What is the WorldBeat Cultural Center?

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Slow Food Urban San Diego is excited to host this year’s Good Food Community Fair at the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park. The Good Food Community Fair is our largest annual gathering of food activists, producers and purveyors. This year we’re integrating the theme of ‘The True Cost and Value of Food’ into the day’s activities. We hope to bring awareness to the parts of the food system people don’t see, good and bad, and to focus on food justice concerns. With this in mind we couldn’t think of a better place to host than the WorldBeat Cultural Center (WBC).

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The WorldBeat Center is a non-profit multi-cultural arts organization committed to “healing the world through music, art, dance, education and sustainability” housed in a repurposed 1-million gallon water tower. They provide programs and services that nurture the spirit of children, elderly and everyone in between. Ultimately, they seek to heal the world by creating unity through diversity. Its doors are open every day to all people, regardless of color or creed, as a place to celebrate all cultures, art, music, dance, and people.

THE EDUCATION GARDEN

One of the many beautiful assets of this venue is the Children’s Peace Garden. This native garden is a favorite location for school garden projects, nutritional education programs, summer camps, field trips, and partnerships with local organizations dedicated to food security. Through this garden, the WBC  raises awareness around sustainability, urban wildlife, conservation, and urban gardening teaching inner city children and adults about recycling, composting, gardening and bird watching.

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The WBC utilizes this space to educate the public about the role of plants in society today along with the relationship of plants in the local and global indigenous cultures of the past. In 2015, in coalition with the local Kumeyaay, the World Beat Center embarked on a multi-level terraced garden of endemic and indigenous plants and vegetables that are part of the Kumeyaay lasting traditions.

THE SUSTAINABLE BUILDING

Not only is the building constructed of a repurposed water tower it’s sustainably run with LEED Certification, solar lighting fixtures, recycling and composting programs & handi-capable bathroom facilities.

With the inside walls covered in murals by local artists brightly commemorating important leaders and historical cultures, there are multiple galleries and small shops within the building where healthy local foods are served, locally-sourced goods are sold, and a gallery of art and artifacts is displayed. Flags of all nations fly from the ceiling while the stage and dancefloor have hosted hundreds of famous and upcoming acts, artists, and events to the delight of tens of thousands of fans and attendees.

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Known throughout California and Mexico for its exterior murals celebrating Egyptian, African, and Indigenous Cultures, the WorldBeat Center is leading as one of the most-important multicultural art and event centers in San Diego and we are proud to collaborate with the WBC and host the 2017 Good Food Community Fair in their space. We look forward to seeing you there!

Learn More about the Fair Here:  www.goodfoodfair.com

And get your tickets here (Only a $5 Suggested Donation!) 

Sincerely,

Michelle PolinerGood Food Community Fair Chair

Special Thanks to the WorldBeat Center Website and Facebook page for the photos used in this post. 

2017 Good Food Community Fair October 1st @ the World Beat Center

Get your tickets today!

Slow Food Urban San Diego brings together the largest collection of food system advocates in San Diego County: The 4th annual Good Food Community Fair. Come to the Worldbeat Center on Sunday, October 1st from 11am - 3pm as we celebrate all things slow and expand the community table to everyone interested in exploring the Good, Clean, and Fair food movement in San Diego.

The fair is part festival, part conference, part food-stravaganza. Enjoy culinary demos and panel discussions while sampling delicious libations and tasty treats from local food purveyors, tour the first sustainable, edible garden in Balboa park, meet local organizations dedicated to food justice, and learn about the true cost and value of food from some of the most prominent thought leaders in the entire San Diego region.

Programming will highlight and celebrate our community's successes in fair food and ways we can work toward a more just and regenerative food system for all people, animals, and the land.

