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Rockridge Cooks Out

Come taste grilled seafood from Hapuku Fish Shop and meats from Marin Sun Farms
at the Market Hall Cookout.

To honor its 30th year in the Bay Area, Market Hall is hosting special monthly events (on or around the 30th) as a thank you to the community. Different Market Hall merchants are featured each month. This month it’s a cookout with Hapuku Fish Shop and Marin Sun Farms. Come enjoy free tastes of grass-fed meats, grilled seafood, and sides and fixings from the deli. Some products discounted too. Info: here
The Rockridge Market Hall Cookout—Celebrate 30 Years
Sunday May 28, 2–4pm 
Hapuku Fish Shop and Marin Sun Farms 
Rockridge Market Hall
5655 College Ave, Oakland

Photos courtesy of Rockridge Market Hall.

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Make New Friends. Eat Strawberries.


Fun is on tap at the Family Fun Festival, held next to the downtown Berkeley Farmers’ Market.

This year’s Family Fun Fest features hands-on activities for all ages: games, contests, family Zumba, a petting zoo, free bike repair, and a bounce house. Join in on a Strawberry Walk, kids cooking contest, and puppet-making with found materials. The Fest is right next to the Saturday farmers’ market, where you can shop for fresh summer produce and a terrific assortment of prepared foods. Free and disabled accessible. Info: 510.548.3333 or here.

Annual Family Fun Festival
Saturday May 27, 10am–2pm
Berkeley Farmers’ Market, Civic Center Park
Center St & Martin Luther King Jr. Way

Photo courtesy of The Ecology Center.

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Boost Your Urban Farming Savvy

Students learned new gardening skills at a prior workshop held at
the UC Gill Tract Community Farm.

UC urban agriculture experts and local partners share their extensive knowledge in two upcoming workshops. One session covers food safety basics for urban farmers; the second focuses on marketing and business management skills, including planning and labor laws. Take one or both workshops. Cost: $20 includes lunch and refreshments. Info and registration: here

2017 UC ANR Urban Agriculture Workshops 
Thursday June 8, 9am–4:30pm
Food Safety Basics for Urban Farmers
City Slickers West
Oakland Farm Park
2847 Peralta St, Oakland

2017 UC ANR Urban Agriculture Workshops
Thursday June 22, 9:30am–4:30pm
Marketing and Business Management for Urban Farmers
Location TBA

Photo courtesy of UC Dep’t of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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Since When Is a Book Signing Not a Good Thing?

Author Events and Book Signings
Might Become Harder to Find

By Kristina Sepetys

A state law creates barriers for bookstores that host book signings with authors like Alice Waters
(in photo at left). At right, people line up outside of Omnivore to get books signed by
French Laundry owner Thomas Keller. Photos: Celia Sack

That new cookbook you were hoping to get signed by the author at a bookstore event? Sorry, but a newly passed law could make getting your book autographed difficult or impossible.
AB 1570, a law passed by the California Legislature last year, expands California’s autograph law, which formerly applied only to sports memorabilia. It now covers any signed commodity worth over five dollars, including books. Anyone offering autographed books, including bookstore owners, must personally guarantee the authenticity of each autograph through an onerous certification process (which includes disclosure of personal information for both buyer and seller), and sellers face significant financial penalties if the signature is proven fraudulent. 

Top: Mrs Dalloway’s owners Ann Leyhe (left) and Marion Abbott at a Bernie Sanders event the shop sponsored last fall. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Dalloway’s.
Celia Sack, owner of food-centric Omnivore Books in Noe Valley, which has hosted some of the best-known names in cooking.

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Meet Chef Samin Nosrat at the Book Fest 

Among the many author appearances at this year’s Bay Area Book Festival will be Chef Samin Nosrat and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton talking with Davia Nelson of NPR’s Kitchen Sisters. The theme of Nosrat and MacNaughton’s new book is salt, fat, acid, and heat: the four elements needed to make meals truly delicious. It’s open seating at this talk, and no tickets are necessary. The 2017 festival highlights literary activism, with a focus on social justice, inclusion, and environmental sustainability. More than 200 authors and speakers from the Bay Area and far beyond take part in the two-day event. Info: here

Saturday & Sunday, June 3–4 
Bay Area Book Festival
Various Downtown Berkeley locations

Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton
in Conversation with Davia Nelson
Saturday June 3, 1:45–3pm
SF Chronicle Stage in Civic Center Park, Berkeley

Kristina’s Bookshelf

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
By Samin Nosrat with illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton
(Simon & Schuster, 2017)
Chef, writer, food visionary, Chez Panisse alum, and Berkeley resident Samin Nosrat says it up front in her new book: “As you can probably tell, this isn’t your typical cookbook.” And she’s right. With a foreword by Michael Pollan, a charming layout, 150 illustrations (no photographs), lots of personal stories and anecdotes, and more narrative than recipes, Nosrat instructs readers on how to master four basic elements essential to good cooking: salt, fat, acid, and heat.… Read More

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Digging in the Digital Dirt:


Divide Ranch owners Kathy Landini (pictured above) and her husband Mike
are profiled in a new Digital Dirt story.

