Urban Adventures

It’s time to venture about in our East Bay cities among the urban farms, wineries, and edible weeds.

Berkeley artist Rigel Stuhmiller favors images connected to farm life.

Berkeley artist Rigel Stuhmiller favors images connected to farm life.

In this newsletter:

●  Celebrate spring at the station: May 2
●  Stamp your passport for an urban wine tour: May 2 & 3
●  Local artist offers a Mothers Day fundraiser: through May 6
●  Walk among the weeds: May 9
●  Flour wisdom with dessert maven Alice Medrich: May 9
●  Book reviews: Ancient Grains
●  Recipe: Alice Medrich’s Brown Rice Sponge Cake with Three Milks



New Growth

Celebrate spring with plants and flowers at Oakland’s former central train station. The historic site is now home to tomato specialists Kassenhoff Growers and West Oakland Woods (WOW) Flower Farm, a business run by at-risk youth mentored by entrepreneurs, educators, and farmers. Purchase plants (both edibles and ornamentals) from Kassenhoff Growers and fresh flowers from WOW Farm, and enjoy a farm tour led by local youth.
Saturday May 2, 10am–2pm
16th & Wood St, Oakland



ebvasmWine in the City

Join the urban winemakers of the East Bay Vintners Alliance for a weekend of wine tasting, food pairings, entertainment, and exclusive barrel tastings. This annual event features more than 20 urban wineries in Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, and Castro Valley. Ticketholders who don’t get to each winery during this kick-off weekend are entitled to a complimentary tasting at each participating winery any time during the month of May. Info and tickets: here

7th Annual Passport to Urban Wine Country
Saturday & Sunday, May 2 & 3, noon–5pm
Various East Bay wineries




Illustrator Rigel Stuhmiller finds artistic inspiration in plants and animals. Images courtesy of the artist.

Artistic Offerings

For Mothers Day, Berkeley-based illustrator and printmaker Rigel Stuhmiller is holding a fundraiser for Save the Children. Stuhmiller creates fine stationary, calendars, prints, and kitchen towels with images inspired by local hikes and her work on the renowned Chino Nojo vegetable farm. Through May 6, generous matching grants enable the artist to donate 80{94d79dd6af1e87a94e700e4c297236468333f22e27ed5757b44711974a9a4b91} of her profits to Save the Children. Her locally made products are also sold at many locations including The Gardener, the de Young Museum Store and online. Info: here








Take a stroll with Professor Philip Stark and learn about wild weeds that are tasty and safe to eat. Photo: Kristen Rasmussen.

Take a stroll with Professor Philip Stark and learn about wild weeds that are tasty and safe to eat.
Photo: Kristen Rasmussen


 Wild Weeds on the Menu

Wild weeds are underfoot in the Bay Area. Take a walk with Philip Stark, chair of the Department of Statistics at UC Berkeley, and learn to identify wild and feral edible plants. Stark and his colleagues are studying the availability, nutritional value, and possible toxicity of wild edibles that pop up in urban areas. Read more about the research here. Event info: here

Edible Weeds in Oakland
Saturday May 9, noon–2pm
Laney Edible Garden



Flour Power

Alice Medrich: Photo by Deborah Jones

Dessert dynamo Alice Medrich signs her newest book, Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours.The book is a 2015 James Beard Foundation award winner in the category Baking and Desserts. Meet Alice, discuss baking techniques, and taste samples of desserts baked with various flours. Alternative flours will be available for sale, and discounts on books and ingredients apply on the day of the event. Info: rockridgemarkethall.com or 510.250.6001

Tastings, Discussions, and Book Signing
Saturday May 9, 2–4pm
Rockridge Market Hall
5655 College Ave, Oakland


What’s Old is New Again: Beyond Whole Wheat and Back to Ancient Grains

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys

Shopping around the East Bay, you may be noticing more whole-grain choices like quinoa, Kamut (a long-cultivated Iranian wheat, Khorasan, that’s been trademarked), teff (a highly nutritious Ethiopian/Eritrean gluten-free grain), three farro wheats (einkorn, emmer, and spelt), freekeh, millet, and a host of others. Many are called “ancient grains” because they’ve fed people in their current form, unchanged by breeding or modification, for millennia. In fact, not all are truly grains. Some, like quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, and amaranth, are seeds from grasses, but can be prepared like grains.

Many varieties of grains and seeds are gluten-free and rich in fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, a welcome option, particularly to people seeking to avoid gluten and replace empty, refined carbohydrates with more nutritious alternatives. Some cooks maintain that traditional practices of soaking, fermenting, and sprouting increase the bioavailability of nutrients in grains, making them easier to digest, faster to prepare, and generally better tasting. Traditional grains bring new textures and flavors to dishes. More information and a great variety of recipes incorporating these tasty, healthful staples can be found in these new titles.

Read the reviews here



Brown Rice Sponge Cake with Three Milks58_Brown-Rice-Sponge-Cake_photo-by-Leigh-Beisch

Excerpted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich
(Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014.
Photographs by Leigh Beisch.

Of course you could serve this buttery sponge cake plain (or splashed with a little sweetened espresso or coffee liqueur) and topped with strawberries and whipped cream. But the brown rice flour adds a delicate caramel flavor to the cake, so why not run with it? This riff on the traditional Latin American tres leches—sponge cake drenched in a combo of heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk—is less sweet and less drenched than the authentic version, but a terrific variation nonetheless. The warm or cooled cake is poked with a chopstick or the not-too-thick handle of a wooden spoon and then soaked with a sauce of dulce de leche and evaporated milk. The third “milk” is whipped cream on top. More sauce is passed separately at table. What could be more delicious?

Find the recipe here