catching protected species, we are mandated to do something about it. Our fishermen are required to stop fishing, slow fishing, or change fishing practices in some way to ensure we’re fishing sustainably.

Fair: One of the greatest benefits of a true fishermen’s market is that it promotes collaboration among local fishermen. Take it from fisherman Pete Halmay, a member of the Fishermen’s Market Working Group and longtime sea urchin diver:

“One of the best things I've seen with this direct market is that every Saturday 10 to 12 fishermen sit down together, work together, to maximize the benefits to the population. They are bringing in a wider variety of fish so each fisherman can generate more sales and bring more diverse options to consumers.”

San Diego’s seafood is wide-ranging indeed. We don't have just tuna and shrimp (two of the most commonly eaten seafood products in the US) in our waters. Our harbors and oceans are full of rockfish (dozens of species!), crab, lobster and snails, among other smaller fish like sardines, sand dabs, and mackerel.

Manchester Grand Hyatt Executive Chef Sutti Sripolpa and Scripps Mercy Chef Cindy Quinonez admire the wide variety of rockfish available at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

For All: The direct-to-consumer market allows fishermen to run specials when they catch a big run of fish, passing the abundance onto consumers in the form of lower prices.

The passage of the Pacific to Plate bill is a major milestone in bringing good, clean and fair seafood to all San Diegans. So what’s next?

During Monday’s event, Dr. Theresa Sinicrope Talley, Coastal Specialist for the California Sea Grant Extension at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego moderated an expert panel that raised some important questions about where we can go from here to create an even more sustainable seafood system. Barriers to getting seafood from dock to dish still remain, including:

  1. Lack of infrastructure for San Diego fishermen to offload their catch at local docks.
  2. Logistical constraints including limited market hours (currently Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is only open Saturdays from 8 a.m. until around 1 p.m.) that make it hard from some consumers and chefs to get there.
  3. Limited awareness among locals and visitors that the market exists, where else they can buy local seafood, and how they can prepare the less well known seafood produced locally.

Stay tuned for local efforts to address these issues. In the meantime, SFUSD is seeking local chefs and community partners interested in collaborating on these efforts. Contact us to learn more.

And, be sure to pay a visit to THDM to see these fish tales come to life. While you’re there, make sure to ask your local fishermen for their favorite seafood preparations!

Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

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!

Kale, Sausage, and Sweet Potato Soup

By Lisa Churchville, SFUSD Member

kale-soupI love a good bowl of soup. I like it steaming hot and full of goodies. I want the soup to delight my taste buds and fill my belly. This hearty soup has a smoky background, with a touch of heat and a touch of sweet.

What you’ll need to serve six people:

  • 1 onion, halved then sliced thin
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 14 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups peeled, diced sweet potatoes (2-3 small potatoes)
  • 1 bunch green kale, torn off stem into pieces
  • 2 or 3 hot Italian sausages, cooked (It’s important to use fully cooked sausage. You want the sausage to be spicy. If it isn’t fully cooked, the spiciness will drain into the broth and the sausage will taste just like the ground meat.)

Directions:

Drizzle some oil into a big soup pot. Drop in the onion and sauté until soft. Add the ground meat and garlic, and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Break up the meat while it’s browning. Once the meat is cooked through, add the diced tomatoes with juice, chicken broth, sweet potato, oregano, paprika, and salt. Bring to a boil. Add the kale.

I know this looks like A LOT

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but it cooks down to this.

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Cover the pot and lower to a simmer for 15-20 minutes until a fork can go through the sweet potato. Add sliced hot Italian sausage and simmer another 5-10 minutes until it's heated through.

What's YOUR favorite autumn recipe? Share it with us on Facebook!

 

 

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!

2015 Good Food Community Fair

By Sarah M. Shoffler, SFUSD board of directorsPhotos by Eric Buchanan

We had a great time at the 2015 Good Food Community Fair! This year's event, at the wonderful Quartyard, featured some of the best of San Diego's thriving slow food scene: coffee, honey, beer, pigs, sea urchins, yellowtail, sushi, oysters, kombucha, mead...plus farmers, fishermen, chefs, brewers, beekeepers, butchers, food researchers, publishers, educators and conservationists. Check out our photos below!

IMG_1024Over 40 partner organizations, our colleagues in the San Diego Slow Food movement, brought their variety of good, clean & fair food for all to our annual event. We owe our success to these partners, plus to our generous donors of food, supplies, raffle items, time and expertise, and to our awesome volunteers. Not to mention the rockstar staff at Quartyard. See you next year!

Like this year's artwork? You can buy an artist-signed print, of just the art, for $10. Email us at info@slowfoodurbansandiego.org. 

