Edible Monterey Bay


How elderberries spawned a new
business and nurtured a community

By Rosie Parker
Photography by Michelle Magdalena

Standing on top of a rusted truck bed next to a firewood lot in Carmel Valley, Katie Reneker reaches high to harvest the offerings of a giant elderberry tree bursting with flowers and ripening berries. By harvesting the fruit before it falls onto the wood below, she is helping the lot owner by preventing his wood from being stained. And by allowing her to harvest his berries, the owner is helping Reneker launch her new business, Carmel Berry Co., a maker of elderberry syrups and elderflower cordials.

The venture, which Reneker runs from her home through the California Homemade Food Act, only got started earlier this year, but it is already demonstrating the … Read More


A bother is transformed into a delicious
gift and a connection to a new community

By Jordan Champagne
Photography by Margaux Gibbons

Life was truly carefree. I was living in a tipi on the edge of a farm field two miles down a dirt road. The sky was clear blue, and the oakdotted hills were a beautiful gold. I had just returned to California with my boyfriend to work on some farms for the summer. We did not realize at the time how deep the roots we were planting were going to grow, as this was before we were married, had children and started a local business.

I delivered CSA shares for Mariquita Farm while Todd drove up to San Francisco to work the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market for the … Read More


Manna from heaven?
There are thousands of pounds of food up there.

As a native perennial species that has adapted to the land and climate
of the region, oaks are a sustainable food source if there ever was one.

By Andrea Riordan
Photography by Kodiak Greenwood and Ken Payton

It’s August, and the landscape is parched. I’m standing under a valley oak tree outside of Salinas on a drive down to Los Angeles from my home in Santa Cruz. In spite of the dryness everywhere, this tree, which could be up to 300 years old, is laden with a formidable feast. The subtle jewels in its canopy haven’t browned yet, but they number in the thousands.

Worldwide, there are more than 500 species of oak, or Quercus in Latin, and … Read More


An exotic delicacy turns up close to home

Sterling Novell, a cook and forager at Post Ranch Inn’s Sierra Mar, with sugar pine cones;

Story and photography by John Cox

Pecans come from pecan trees. Walnuts come from walnut trees. Pine nuts come from pine trees. This may not sound like rocket science, but I have met many an avid cook who did not realize pine nuts came from pine trees. I myself have spent many hours foraging around the Monterey Bay area and never thought to try to crack open a local pine cone. So when Edible Monterey Bay editor Sarah Wood asked me to write an article on locally foraged pine nuts, I was skeptical to say the least.

Despite my misgivings about the likelihood of finding wild … Read More


Delicious, nutritious and sustainable,
seaweed is all around us

Story and Photos by John Cox

Ankle deep in an icy tide pool, I can’t help but feel like an awkward giant surrounded by an aquatic landscape straight from the pages of Dr. Seuss. The bay is a tranquil lake, and the glow of dawn cuts through the fog, making the blades of mazzaella dancing just below the ocean’s surface look like dark, flashing rainbows. The slippery rocks, normally submerged beneath the surf, are crusted with algae and sea life of every imaginable shape and color. Andrew Kim, my guide for the morning, holds up a leaf of purple Turkish towel seaweed on which another type of marine algae, a tiny pink tree-like plant, has hitched a ride. Next, he plucks … Read More