Sunshine, good cheer, and a gorgeous tomato!

August 15, 2013

Celebrate this week’s break in the Bay Area’s foggy weather 
with whatever suits your fancy . . .
In this newsletter:

Tomato poster

Wild Boar Tomato Poster

At Edible East Bay, we love luscious tomatoes and gorgeous art about equally, so when they come together, we’re over the top with excitement! Check out this beautiful 18 x 24 poster by Melissa Garden (yes, that really is her name), a local artist who is inspired by biodiversity. She created the poster, a kind of catalog of Wild Boar Farms proprietary tomatoes, with images and guidance from master tomato breeder/farmer Brad Gates.

“The tomatoes were first sketched in graphite to assure that the size relationships and identifications were correct. Then, the images were transferred to 300-pound hot-press watercolor paper, painstakingly rendered out in graphite again, and then the glorious and surreal color was added using watercolor and a touch of colored pencil,” we learn on the Wild Boar website. Learn more about Melissa and her work here, and order the poster here.

Visit Wild Boar’s stand at the Saturday Grand Lake Farmers’ Market in Oakland to pick up some of the beautiful tomatoes pictured on the poster (and the poster itself)!


Tomato Tour

brad gates

Wild Boar Annual Tomato Tour is led by   Brad Gates

But there’s more! This Sunday, August 18, 11am–2pm, you can meet Brad Gates and tour his Wild Boar Farms, which was recently relocated to an historic property in St. Helena.

“I have needed to spend more time on nursery plants and breeding new extreme, exotic tomato varieties; my true passion,” Brad says on his website. “Great genetics, great climate and a decade of living and breathing tomatoes are what make us special. Using heirloom genetics and mutations as a foundation, I have been fortunate to discover and then improve on some very remarkable tomatoes. The main focus is on bi-color and striped varieties with extreme flavor and fascinating looks.”

This annual tomato tour includes a gourmet catered lunch and wine tasting along with a tomato tasting. “You will also view almost every pepper and eggplant in the Baker Creek Seed Catalog asI am growing these out for the massive produce display at the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa this September10–12,” says Brad.

Cost for the tour: $25 adult, $10 children 12 and under, and free if you have not reached the big 7. If you want to pay $35, you’ll also get to take home the new Wild Boar Farms tomato varieties fine art print. Click here for more information and to register.


tequila fest posterFirst Annual

 and Tequila Festival

August 18, 3 to 7pm

Tamarindo, 468 8th St, Oakland, 510.444.1944

Spend an afternoon sipping spiritual honey from the gods in a celebration of the spirits of Mexico. Master distillers, industry experts, mixologists, and ambassadors from world-renowned and new-to-market brands will be offering demos and tastings at Tamarindo, the Old Oakland restaurant where chef/owner Gloria Dominguez, a proud native of Jalisco, serves the regional dishes of Jalisco and Oaxaca, the two states where tequila and mezcal are most commonly produced. She and her son, Alfonso, have created the festival to introduce guests to the history and culture of these two spirits. You’ll get to meet industry experts like Jake Lustig, the owner of the Don Amado Mezcal label. Participating tequila and mezcal brands include: Alipus, Don Amado, Mezcalero, Don Julio, Siete Leguas, Don Pilar, and Seleccion Arte NOM. These companies will provide tastings and also showcase their products in specialty cocktails.

The drinks will be a perfect pairing with the restaurant’s renowned antojitos (literally “little cravings”) that make up its street food-style menu. These are dishes that are meant to be shared, and they will certainly be enjoyed along with the festival’s live mariachi music!

The ticket price of $65 includes all food, drinks, tastings, demos, and entertainment. Tickets can be purchased at: or directly on

Born in 2005, Tamarindo continues to be a home of traditional classic Mexican recipes. Its bar is dedicated to creating cocktails with tequila and mezcal.


Homemade Cheer!

Review by Kristina Sepetys

True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine,
Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir, and Kombucha at Home
by Emma Christensen (Ten Speed Press, 2013)

book coverLooking for a fun DIY project to slake your summer thirst? Find yourself a copy of Emma Christensen’s new book, True Brews. The Bay area resident, blogger (, and self-described “brewing addict” has penned an accessible, colorful guide with easy-to-follow instructions for creating alcoholic and nearly-non-alcoholic fermented drinks. Using basic techniques, equipment you can mostly find at home, and fresh fruits and herbs from your garden or the farmers’ market, you’ll be whipping up palate enticers like Blueberry-Lavender Mead, Jamaican-Ginger Beer, Raspberry-Rhubarb Wine, Pineapple-Brown Sugar Cider, or Blackberry-Sage Kombucha. Christensen offers helpful tips for substituting honey for sugars in all but the kombuchas and kefirs (which require sugars for growth).  My 11-year-old mixed up the tangy and tongue-tingling Watermelon-Mint Soda one lazy afternoon and the results were so successful and delicious, he’s eager to try his hand at some of the lacto-fermented (and sugar-free) kefirs. Cherry-Pistachio-Cardamom-Kefir Smoothies, anyone?


Watermelon-Mint Soda
Photo credit Paige Green. 
Reprinted with permission from True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir, and Kombucha at Home, by Emma Christensen, © 2013

Makes about 8 cups (enough to fill a 2-liter plastic soda bottle)

watermelon mint soda 4 pounds seeded and cubed watermelon
(11 to 12 cups, from a 6-pound watermelon)
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 
4 limes),
plus more if needed
1 cup water, plus more to fill the bottles
9 tablespoons white granulated sugar, plus more if needed
Pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon dry champagne yeast

Combine the watermelon, mint leaves, and lime juice in a large bowl.
 Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan on the stove top or in the microwave. Remove from the heat. Add the sugar and salt, stir to dissolve, and pour over the watermelon. Let this stand for 10 minutes to macerate the fruit.

Working in batches, puree the watermelon and mint with their liquid in a food processor or blender. Strain the puree into a bowl, collecting as much juice as possible without forcing any solids through the strainer.

Pour the juice into a clean 2-liter bottle using a funnel. Top off the bottle with water, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace. Give it a taste and add more lime juice or sugar, if desired. The extra sugar will dissolve on its own.

Add the yeast. Screw on the cap and shake the bottle to dissolve and distribute the yeast. Let the bottle sit at room temperature out of direct sunlight until carbonated, typically 12 to 48 hours, depending on the temperature of the room. Check the bottle periodically; when it feels rock solid with very little give, it’s ready.

Refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 weeks. Open very slowly over a sink to release the pressure gradually and avoid bubble-ups.