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Our amazing partners and sponsors:

1:1 MovementBaby CydesdaleCafé VirtuosoCalifornia Sea Grant, Scripps Institution of OceanographyCatalina Offshore ProductsCat Chiu PhillipsChef Rob RuizCity Farmers NurseryCity Farming AcademyCulinary Historians Of San DiegoCommunity Health Improvement PartnersCook Pigs RanchDuck Foot BrewingEdible San DiegoEpicurean San DiegoErnest MillerGirl Next Door HoneyGolden Coast MeadGreen Flash BrewingJeanne's Garden Program for ChildrenKashiLeah’s Pantry and EatFresh.orgMaster Gardeners of San DiegoNOAA Fisheries, Nomad DonutsNopalito Hop FarmOlivewood Gardens and Learning Center, One Bag World, Project New VillageRainThanksResource Conservation District of Greater San Diego CountyRevolution LandscapeSan Diego Weekly MarketsSlow Food San Diego State UniversitySlow Money SoCalSoCal FishStone Brewing Co.Surfrider Foundation San DiegoSuzie's FarmThe Humane LeagueTuna Harbor Dockside MarketVia International, Viva PopsWild Willow Farm & Education CenterWomen of Coffee Microfinance Fund, Specialty Produce, The Meat Men, Eclipse ChocolateThe Lodge at Torrey Pines, Next Door Wine + Craft Beer Bar, Dr. Bronner's, Blind Lady Alehouse, Leroy's Kitchen, Suzie's Farm, NINE-Ten, Curds and Wine, Epicurean San Diego, San Diego Food Systems Alliance.

Celebrate the Craft

By Rachel Helmer, SFUSD Board of Directors

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Slow Food Urban San Diego is honored and grateful to have been a part of the 13th annual Celebrate the Craft held at The Lodge Torrey Pines. The October event showcases the region's best chefs, produce, wine, and beer. Guests came from all over California to gather together and celebrate with local culinary artisans, growers, brewers and vintners that were there to showcase their craftsmanship.

FullSizeRenderA portion of the proceeds will be donated to Slow Food Urban San Diego, to support efforts in raising public awareness, improving access, and encouraging the enjoyment of foods that are local, seasonal, and sustainable. Thanks to everyone who came out and visited the Slow Food table and to Executive Chef Jeff Jackson and The Lodge for hosting such a beautiful event.

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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.

Girl Next Door Honey Pollinates Hearts and Minds

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By Sarah M. Shoffler, SFUSD Board of Directors

Bees are critical to pollinating plants and to growing thousands of fruits and vegetables that we eat. They are the only insect who make food that humans eat. But since the 1990s, beekeepers around the world have noticed bee colonies are disappearing. Added to that, droughts mean less access to their food supply. These things together spell trouble for these amazing five-eyed, honey-producing critters.

DID YOU KNOW? There are three types of bees: worker, drone and queen. All worker bees are females. Their wings beet 200 times per second or 12,000 beats per minute. The average worker bee produces about 1/12th of a tablespoon of honey in her lifetime. Bees communicate through pheromones and dances. Plus watch this.

Hillary Kearney of Girl Next Door Honey

But you don’t have to convince Hilary Kearney, Owner of Girl Next Door Honey, of the importance of bees. Her whole business is grounded in making bees accessible to people on every level.

“First and foremost I am educating people about bees and I find that they are often less afraid of them once they have a better understanding of what they do. I like to think of it as 'pollinating hearts and minds,” says Hilary. She does this by: teaching classes on backyard hives, managing home hives, relocating hives, teaching children about bees and giving Beehive Tours to the public. These efforts, she feels, will broaden bee knowledge among the public and lessen people’s fear of bees, which are critical to “engaging people with bees and on a larger scale their local food and ecosystem.”

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Hilary cares about her bees. Under normal conditions, bees will produce excess honey, enough to supply us humans with the sweet stuff and still feed themselves. But during a drought, there are fewer flowers, which means less nectar, which the bees need in order to make honey. So they may not be able produce enough for themselves and may have to work harder and travel further just to find the nectar. To support her bees, who rely on honey as their only food, Hilary doesn’t harvest honey during a drought. So when people buy honey from her, they can be assured that the bees it was taken from have enough food and are not starving.

Hillary tending her bees.

In addition, the drought has weakened the wild colonies in the area. They are producing smaller and weaker swarms (when a queen leaves a colony with worker bees to form a new colony). “When I do a bee rescue it takes more effort and resources to keep those bees alive and healthy” she says. Wondering what you can do to support bees?

HOW TO HELP BEES:

  • Avoid neonicotinoids in pesticides. These are thought to weaken bees’ immune system and make bees vulnerable to disease, parasites, extreme weather, viruses, poor nutrition, and other stressors.
  • Plant organic bee-friendly flowers, like California poppy, citrus, sage, sunflowers and others listed here.
  • Make a bee drinking fountain: fill a baking dish or pet water bowl with pebbles or marbles and water. The bees will stand on the marbles while they drink, without drowning.

To learn more about bees, honey, beekeeping and how to help bees, you can check out Girl Next Door’s partnership with Suzie's Farm and their new monthly Beehive Tours. You’ll be able to suit up and go into a beehive with Hilary. Or, come check her and our other bee-positive partners out at the Good Food Community Fair, Sunday, October 11th.

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