Edible Monterey Bay

A Fork in the Road

Along with Monterey County’s recognition
as a Top 10 worldwide wine destination,
new dining and lodging options are
coming to the Santa Lucia Highlands

We may finally be reaching a fork in the road: River Road, that is. Home to 14 wineries and tasting rooms, and two of Monterey County’s American Viticultural Areas (Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco), it’s among the best-loved “wine trails” in Monterey wine country. Yet, unlike the county’s Carmel Valley AVA, dining and lodging of the caliber of the wines have been few. That’s slowly changing, and just in time, given the recent naming of Monterey County as a Top 10 wine country destination by Wine Enthusiast magazine (February 2013). The county was one of just three regions in the United States that made the … Read More

Mustard Power

A Watsonville company discovers
a supercharged soil amendment
—and fuel for the tractors, too

It started as a conversation between local organic pioneers, Ken Kimes of New Natives in Corralitos and Larry Jacob of Del Cabo and Jacobs Farm. They dreamed of finding a way to use fallow fields along the coast north of Santa Cruz for growing biofuel to run their farm vehicles. But the farmers soon discovered that the green power of their raw material of choice—the humble mustard seed—went far beyond powering the equipment.

With the help of an expert in alternative energy from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and advice from the University of Idaho, they found out that mustard seed met their criteria of being a non-irrigated and seawater-tolerant crop. They already knew that a compound … Read More


In his forthcoming book, Michael Pollan
celebrates cooking and why it matters

Review by Kristina Sepetys

Michael Pollan’s work has profoundly changed the way we think about our industrial food system, the behemoth that produces the foods found in conventional grocery stores and restaurants. But Pollan is not just a critic. To help people find more healthful and sustainable alternatives, he’s offered the ordinary eater useful tips to help fix the situation or at least avoid the bad stuff. Recall his advice from In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Or from Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual: “If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.” In his latest book, Pollan offers more simple, corrective advice: … Read More

Bantam: A chef comes home to roost

Santa Cruz is an urban city with a small town mentality. That means neighborhood friendliness and loyal local sup- port—but also a generally casual dining scene. So it used to be the case that most chefs with big ambitions would just take the short trip up to San Francisco and explore more sophisticated opportunities. But now, the opposite is true; trained chefs from the city are choosing to move back down the coast and set up shop here in our little beach town. Lucky us! The newest delicious example is Ban- tam Restaurant.

Owners Sarah and Ben Sims have struck upon a perfect formula, creating a space on Santa Cruz’s Westside that with
its lofty exposed steel beams, glossy polished cement floors and Mugnaini wood- fired oven is sleek and … Read More

Local Hero Winner 2013 – Best Nonprofit: Homeless Garden Project and Second Harvest Food Bank

Santa Cruz’ Homeless Garden Project and Second Harvest Food Bank tied in voting for best nonprofit. “Our success depends on the community, so we are really grateful for the love and sup- port,” says Darrie Ganzhorn, executive director of the Homeless Garden Project. She has been with the project for 22 years and sees it as a good way of combining vocational training for those who need it with a sustainable urban food system. “There’s so much going on here, I’m just hooked!” she says.


Second Harvest CEO Willy Elliot-McCrea says the organization is emphasizing fruits and vegetables like never before. “Cheap food and lack of access to fresh produce is what’s driving hunger and obesity here on the Central Coast,” he says, adding that 62.3% of all the … Read More