Food Justice Policy Lead - seeking volunteers

SFUSD is looking for a Policy Lead for our Food Justice Committee. This volunteer position will help identify local policy issues of interest to SFUSD and the local food/farm/fishermen community and lead in advocacy efforts around them including awareness building, building strategic partnerships, attending town halls, organizing community meetings, etc. If you are detail oriented, passionate about food justice, a strong leader/advocate and enjoy digging into policy, we want to hear from you. Organization and writing skills a plus. This would also be a great position for someone looking to gain non-profit organizational, advocacy, or community organizer experience. We see this as a position for growth in our organization, possibly leading to a board position. All SFUSD volunteers enjoy and experience a community around food. Time commitment: flexible.
 
To apply, send us a short description of why you want to get involved and how you would make a great Policy Lead to: info at slowfoodurbansandiego dot org
 
Our mission: Slow Food Urban San Diego seeks to create connections, and strengthens community around issues of critical importance - including environment, health, culture and equity - to San Diego’s food system. Through educational programming, community outreach, awareness campaigns, and social gatherings, we unify food growers, harvesters, fishermen, makers, eaters and drinkers around a shared vision of good, clean and fair food system for all San Diegans.

 

Scholarships to Slow Food Nations

 
Slow Food Urban San Diego is pleased to offer up to 2 scholarships for local food system leaders to attend Slow Food Nations in Denver, CO on July 14-16, 2017. To be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:
 
Applications due no later than 10 p.m. PT on June 9th.
 

1. Active participant in San Diego's local food system (farmer, fisherman, chef, educator), and committed to good, clean and fair food for all San Diegans.

 
2. Available to attend Slow Food Nations in Denver, CO for the complete conference (arriving no later than the evening of July 14th and staying through the evening on July 16th).
 
3. Committed to working a 2-hour slot at the Slow Food California booth during the conference with a Slow Food Urban San Diego member to share information with attendees about San Diego food system efforts related to your subject matter of expertise. We will help you prepare and connect with others attending. 
 
4. Available to attend a Slow Food Urban San Diego board meeting in late summer/early fall 2017 to share key takeaways from the conference, and committed to attending at least one Slow Food community gathering this fall to share related info to our local food system.
 
5. Currently involved or interested in getting more involved with Slow Food Urban San Diego committee meetings or other supporting efforts.
 
Applications due no later than 10 p.m. PT on June 9th.
 

APPLY NOW >>>

Scholarship includes reimbursement of up to $1,000 for itemized travel expenses including airfare, lodging, food, conference fees and transportation, all of which much be coordinated in communication with a Slow Food Urban San Diego Board Member. All applications will be reviewed by the Slow Food Urban San Diego Board, and selected applicants will be notified via email no later than June 16th
 

Meet Your Fishermen

Their days usually start with listening to the weather. And are filled with doing what they love: fishing. Not slave to traffic patterns so much as the winds and currents, they harvest the food we eat in ever changing conditions.

Meet our fishermen on Feb 25th at an evening of local seafood & local wine!  Sea bass and box crab caught by San Diego's fishermen  and crafted into delicacies by MIHO Gastrotruck Wine produced by J*Brix

Seafood Demonstrations by the pros!

San Diego’s fishermen* harvest a diverse array of species: from swordfish, the most cunning of catches, to sea urchins, the sessile ocean starbursts. From 60+ species of rockfish which most restaurants call snapper to opah, a warm-blooded newcomer on the San Diego seafood scene with three distinct cuts of meat ranging from the fatty belly to the beef-like abductor muscle. Plus albacore, sardine, snails, whelks, black cod, octopus, spot prawns and more. The list of our local abundance goes on.

Fukushima and son and fish

San Diego is a unique location for the seafood industry in the world. We have a large diversity of year-round species. We have seasonal migrations of pelagic fish. And we have weather that makes seafood available year round.” – Kelly Fukushima, first generation San Diego fishermen.

On Saturday, February 25th, San Diegans have the opportunity to meet some of our local independent fishermen. The folks who chose a life of constant change – weather, regulations and fish availability – to provide our food. Slow Food celebrates these food producers. Box crab demonstrations all night and sea bass breakdown at 7pm. 

