Author Archive | Edible East Bay

 Legal News on Urban Ag

Learn about Berkeley’s new urban ag legislation, Feb 23. Read more.

 Celebrating Black Farmers through Film

Pollinate Farm & Garden presents a documentary feature plus shorts, Feb 24.
Read more.

 Growing Food Near Native Oaks



Is it possible to grow food plants near
native oaks? Yes, with the right plants
and methods. Read more

 Can Gluten-Free Mean More, Not Less?


Alternative flours lead to heavenly desserts. Read our review.

 Seed Art & Tour

The beauty and complexity of seeds is on display in an art exhibit and tour at the Botanical Garden. Read more.

 Apply Now: Women in Culinary Leadership

Positions available through a James Beard Foundation program. Read more

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Legal News on Urban Ag

The Mayor's chief of staff talks about proposed legislation related to farms and gardens in Berkeley.

The Mayor’s chief of staff talks about proposed legislation related to farms and gardens in Berkeley.

Come hear Brandi Campbell Wood, chief of staff to Mayor Jesse Arreguin, discuss proposed new legislation in support of urban agriculture that could increase the amount of food grown locally. Get the details on creating gardens in unoccupied residential lots, commercial zones, or hillside spaces, and hear about rooftop gardens and the process for starting or maintaining a garden. Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Community Gardening Collaborative. Free. Info: here.

City of Berkeley’s New Urban Agriculture Package
Thursday February 23, 7–9pm
Ecology Center 
2530 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

Photo courtesy of Sophie Hahn

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Celebrating Black Farmers through Film



Enjoy an evening of film, including the documentary Homecoming and several shorts about the legacy of Black farming in the United States, United Kingdom, and Kenya. Cost: $5–$25 sliding scale, but no one turned away for lack of funds. Light refreshments served. Presented by Pollinate Farm & Garden and Farms to Grow, Inc., a group that helps African-American farmers and other under-served farmers/gardeners to maintain and create sustainable farms. Info and tickets: here or 510.686.3493

Black Hands in the Soil: A Film Celebration of Black Farming
Friday February 24, 7–9pm 
Pollinate Farm & Garden
2727 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland

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Seed Art and Tour

A new exhibit of botanical art depicting seed pods is on display at the UC Botanical Garden.

A new exhibit of botanical art depicting seed pods is on display at the UC Botanical Garden.

Marvel at the beauty and complexity of seeds and seed vessels at this exhibit by the Northern California Society of Botanical Artists on display at the UC Botanical Garden. Also at the garden this month: a tour showing how plants travel. Learn all about botanical fruit and seed adaptations, like slingshots, parachutes, hitchhikers, helicopters, and other clever mechanisms for propelling plant seeds around the garden. Both events are free with garden admission. Info: here.

Plants Illustrated 2017: Seeds
Through February 21, daily 10am–4pm
Julia Morgan Hall

Plant Travelers: Tour of the Garden
Friday February 24, 1–2:30 pm 
UC Botanical Garden 
200 Centennial Dr, Berkeley

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Apply Now: Women in Culinary Leadership

From left to right: Michael White, Gail Simmons, Dana Cowin, Emily Luchetti, Rohini Dey, 2013 Women In Culinary Leadership grantee Eliza Martin, James Beard Foundation president Susan Ungaro, and Kristen Kish.

From left to right: Michael White, Gail Simmons, Dana Cowin, Emily Luchetti, Rohini Dey, 2013 Women In Culinary Leadership grantee Eliza Martin, James Beard Foundation president Susan Ungaro, and Kristen Kish.

Twenty positions are available for women who want to be mentored by leading chefs and restaurateurs. Now in its fourth year, the James Beard Foundation Women in Culinary Leadership program offers women already working in the industry a chance to develop in-depth skills either in the kitchen and/or in restaurant management. Applicants must have a minimum of two years of professional hospitality or culinary experience. Mentors include Shelley Lindgren, wine director at A16 in San Francisco and Oakland. Application deadline is March 12. Info and application: here

Photo by Ken Goodman

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Gardener’s Notebook

Growing Food Near Native Oaks


Is it possible to grow perennial food plants near native oaks? 
Yes, with the right plants and methods.

Here in Northern California, we are blessed with many stoic and picturesque native oaks. Quercus agrifolia (coastal live oak), Quercus lobata (valley oak), and Quercus douglasii (blue oak) are all found in this bioregion. While sudden oak death and other oak ailments may be a result of anthropogenic (man-made) influences, fear not: By following some simple rules and planting specially adapted native plants, you can foster life under and around your oaks.

Drip Line Denotes Microclimate

pink flowering currantOur California oaks have evolved to thrive in dry soil throughout our long summer drought. While those conditions would seem to discourage plant growth, an intact oak savanna ecosystem displays a diversity of plants growing in the “skirts” of the oak trees, due to the increased moisture present in areas around the tree where rain (and accumulated fog) drips from the branches. Called the “drip line,” this is a sweet spot for many of the oak savanna native plant species, and gardeners can put it to good use. 

