Archive | Summer 2011


James Beard Foundation Award for Edible Communities

The 2011 James Beard Foundation Publication of the Year Award: EDIBLE COMMUNITIES PUBLICATIONS

This year, the Journalism Committee of the James Beard Foundation Awards has decided for the first time to present a special award for what it deems to be Publication of the Year. The Publication of the Year Award recognizes a publication—in magazine, newspaper, or digital format—that demonstrates fresh directions, worthy ambitions, and a forward-looking approach to food journalism.

The publications produced by the Edible Communities company are “locavores” with national appeal. They are locally grown and community based, like the foods, family farmers, growers, retailers, chefs, and food artisans they feature. The company’s unique publishing model addresses the most crucial trends in food journalism; the publications are rooted in distinct culinary regions throughout the United States and Canada, celebrating local, seasonal foods with the goal of transforming the way we shop, cook, and eat. Their underlying values speak to today’s spirit of shared responsibility: every person has the right to affordable, fresh, healthful food on a daily basis.

Edible Communities is more than a group of high-quality, regional print magazines with compelling storytelling and visual narratives. Through electronic and digital platforms—websites, social media, Edible Radio podcasts, and … Read More

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“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all this is life.”—J. Krishnamurti

Education was a primary concern for

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986) and in 1975 he founded Oak Grove School in Ojai. The intent of this pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school is to assist students to develop the intellectual capacity and skills necessary to function with excellence, care and responsibility in the modern world. At the same time, the school also helps students develop a foundation for inquiry into perennial questions of human life.

From the school’s beginning, its guiding principles have included a relationship with nature and with the food the school produces and consumes. To illuminate and foster this relationship, this sense of responsibility, Oak Grove meaningfully involves its 200 students in the living process of growing, preparing and eating in community. The results are people (both staff and students) who strive to understand themselves and their impact on the world. Belonging to nature and to each other is experienced vividly … Read More

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I swirl the golden liquid in my glass. “Notice the color of the gold añejo,” directs Dr. Adolfo Murillo, the maker of Tequila Alquimia. “Its color comes from oak barrels.” Absent are wedges of lime and shakers of salt that are used to soften the sharp burn of tequila when it travels down the throat. This is tequila made to sip.

He tells me to hold the flavors of the tequila in my mouth and let them steep into my tongue. “We took minerals from deep in the earth, rain water from the sky, energy from the sun and created liquid gold,” I taste the earth, sky and sun before it disappears in a swallow.

Next, Adolfo reaches for a liter of blanco. The colorless tequila swims inside the recycled beveled glass. This tequila could be confused with water, too young to have absorbed the color of oak. How big would the bottle need to grow to hold 65 gallons of water, the water footprint of a liter of tequila?

The water footprint of tequila represents the average fresh water required to grow the agave and distill it into the popular beverage. Each liter has a blue, green and grey … Read More

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Story and Photos By Jemi Reis McDonald

I am kneeling, doing volunteer fieldwork, on a five-acre farm a mile from Point Mugu naval air base with a diminutive young woman named Erynn Smith. There’s a cool breeze blowing in from the nearby shore and a continuous soft hiss from Highway 1 traffic. Otherwise it’s just baking sunlight and a very earthy, deep silence.

As Erynn cuts red cabbages and rolls them onto the dry soil bed, decisively and quickly, I follow as best I can and trim off the discolored I hurry to catch up with her harvest pace, she tucks her hand scythe under her arm and retrieves her cell phone from her jeans pocket. She double-checks the afternoon’s picking list and assesses the next day’s market orders and teaching schedule.

Then, in a voice quite used to carrying over wide-open distances, she confers with two interns picking in other parts of the field about who will deliver today’s harvest and who will pick the next morning’s harvest while Erynn is away teaching. With her skillful, unbroken concentration and graceful juggling of managerial duties, she seems like she would be at ease in the boardroom of a glass-walled skyscraper … Read More

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Michael Meagher
of Vino V
By Ramona Bajema

The view driving north on Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and San Francisco has changed since I was a child. Rather than fields of broccoli or golden grass, vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see. On occasion, you will see an accompanying winery that might resemble an Italian villa in Las Vegas or a Spanish-style apartment building in Van Nuys.

