Edible Monterey Bay

Farmhouse Culture Moves Away

June 25, 2019 – The Santa Cruz-born and Watsonville-based kraut company Farmhouse Culture, which pioneered probiotic-rich fresh kraut, is moving to the Midwest. Sunday is its last day at the Watsonville manufacturing plant and farm, owned by Dick Peixoto of Lakeside Organic Gardens.

Founder Kathryn Lukas says manufacturing will now be handled by the nation’s largest sauerkraut maker, Great Lakes Kraut Company in Bear Creek, Wisconsin. “Our move to Wisconsin was a fairly dramatic decision, it was hard,” she says.

Lukas explains that the business had long-ago outgrown its 26,000 square foot facility and 19-acre farm in Watsonville and was looking for a new home. “It was going to cost several million dollars to get a new factory up and running and we just couldn’t find a place that was … Read More

Primal Santa Cruz becomes VIDA

Primal Santa Cruz on Mission Street has changed its name to VIDA and is shifting direction “focusing on farm-to-table cuisine with fermentation as the driver.”

Founder Jason Morgan has brought in Sebastian Mañjon Cubero as partner and executive chef and the two have been serving brunch from 8am to 2pm in the reimagined restaurant for the past week. They hope to begin dinner service this weekend.

“We are trying to get away from the diet theme and reach a broader customer base,” says Morgan. 

Mañjon Cubero, who was born in Costa Rica and raised in Santa Cruz, has operated the ViDA Juice Company in Santa Cruz for the past three years, making cold-pressed raw juices, Jun tonics and kefir elixirs.

Morgan opened Primal last December with a paleo-centric menu, featuring ingredients that are … Read More

Mercado Sagrado Lands in Big Sur

June 11, 2019 – In the middle of Big Sur, an intriguing new attraction has taken up residency for the next three weeks. The Mercado Sagrado is a platform for creative and healing arts and artists that originally took place in Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles.

“Everyone we work with has those values of treading lightly on the earth and giving back and nourishing the community,” says co-founder Heather Culp.

Organizers have put together a full schedule of events, including a pop up restaurant by plant-based culinary artist Greg Arnold—founder of the trend-setting Mesa Verde vegan restaurant in Santa Barbara.

Arnold creates artful, healthy and sustainable dishes using organic produce from local farms and edible flowers. He is also known as a fermentation funkmaster and makes a line of fermented condiments—like … Read More


On a blustery Saturday last March, my husband and I drove out to San Benito County to pick up frozen lamb at Paicines Ranch. It was one of those days when the hills were emerald green and brief showers alternated with bursts of sunshine. I kept my camera ready, hoping to capture a rainbow.

Buying meat directly from the ranch was something we’d wanted to do for a long time—as a way to eat locally and be sure the animal was cared for properly—but also because it seems especially difficult to find good tasting lamb.

After a brief tour of the ranch, we loaded up the cooler with lamb chops, shanks and ground meat—enough for a dozen summer barbecues. Even though you can find grassfed meats at local farmers’ markets, … Read More

Yafa Earns Michelin Bib Gourmand

May 28, 2019 – Yafa Mediterranean restaurant in Carmel today became the first and only restaurant in the Monterey Bay area to ever win the prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand designation. The award means Yafa is an especially good value, offering two excellent courses plus wine or dessert for $40 or under.

Michelin has never covered restaurants in our area before and its new California Guide due out next week includes the Monterey area. But a single Bib Gourmand listing is disappointing and makes us wonder how much time the Michelin inspectors actually spent here. While Yafa is a deserving honoree, surely there are others that fit that category as well.

Other areas that are new to the Michelin Guide seemed to receive more attention. For example, Orange County received five … Read More