In my consulting work with homeowners and on ranches, one of the main mistakes I see is that irrigation is installed too close to the drip line of the oak.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Can Gluten-Free Mean More, Not Less?

Many desserts and other confections described simply as “gluten-free” get sold short. Baked goods made with a gluten-free flour can offer much, much more than simply being free of the protein that gives dough its elastic texture. Depending upon the ingredients— specifically the flours used—they can be deeply flavored, with a more interesting texture than is produced by standard all-purpose flours, making for a complex-tasting treat.

Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours 
by Alanna Taylor-Tobin 
(Page Street Publishing, 2016)

San Francisco–based pastry chef, food stylist, and photographer Alanna Taylor-Tobin is the founder of the popular recipe website The Bojon Gourmet. Her latest cookbook features more than 100 recipes using gluten-free flours like corn, oat, chestnut, almond, buckwheat, sorghum, and others. These alternative grains possess a variety of intriguing characteristics that make for deeply flavorful baked goods. Headnotes to most of the recipes offer useful information about storage, complementary jams and other condiments, and suggestions for variations on the recipes. Find intriguing recipes like Roasted Banana Teff Scones with Muscovado Sugar Glaze; Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting; Mesquite Chocolate Cakes with Whipped Crème Fraîche and Raspberries; Chestnut Brownie Ice Cream Sundaes with Port-Roasted Strawberries; and Buckwheat Bergamot Double Chocolate Cookie.… Read More

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All Under Heaven

All-Under-HeavenMeet Madame Huang

Reporter Anna Mindess finds out how
a taste of pressed duck launched Alameda resident Carolyn Phillips
on a cookbook career

By Anna Mindess | Photos by Scott Peterson


I’m in the kitchen of Alameda resident Carolyn Phillips watching her practiced hands wield a wooden Chinese rolling pin to roll out disks of dough. She forms each disk into “a fried egg shape,” and with nimble fingers, deftly wraps each around a bit of sweet bean paste. Smoothing the buns, she places them into a bamboo steamer to cook. When the dumplings emerge, she carefully snips the tops of each to form bunny ears or hedgehog bristles, adding red dots or black sesame seeds for eyes and noses, gradually bringing the buns to life.

With these same hands that knead dough and shape bunny dumplings, Phillips also wrote and elegantly illustrated an impressive 524-page cookbook, All Under Heaven. The exquisite volume, with its 300+ recipes illuminating the 35 cuisines of China, came out in August, 2016. Within a few months, the book had drawn praise from critics at the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times, among many others.

Called an academic and a scholar for her thorough research and deep devotion to her subject, Phillips is anything but a stuffy know-it-all.… Read More

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Open Doors

Opportunity Brewing

At 1951 Coffee, refugees gain job skills and
employment as their stories are brought into view

Story and photo by A.K. Carroll


Above: Rachel Taber, one of the 1951 Coffee founders, at work in the shop.

Above: Rachel Taber, one of the 1951 Coffee founders, at work in the shop.

What would it feel like to be separated from your country, culture, and the only home you’ve ever known? Grab a cup of Algorithm cold brew or Verve espresso at 2410 Channing Way, Berkeley, the home of 1951 Coffee Company, and begin your own journey toward understanding the refugee experience.

Just opened in January, 1951 Coffee is a center for caffeine, community, and cultural awareness. Engagement begins as you pass through the door: Colorful lines that run at angles along the floor lead you up to the counter. Evoking public transport routes that bring many refugees to relocation sites, the lines bleed onto the back wall and guide you to a corner where icons and statistics describe the long and circuitous journey a typical refugee follows toward resettlement—a process that can take up to 17 years. A corkboard map of the world shows the homeland of each 1951 Coffee barista and ties a hypothetical story to an actual person who just made your coffee.… Read More

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What’s in Season?

By Barbara Kobsar

Choosing produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness.


At the market, arugula may appear under names like garden rocket, roquette, or rucola. Regardless of what it’s called, this leafy green offers some of the same heat and peppery flavor as its radish and watercress relatives. It grows year-round, but the milder months produce the ideal small, tender leaves, while summer heat encourages the plant to bolt and the leaves to become bitter. Enjoy it in salads, and consider substituting arugula for basil in pesto, sautéing to add to a pasta dish, or adding as a raw topping on pizza, soups, or vegetable dishes. Like other salad greens and herbs, arugula is best cleaned by swishing in cool water before spinning dry in a salad spinner. To store for up to five days, roll up gently in a dry towel, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate.

Watch for the first strawberries and asparagus arriving back on the market scene this month. The local asparagus season lasts only eight to 12 weeks, while strawberries are harvested well into the summer.


Horseradish is a perennial root vegetable that can perk up mild spring salads, yogurt-based vegetable dips, and scrambled egg dishes.… Read More

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