Michael Meagher’s winery and wine are the antithesis of the large vineyard boom that blankets California. After driving over a small creek, you find Michael’s operation at the end of a road, nestled by a cherry orchard and surrounded by flowers. You can’t hear a car for miles. There is a deck where you can bask in the sun. And there is a dog that rides a skateboard in a small parking lot.

Michael started his own label, Vino V, in 2004 and has taken over as the winemaker for Old Creek Winery. Vino V is the culmination of a lifetime spent working at wineries and in vineyards. He is not some Encino doctor who retired and decided to start winery because he and his wife “have always loved the … Read More

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Being a conscious gardener in Southern California means always looking for ways to conserve water. On a Saturday morning in a neighbor’s yard I found one.

I attended a grey water workshop sponsored by the Ojai Valley Green Coalition at the home of Chris Brennan and Jim McCarthy. The hands-on workshop was led by Van Vermeesch, formerly of Ojai’s Aqua-Flo Supply, who demonstrated how to install a laundry-to-landscape grey water system from start to finish. And he made it unbelievably fun, simple and doable.

“We’re here to find out how to use grey water and take it home with us,” said Vermeesch, “how to go from laundry to landscape, taking rinse water and moving it through the garden in a conscious way.”

Harnessing grey water, water used in your home laundry that normally goes down the drain, is finally legal in Ventura County. I knew this, but installing a system had remained one of those projects I’d put off because I thought it required a tradesman with more knowledge than I had. Vermeesch quickly dispelled that illusion for the dozen or so people who attended.

“By installing this simple system,” he explained, “you cut your water usage and save the … Read More

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All Good Things Organic Seeds
Local Seed Varieties, Local Knowledge
By Quin Aaron Shakra

The most common vegetables we eat are harvested in immature or intermediary life stages. For instance, leafy greens such as kale are best picked when their stalks are young and succulent, and broccoli crowns and shoots are flowers prior to opening. The best-tasting lettuce is less than a month old and the crispy succulence of carrots would be altogether demolished if we harvested them after they sent out their flowering stalks. These basic observations came to the fore last summer as I was walking through the fields of Wolf Gulch Farm, located in the Applegate Valley, Southern Oregon. The farm grows both vegetable crops (as one participant of a 10-farm community supported agriculture [CSA] program) and organic seeds for companies such as Renee’s Garden Seeds. As Maud Macrory Powell, one of the Wolf Gulch’s co-founders, toured us around their fields, I eyed leeks in flower and parsnips that barely resembled anything I had ever seen growing before. I was struck by how counterintuitive my farming sensibilities had been. At Mano Farm, we pulled most of our crops well before seed had set, depriving ourselves of a … Read More

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Photos and story By
Elizabeth Del Negro & John Fonteyn

It was Saturday before Easter and the parking lot was already full. We squeezed our Toyota minivan into an unmarked corner spot by the broccoli fields; it was either that or hoof it with the stroller across the 10-acre dusty dirt lot, and the kids were already going bananas with anticipation for the egg hunt as we inched our way up the Conejo Grade. Would the photo opportunity with the giant Easter Bunny still be there by the time we arrived?

Malibu moms and Simi dads tied cowboy hats on little tykes while double-checking that they had enough organic Trader Joe’s snacks to keep the kids satisfied. Our plan was to fill up on U-pick strawberries and dodge the lines at the hot dog stand; I put a few drink boxes into my messenger bag. Car after car pulled into the parking lot.

As we walked past Underwood Family Farms’ sign, I was inherently attracted to its image: a black and white silhouette of a man and a woman holding the hands of little children; in the woman’s free hand she swung a basket to collect the harvest or perhaps … Read More

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