Edible Monterey Bay

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A concert under the redwoods at the Henry Miller Library
A concert under the redwoods at the Henry Miller Library

(Yes, that’s The Red Hot Chili Peppers)

A party at Sand City’s Independent this Thursday will serve up an indy minded menu of artisanal food and drinks, books, films, music, farmers, chefs and a veggie valet

If you love food and art and want to share a drink or a meal with some of the farmers, chefs and food artisans who you’ve read about in Edible Monterey Bay over the last several months, Sand City is where you’ll want to be on Thursday night.

The Independent Marketplace, to be held at the Independent, an Ortiz Avenue mixed-use building with which owner Patrick Orosco of the Orosco Group aims to nurture the area’s emerging local food and arts scene, will be a food happening like no other in the area: Picture yourself picking up a casual but delicious dinner and enjoying a glass of wine or beer and hearing DJ sets of world music as you shop for organic produce, grassfed beef, wild fish and artisanal goodies in a stylish, indoor market with lofty, 15-foot-high ceilings.

Then imagine yourself checking it all with a veggie valet so you can watch winning entries from the Big Sur International Short Film Festival or browse the offerings of a popup bookstore presented by the event’s nonprofit partner-beneficiary, the uber-cool Big Sur Henry Miller Library. And if you’ll have kids in tow, dream about a special kids’ corner, set up by the Esalen Gazebo Park School, where you’ll be able to guide them for a little rest and reading of their own.

“We’re seeing it as a monthly social food festival,” says Todd Champagne, co-founder of the Pacific Grove preserving promoter Happy Girl Kitchen Co. and manager of the market. “I’m hoping for a social museum, a mini Eat Real Festival and not a farmers’ market that gets dark” and disappears into the night.

Indeed, lasting from 4 to 9pm, the Independent’s market is likely to just keep gathering more energy as the evening progresses: The film series, which is being staged by the Henry Miller Library, won’t start until 8pm and will run until10pm.

Magnus Toren at the Henry Miller Library
Magnus Toren at the Henry Miller Library

On arrival, customers who come by bike will be treated to a bike valet and all will be greeted with DJ sets spun by Big Sur Spirit Garden’s Jayson Fann.

Inside, one bar will offer several craft beers on tap, care of next-door Post No Bills, and another will feature espresso from Acme Coffee Roasting Co. and the wines of three young Monterey County wineries that focus on French varietals: Madeleine Wines, Leojami Wines and Kristi-Lynn Wine.

For those hungry for dinner, Santa Cruz’ Latin and Asian-inflected Truck Stop as well as Marina’s Babaloo will offer food out of their trucks, and chefs from local restaurants like Pacific Grove’s Point Pinos Grill will serve hot food as well.

But before the night is out, you’ll want to make use of that veggie valet and stock up for the weekend with the unusual bounty that will be brought in from farmers, bakeries, cheese dairies, apiaries, jam makers and other producers of handmade foods from all over the Monterey Bay area.

Among the purveyors you can expect to find on Thursday are Sand City’s own Sweet Elena’s Bakery and Café, the Big Sur Bakery, Friend in Cheeses, Parker-Lusseau Pastries & Café, Serendipity Saucy Spreads, Happy Girl Kitchen Co., Farmhouse Culture, Ashby Confections, The Bakery Station, Monterey Chocolate Co., Sweetwater Farm, FlouRish Specialty Bakery, Pinnacle Nut Co., Fluff Cupcakery and Garden Variety Cheese.

Several local growers will offer organic fruits and vegetables, including Live Earth Farm, Serendipity Farms and Lonely Mountain Farm. Local Catch Monterey Bay and California Star Seafood will provide locally caught fish, and Tassajara Natural Meats will bring its grassfed beef.

food tasting
Kristin Cederquist of Serendipity Saucy Spreads

Artists and designers such as Big Sur’s Rachel Moody and her family will also show their wares.

The event is free, with a suggested donation to the Henry Miller Library of $5 to $20 ($2 for students). The event will help fund badly needed improvements at the Library, which is a bookstore and events space that hosts a heavy calendar of cutting-edge concerts, readings, film viewings and other cultural offerings. But mostly, the Library is looking forward to just being part of the party.

“We like the idea of what the Independent Marketplace is doing,” says Magnus Toren, the Library’s director. “It’s going to be fun.”

The Independent Marketplace will appear on the first Thursday of every month. Each edition will feature a new nonprofit partner-beneficiary, as well as a fresh menu of participants from across the region and beyond.

beets and carrots
Beets and Carrots from Live Earth Farm

The Independent • 600 Ortiz Ave. • Sand City • sandcityca.com

Kristin Cederquist of Serendipity Saucy Spreads

About the author

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SARAH WOOD—founding editor and publisher of Edible Monterey Bay—has had a life-long passion for food, cooking, people and our planet.

She planted her first organic garden and cared for her first chicken when she was in elementary school in a farming region of Upstate New York.

Wood spent the early part of her career based in Ottawa, Canada, working in international development and international education. After considering culinary school, she opted to pursue her loves for writing, learning about the world and helping make it a better place by obtaining a fellowship and an MA in Journalism from New York University.

While working for a daily newspaper in New Jersey, she wrote stories that helped farmers fend off development and won a state-wide public service award from the New Jersey Press Association for an investigative series of articles about a slumlord who had hoodwinked ratings agencies and investment banks into propping him up with some early commercial mortgage securitizations. The series led Wood to spend several years in financial journalism, most recently, as editor-in-chief of the leading magazine covering the U.S. hedge-fund industry.

Wood could not be happier to now be writing and editing articles about the Monterey Bay foodshed and the amazing people who help make it so vibrant and diverse. And, after spending much of her adult life gardening on fire escapes, she’s very glad to be planting in the ground again.

Wood lives with her husband, Rob Fisher, a fourth-generation Californian, and young daughter in Carmel Valley. Their favorite meal is a picnic dinner at Pt. Lobos State Reserve.

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