An article by Corby Kummer in Vanity Fair this past summer posed the provocative question: Is it time to retire the term “farm-to-table?” Has the phrase, he asked, become so ubiquitous— even fast food restaurants have gotten into the “farm-washing” craze—that it has been drained of its original meaning?
In fact, it takes real commitment to go the extra step to source amazing ingredients and cook them with love and expertise. And when it is done well, the food on your plate speaks for itself, even if the farm where it was sourced is not listed on the menu.
We are glad that the soul of this movement is alive and well in the Monterey Bay area, especially as we have such fantastic produce available locally. In this issue we happily profile two relatively new restaurants that embody this ethic, and may not yet be on your radar but should be: Patria in Salinas and The Cork & Plough in King City (p. 26 and 14, respectively).
Also in this edition, we actually take a step beyond farm-to-table and explore the world of foraging.
As you’ll soon discover, local foraging goes way beyond mushrooms. In these pages you will find stories of the joys, challenges and delicious possibilities of foraging seaweed (p. 38), pine nuts (p. 46), acorns (p. 48) and olives (p. 55). We even profile a woman who forages herbs, flowers and other wild ingredients in the noble pursuit of making field-to-glass cocktails (p. 30), and another who is using foraged elderberries to bottle cordials and syrups (p. 72).
Similar to foraging, gleaning is the topic of a story about two local organizations that collect food that would otherwise go to waste—usually from agricultural fields after they have been picked—and redirect it to feed the hungry (p. 35).
And last but far from least, we honor Alice Waters on the occasion of her receipt of the UCSC Foundation Medal (p.10). Waters is perhaps the chief instigator of the original farm-totable movement, and she has not strayed from her course. She offers thoughts on where the food movement needs to go next and says for her part, she still lists her farmers on her menus.
If you find yourself eager for more on foraging and cooking wild foods, go to our website, www.ediblemontereybay.com, for earlier pieces that we’ve published on local wild mushrooms (Winter 2011), shellfish (Winter 2012), nettles (Spring 2013), and edible flowers, herbs and vegetables (Spring 2012). They’re terrific stories and if they inspire you to try your own hand at foraging, just please remember to use common sense and only consume wild foods that you’re certain you’ve accurately identified.
As always, we wish you lots of happy food adventures and many delicious meals with family and friends this season!
Sarah Wood and Rob Fisher, Publishers