Kelli and Dan Major Fishing Vessel: Plan B Fishes: Box crab and just about anything available from Point Conception to the Mexico border and out 200 miles – lobster, octopus, whelk, rockfish, bonito, yellowtail…

Kelly Fukushima Fishing Vessel: Three Boys Fishes: swordfish, squid, crab, lobster, seabass, groundfish

Antonio Estrada Fishing Vessel: Caroline Louise Fishes: sea bass, including the one we’ll be eating on Sat

U.S. fisheries are among the most stringently regulated in the world.

“When San Diegans eat seafood from California fishermen, they are making a great choice for sustainable, responsible seafood and they are supporting artisanal fishing families.” – Kelly Fukushima

Box crab, harvested by Dan Major.

*Most people who fish commercially, whether man or woman, prefer the term fisherman over fisher, fisherwoman, etc.

And Evening with San Diego’s Independent Fishermen and Small-Production Winemakers

Slow Food Urban San Diego invites you to a Slow Fish & Slow Wine event featuring small-production winemakers and San Diego's independent fishermenHometown heroes MIHO Catering Co. will provide sea-to-street cuisine on-site with support from Hostess Haven, who’ll be handling the décor and look of the evening. The night will feature seafood demonstrations by the fishermen who caught the night’s sustainable fish as well as tunes, visuals, and antics provided by the Wine Not? team. 

GET TICKETS HERE

This February 25th, Wine Not?, the L.A.-based event and lifestyle unit of Bon Appétit Wine Editor Marissa A. Ross and event producer Evan Enderle, comes to San Diego in support of Slow Food Urban San Diego and J. Brix Wines. 

The event takes place from 6 to 9pm on the 25th. Tickets are $25 and include admission, wine tasting and small bites. Advance purchase is strongly recommended as space is limited. Tickets are available via WineNOT. Proceeds will benefit SFUSD’s programs to promote good, clean & fair seafood in San Diego.   The Rose is located at 2219 S. 30th Street and can be reached via telephone at 619.281.0718.

Support Slow Food's Educational Programming

A message from our Board

Dear Slow Food Urban San Diego Supporter,

As you enter into this season of giving thanks and enjoying food, please consider supporting Slow Food Urban San Diego in our efforts to teach the children of our community about good, clean and fair food for all. We need your help to continue our programming in schools and in the community focusing on instilling in our children the slow food values:

“Good” – enjoying the pleasures of healthy and delicious food

“Clean” – gardening for sustainability

“Fair” – producing food that respects economic and social justice

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Your support will enable us to continue our programming in schools and at local events including the Slow Food School Gardens and Edible San Diego for Kids. The Slow Food School Garden Curriculum provides lessons for taste education and basic cooking skills. The activities center around cooking and eating with the goal for students to customize and enjoy what they have grown. The lessons promote critical thinking and involve hands on actions by the students.

We believe in the power of this work to build our community and empower the next generation to continue the mission of good, clean and fair food for all. As Alice Waters has said,

“Edible education reaches and nourishes children deeply. It recognizes their worth and their power. It connects them to each other and to nature. It teaches them one of the fundamental values of democracy: that we are all dependent upon one another.”

Your donation will help us to do this work by enabling us to purchase some of the following items for our programming:

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Our goal is to raise $5000 to fund tabling kits for taste education and a new printing of Edible San Diego for Kids.

You can make your donation by clicking on the “Donate” button at the top of this page. If you would like to make a donation as a gift, please make a note in the comments when you make your donation and we will send you a gift certificate to present as your gift. We appreciate your support in this important work!

SFUSD is a 501c3 non-profit organization. All or part of your donation may be tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Please check with your tax adviser.

In Gratitude, Slow Food Urban San Diego

Recipes To Reduce Food Waste

Special thanks to Slow Food Urban San Diego volunteer Jenny Ikoma for these great food waste fighting recipes!

Cooking With Rind

How to get the most out of your food and reduce waste.