We’re delighted to share a profile from Digital Dirt, a media and storytelling project created by Marianna Zavala, who does education and community outreach for the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association. Marianna has been visiting farms and ranches to collect stories and photos to offer a behind-the-scenes look at all that goes into growing and producing the food sold at the markets. She recently visited Divide Ranch, which is run by a family of Concord natives who started ranching in their 40s and who sell their grass-fed beef at the Tuesday market in Concord. Read the story here.

Photos: Marianna Zavala.
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In the Mood for Sex, Drugs, and Magic?

In this 12-class series, experienced herbalists explore erogenous zone care and plant-based medicines that some consider taboo. Learn about psychedelic plants, topical remedies, holistic breast care, culinary herbs, clinical uses of cannabis, and more. In case you’re wondering, host Five Flavors Herbs does not sell psychedelics, cannabis, or related extracts. Series cost: $240 until May 31, $300 starting June 1. Individual classes: $35 starting June 1. Info and registration: here

Sex, Drugs, and Magic: A Clinical Herbalism Series
Wednesdays June 7–August 23, 7–9pm
Five Flavors Herbs
344 40th St, Oakland

Photo courtesy of Five Flavors Herbs.

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Gardener’s Notebook

May in the Garden: The Three Sisters of Summer Adopt a Fourth

By Joshua Burman Thayer
One of the great delights of walking the hills above the bohemian enclave of Berkeley is the chance to follow the system of footpaths that provide secret routes from one street to another. Oak tree branches frame enchanting views of the Golden Gate and the San Francisco Bay on nearly any such hillside walk, and evening fog flows up hillsides lined with custom craftsman bungalows, touching both garlands of morning glory vines twining through untended lots and front yard victory gardens surrounded by deer fencing. Tall cornstalks shoot up their tassels beside mini vineyards, while cucumbers and squash poke out through fence gaps below. It’s no surprise at all to encounter a “three sisters” planting of edible companions: corns, beans, and squash. But I’m here to spread and encourage the love of a fourth but less-famous sister, the sunflower (Helianthus giganteus). 

As May marches on toward June in the 2017 growing season, there’s still time to plant your summer garden. If you have never tried the three sisters planting scheme, why not right now? An ancient plant guild employed throughout many parts of the indigenous Americas, the three sisters have become quite popular in modern organic farming. Each plant assists the others in doing its job of growing and producing food.… Read More

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The Soiled Dove Offers Naughty Dinner Theater

An evening of fun, food, decadence, and inspired acrobatics awaits at The Soiled Dove dinner theater.

Spend a memorable evening with the Vau de Vire Society as they present The Soiled Dove, a circus-infused dinner theater spectacular. You’ll find yourself in San Francisco’s Barbary Coast red light district living an evening of delicious decadence and danger. Indulge in a four-course experiential culinary event created by green catering company Work of Art. Join in the spirit of the evening with your own attire. Try Victorian, Edwardian, 49er, Harlots, or Crimps, or whatever stylish period couture suits your fancy. With music by Jazz Mafia/Realistic Orchestra and breathtaking dance and acrobatic performances, this evening under Italy’s Tortorna Big Top is sure to titillate and delight. Ages 21 and over. Cost: $50–$130.
Info and tickets: here or Facebook.

The Soiled Dove
Fridays and Saturdays, June 9 to July 1. 
Dinner at 7:30pm; general admission at 9:30pm
Tortona Big Top
2001 Ferry Point, Alameda


Photos: Misha Kutuzov
Teaser photo: Art Koch
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Explore a Vegan Paradise

Learn more about veganism and its many benefits at the Oakland Veg Fest held at Lake Merritt.

The Oakland Veg Fest celebrates the health and sustainability boosts of a plant-based diet. Sample a variety of vegan foods, and hear speakers and educators talk about different aspects of veganism. This animal-friendly event also features a cute dog contest. Come enjoy this free, open-air gathering beside Lake Merritt. Speakers include Kristie Middleton, author of Meat Less.

Oakland Veg Fest
Saturday May 20, 11am–5pm
Lake Merritt Amphitheater
Between 12th St & 1st Ave at
Lake Merritt Blvd, Oakland


Photo: Michelle Cehn
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