Parmesan is a wonderful ingredient in the kitchen but did you know that you can use the rind as well? Stop wasting those precious rinds and save them up in the freezer for some amazing uses. The natural rinds of cheeses like Parmesan, Pecorino, and Romano is air dried like a crust and edible. The rinds can be used to flavor soups, stews, rice and bean dishes almost like bay leaves. Parmesan rinds can even be thrown together with other vegetable scraps such as onion, celery, carrot, mushroom stems, and herb steams like cilantro or parsley to make a delicious and nutritious broth.

Basic White Beans

1Lb. dried white beans (great northern, cannellini, navy, zolfino for example)

10 cups of water (or broth as mentioned above)

1 bay leaf

3 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed (more if desired)

1 Tbs olive oil

Cheese rind

Heavy pot or slow cooker

 

  1. Wash beans and place in pot with water, bay, garlic, and oil.
  2. Bring to the boil over high heat. Once at a boil turn to low heat
  3. Simmer 30-60 min or until beans start to soften then add cheese rind and continue to simmer until fully cooked
  4. Drain if desired and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tips:

Do not add salt or use salted stock/broth at the beginning of the cooking process so that the beans cook quickly and evenly.

Any fresh or dried herbs can be added to the cooking process as desired.

Once cooked beans can be eaten as is or added to soup, pureed into a dip, topped on pizza, mixed into pasta, tossed into salad, or pared with rice.

Dried beans are versatile, healthy and cheap!

Fish Stock

How to get the most out of your food and reduce waste.

If you ever take a Saturday morning trip over to the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market at the Port of San Diego you will see a dazzling array of seafood for sale direct from the fishermen who just caught it. While you can get a whole fish at a fraction of the cost of the grocery store it can be a bit daunting to purchase. What do you do with a whole fish? There is a butchering station there that will cut it up for you but don’t waste those heads! Make your money go even farther by cooking up some fish fumet that can be used to make healthy and delicious soups and pastas. Use it in chowders, bisques, cioppino, miso, even as a warm cup of “bone broth”.

Fish Fumet

1 Fish head (I used Opah) and bones if desired

1 large onion, small dice

2 carrots, small dice

3 celery stalks, small dice

2 Tbs butter or olive oil

2 bay leaves

2 Tbs peppercorns

6 sprigs thyme (or ½ tsp dried)

1 bunch parsley or cilantro stems

¼ Cup dry white wine or lemon juice

Aprox. 2 quarts cold water or enough to cover bones

Large pot

  1. Wash head and bones well and set aside
  2. Melt butter in large stockpot over medium heat and add onion, carrot, celery, bay, peppercorns, thyme and parsley, stirring often until vegetables become soft but not brown.
  3. Place fish head and bones in pot. Cover pot and let cook about 10 minutes or until bones have turned white
  4. Add wine or lemon juice then cover with water and let simmer on low heat approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Strain through a cheesecloth set inside a fine mesh strainer and cool over an ice bath if not using immediately.
  6. Once cool refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 months. Like all homemade stock it will have a jellied consistence when cool but will melt when reheated.

Tips:

Great way to use up vegetable trimmings as well. Feel free to add other vegetables such as mushrooms, leek, garlic, fennel but avoid strong flavors like broccoli, asparagus or bitter greens.

Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel have a strong flavor and will make a stock right for their own chowders but will be too strong for other applications.

Easy stocks can also be made using crustacean shells like shrimp or crab.

Waste Not SD: Reducing Local Restaurant Food Waste

Food Waste is  a topic gaining momentum in the media as well as with individuals and organizations throughout the world.  You do not have to go far to find stories and programs around Ugly Fruit, Gleaning, Food Insecurity, Waste Free Dining, etc. Here in San Diego there is a new program designed to help combat food waste called Waste Not SD.  San Diego’s Specialty Produce recently started Waste Not SD to help recover food from local restaurants before it goes to waste and get it to local food insecure populations. We spoke recently with Specialty Produce’s Allie Tarantino, who worked to bring the program to life.  Allie told me that she’s been working in food service for over a decade and that a ton of food goes to waste.  One single restaurant can have between 25,000 and 100,000 pounds of food waste a year.  Allie was inspired by other programs that exist, like LA Specialty’s Chef’s to End Hunger to create something in the San Diego area that can help reduce the amount of food that our restaurants throw away.

The program is genius in its simplicity.  Specialty Produce works with over 800 restaurants in San Diego County.  Those restaurants can order food safe containers along with their produce order, fill them up at the end of the day with food that would otherwise go to waste, and the Specialty Produce delivery team will pick it up and deliver it to a local organization that distributes the food to people in need.  Because the program builds on relationships and delivery routes that already exist, it requires minimal additional effort for any of the parties involved.

The program here is new, but Waste Not SD  has three active accounts and is already actively working with both Tom Ham’s Lighthouse and Bali Hai Restaurant to collect food and distribute it to non-profit partners that they’ve identified through the San Diego Food Bank.

If you are interested in learning more about the Waste Not SD program please contact Kelly@SpecialtyProduce.com

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.

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.”

#knowyourfishermen

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

Keep San Diego Seafood Local

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On August 24th, stakeholders of San Diego fisheries began meeting with Protea Waterfront Redevelopment about their plans to redevelop the Downtown waterfront. This meeting was important. That the fishing community is meeting at all with the likely developer may affect whether our local and sustainable seafood industry will persist, diminish or flourish in the redevelopment. 14224771_1372011392828140_5510957861613431655_n

Learn more about good, clean & fair seafood in San Diego.

The Port of San Diego envisions redeveloping the “Central Embarcadero” an area that includes Tuna Harbor, where the majority of San Diego's active commercial fishermen dock their boats. “Tuna Harbor is central to San Diego’s cultural history as a fishing community,” says Pete Halmay, San Diego sea urchin fisherman. “It was the hub of San Diego fishing for a 100 years and is central to our local industry today.”

Today, San Diegans have little access to locally-caught seafood, even though we are a waterfront city. The U.S. imports over 90% of its seafood and San Diego fishermen are hard pressed to sell their catch locally. The redevelopment represents an opportunity to invest in our local fisheries and reconnect with our local seafood system. It's up to the San Diego to commit to this.

Want to help? Write a letter to the Port of San Diego in support of local commercial fisheries and sustainable seafood. Go here.  

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While it is still early in the planning process, it is important that we let the Port (and City and County) know now that San Diego wants to support a thriving commercial fishing industry by keeping Tuna Harbor solely as a working fishing harbor. One of the early draft alternatives presented by Protea for Tuna Harbor shows a mixed use harbor, combining fishing with another yacht club. This would reduce the number of slips and total space allocated to fishermen, and create unsafe conditions with little room to maneuver boats and allow for daily boat traffic. Plus, “Creating a mixed-use marina conflicts with the Port Master Plan which delineated this area, among others to commercial fisheries,” says Halmay. The preliminary plan also reduces the size of the on-site processor and sets it back from the water behind retail stores and a taco shop. “Santa Monica Seafood provides vital services to the fishermen: ice, loading dock, crane, etc. We need these things to operate and keep our seafood fresh.” While this plan is only one of several draft alternatives, it reveals the extent to which commercial fishing could again be reduced in San Diego. Setting commercial fishing as a priority in San Diego needs to happen now.

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At the 2nd meeting in September, facilitated by Dr. Theresa Talley of SeaGrant California, stakeholders chose Mike Conroy, of the American Albacore Fishing Association, to Chair future meetings. They also presented their vision of Tuna Harbor, which is a single use harbor for commercial fishing vessels only, including necessary infrastructure like cranes, squid pump, freezer and net mending space plus, signage illustrating San Diego's fishing history and present, and an open-air fishermen's market. The vision maintains Santa Monica Seafood and their infrastructure, as well. All intended to support the current and likely future local fishery.

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Click here for larger version of fishermen's sketch.

San Diego needs fishermen to harvest our seafood. It’s not much further for us to get to importing 100% of our seafood. The redevelopment of the Central Embarcadero represents an opportunity for San Diego to invest in its fisheries, in its local seafood system, in community. We can make room for more yachts and chain restaurants or we can invest in Good, Clean & Fair Seafood for All. The success of Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, the popularity of restaurants serving local seafood, and the move to eat locally, all point to the potential of our local fisheries.

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Maintaining and improving the fishing infrastructure at Tuna Harbor will keep locally-caught sustainable seafood in San Diego. Keep San Diego Local. Support your local fishermen, and fresh, tasty local seafood.

Watch this video to learn more about the value of San Diego commercial fisheries.

Want to help? Write a letter to the Port of San Diego in support of local commercial fisheries and sustainable seafood. Go here.  

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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! FullSizeRender

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.

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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!

Get to Know Local Farmer Stepheni Norton, founder of Dickinson Farm

Slow Food Urban San Diego Board Farm Liaison, Stephanie Parker, recently interviewed Stepheni Norton, the owner of the local Dickinson Farm to learn more about how and why she farms. Before becoming a farmer Norton had a distinguished and decorated career as Chief Yeoman in the US Coast Guard.  Learn more about Norton's journey to becoming a farmer in her own words. Why do you farm?  It really started as a personal necessity and as my health improved has become a respite, a mission and as my husband says, a calling.

Tell us about Dickinson Farm's beginnings.   A year-round heirloom fruit, vegetable & herb farm in National City, California…that all started because of a bug the size of a pinhead.

My husband Mike & I purchased the Wallace D. Dickinson homestead in February  2012, as our “forever” home. When we first started dating we half-jokingly made a list of everything we wanted in a home …it was really a delusional list….6 bedrooms, actual land (not a postage stamp), architecture and character, room for a 7 car garage and of course a view of the ocean, and must be in SoCal. It was certainly not something we expected to find.  Then we did, insomnia and the end of the internet, I found the house.  We saw it the next day and put an offer in right away.

When we bought the property, I was in the mist of pre-deployment work-up preparing for a 10 month OCONUS deployment – a few weeks later I was bit by a tick on San Clemente Island off the coast of South California. Unfortunately, Southern California Doctors are not Lyme literate, so I was left sick and untreated for the rest of work-ups and a 10-month deployment.

Almost a year later I returned home, I was still very ill and was bounced around from Doctor to Doctor to find a cure.  After 2.5 years of fighting an undiagnosed illness and looking for a Doctor, in July, 2014 I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and related co-inflections.

Right away I started daily IV treatment and my Doctor wanted me to eat as fresh and healthy as possible.  Each day after treatment Mike would drive me home and try find fresh organic food to make for dinner.

This is when they noticed fresh produce was hard to come by in National City.

So I asked my  Doctor if I could be outside and garden a little… with no real farming experience we planted a few fruits trees. Then we got advice from  a few different garden consultants and started planting a small garden patch …and with that the Farm began.

In the SoCal sunshine, the crops spouted up with ease providing excess in abundance of what they could eat. We started giving away the excess to friends, family and even a crop share. Then decided to give the excess to Dreams for Change to help feed those that couldn’t afford to buy their own.

All the while I sat in the IV chair researching how to make the Farm an actual business.

By January 2016, the few trees and garden patch became 16 raised boxes, orchard, hop patch 20 in ground rows, 4 coffee rows; 1/4 of an acre total. Plans were set and licenses obtained – and in January 2016 the little garden patch officially became Dickinson Farm.

How many varieties do you grow?  Currently we have 42 crops and 108 varietals.  We used fall 2015 and spring / summer 2016 to determined what grows best on our plot.  Starting with our Fall 2016 planting we will reduce the varietals to 2 per crop, focusing on growing what does best on our land which still providing options to our customers.

What made you decide to grow all heirloom varietals?  When we purchased the property, I spent a great deal of time researching the properties history.  We found that Wallace D. Dickinson in addition to being a savvy business man, was one of the top local hobby horticulturists.  He spoke a lot about how to grow a kitchen garden in a [early 1900] “urban environment”.  We wanted to be true to the property and land, what would have Wallace grown? That notion started us down the heirloom path, and the taste and quality of the produce kept us there.

Where do you find your seeds?  I never expected finding real heirloom seeds to take the amount of research it does, but after many hours and some duds, we stick with a few companies we trust… Baker Creek, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Annie's Heirloom, Wood Prairie, & Sherck's.

What's been the biggest thing you've learned during this process?   You cannot control growth.  You are most likely going to be both elated and disappointed every day.  I am a data junkie and logical person. That works with lots of aspects of planning and farming…until the weather changes and the wind comes in.  Then all bets are off.

What's been easy?  Really once you let go of perfection, it’s all easy.  I’ve had a more than a few mentors who taught me hard are the days you or your shipmates do not get to come home. Everything else is just a little heavy lifting and another day in paradise.

Anything you're loving right now that you could share a recipe for?  Carrot tops! Seriously why do people throw these away? (FYI I do recipes like my G-Ma…measurements are swagged)

Carrot Top Pesto Few cups washed carrot tops Few basil leaves (1 leaf to each cup of carrot tops) Small handful whatever nut you like, toasted – we use black walnuts as an homage to our family land in Southern Illinois. Handful grated aged Parmesan cheese One garlic clove or more (I use more) flaky sea salt extra-virgin olive oil to consistency

Blend in mini-chop or get an arm work out with mortar and pestle

Put on Burrata, grab a baguette … amazing

How can people support the farm?  Shop Small & Shop Local!  We are a small farm,  and we want people to be able to choose what they like.  We so offer a free choice of in season, harvested to order fruits, vegetables & herbs in any quantity or combination you choose. It’s a “design your own” box – and is perfect for specialty diets & picky eaters.

Each Thursday evening, we send out a Harvest alert with what will be ready for harvest Monday. Friday morning at 7:00AM our on-line store opens and customers can pre-order online until 7:00AM Monday. Orders are harvested Monday mid-morning, ready for The Market Monday evening at 7:00PM

Every Monday (except holidays) from 7:00pm-9:00pm we bring pre-orders and the remaining harvest to Machete Beer House (aka "The Market")

The Market @ Machete Beer House 2325 Highland Ave National City, CA 7:00pm-9:00pm

Thanks so much to Stepheni Norton for sharing your story with us!

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

Envision Urban Agriculture in Urban San Diego

Last month Slow Food Urban San Diego held an Envision Urban Agriculture Fair in partnership with the San Diego Food System Alliance and International Rescue Committee at Silo in Makers Quarters, Downtown. Together with our good, clean & fair collaborators, we provided the community resources to grow food in our city at this free event. The fair featured an urban farmers market, live music, local organic food and beer, seed exchange, composting workshops, resources for growers, cooking demos, and the Lexicon of Sustainability exhibit. Hillary of Girl Next Door Honey giving the buzz about local bees

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A BIG thanks to all our collaborators including Girl NextDoor Honey for the Helping Honeybees Workshop, The Heart & Trotter  for the butcher demo, Kitchens for Good and Vivacious Dish for a raw desserts demo, and Specialty Produce, Karl Strauss, Golden Coast Mead and Kashi for their generous food and drink donations. 

Join SFUSD on August 13 at Suzie's Farm for a Sunset Concert

13483121_10154494699549505_3712863512722925658_o Ready for some summertime fun? Spend a carefree evening at Suzie’s Farm enjoying warm summer breezes, a golden sunset and listening to the dreamy music of Mr. Gregory Page.

Suzies Farm is offering a special field tour starting at 3pm as an add-on. This will also ensure you are one of the first in line when doors open so you'll grab a great spot!

Golden Coast Mead will be on tap. This event is partnering with Mindful Fitness. A portion of proceeds will benefit Slow Food URBAN San Diego, so come on out and show your support.

$27 open seating (bring your own chair/blanket) registration in advance $40 reserved seating for picnic tables limited availability

Get tickets here. PLEASE NOTE: No sales at door.

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